In a scene of chaotic, realistic trauma and high pressure, final year University of Newcastle (UON) medical students took part in a mass casualty exercise at Old Bar.
With Lani’s On the Beach holiday park as the backdrop, students were put to the ultimate test of dealing with emergency situations and life-threatening scenarios.
UON clinical dean Dr Garry Hutchinson said the students put what they have learnt in the classroom into practice.
“It's an extra experience on top of their learning,” Dr Hutchinson said.
“The students are taking the role of a doctor rather than a medical student.”
Students first appointed a leader who would take charge of the situation and designate tasks and responsibilities.
They then sprung into action to assess, evaluate and treat a host of casualties, played by Taree High School drama students.
These students were given scripts, make-up and tags which stipulated what their symptoms were.
Their realistic portrayals of casualties enhanced the high pressure situation.
The tag system provided an importance level of urgency to the exercise.
The students are taking the role of a doctor rather than a medical student.- Dr Garry Hutchinson, University of Newcastle clinical dean
A casualty with a green tag was described as the ‘walking wounded’.
Yellow meant the person was injured but didn’t require immediate attention.
A red tag resulted in immediate attention to life-threatening injuries and an evacuation from the disaster area to a near-by medical facility.
A black tag was used for casualties who had died.
Dr Hutchinson said the system ensured students continued to monitor and re-assess each casualty.
“Green could quickly turn into red for example so they would need immediate attention,” Dr Hutchinson said.
Dr Hutchinson said students will begin life as an intern in the coming weeks.
The exercise formed part of Wilderness Week- a one week camp designed to give a unique rural perspective on medicine.
Students were tasked with understanding the challenges and opportunities of medicine practiced outside of metropolitan areas such as snake bites and surfboard related injuries.
The Wilderness Week camp is an annual event for the university.
It is an initiative of the Rural Clinical School of the Joint Medical Program of the University of Newcastle and University of New England.
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