Barton Community College hosted its annual Field Ops Day on Saturday on the Barton campus to give its medical and emergency services students a chance to take their skills out of the classroom and into drastic situations.
More than fifty students participated from the Criminal Justice, Medical Laboratory Technician, Medical Assistant, Nursing and EMS programs in a variety of life-like scenarios designed to be as close to the real thing as possible. Volunteers “patients” from all over the community allowed themselves to be battered and bloodied in frighteningly accurate make-up to give the appearance of realistic traumatic injuries ranging from severe lacerations to broken bones.
Scenarios range from accidental gunshots to multiple vehicle accidents. Many of the scenarios are set up so that a patient will go from the scene to the emergency room, which is populated by nursing students and MLT students, and could also be questioned by the Criminal Justice students depending on the circumstances. The experience is truly full circle and all-encompassing for the patients as well as all the Barton students throughout the various programs.
EMS Student James Crawley said the opportunity is very valuable.
“It’s nerve-wracking and overwhelming,” he said. “I know I forgot to breathe because I was so set on trying to do well and learn. I forgot a few things, and it kind of kills your confidence, but it gives you the opportunity to learn. ”
Instructor and Coordinator of the EMS Program Jenny Ladd coordinates the event and said everyone who participates agrees to be completely serious and in-character so that the students get as genuine of an experience as possible.
“When students go out in the field a lot of times they have no real experience,” she said. “They’ve never done a mock call or anything. Field Ops Day really gives them a wakeup call as to what’s going to happen.”
Criminal Justice student Andrew Baker, who plans to be a patrol officer after he completes school participated in a scenario at the “Crime House,” which is east of the Barton County Landfill and is owned by the college to be used for training purposes. His scenario involved a violent suspect who had to be physically restrained. The volunteer suspect put up such an intense struggle that it took Baker and another officer’s full efforts to handcuff him.
“It was very intense,” Baker said.” “You get to see how you would actually react and respond and you get nervous. You see how everybody’s emotions are running high and how important it is to communicate with your team members like the EMS team.”
Ladd said the event is growing every year and includes the help of many local agencies and businesses.
“I just can’t thank them enough times,” she said. “We literally couldn’t do it without all our volunteers and supporting agencies. Without them, this wouldn’t happen,” she said.
The event was sponsored and supported by the following: Barton County Sheriff’s Office, Barton County 911 Dispatch, Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office, Great Bend Police Department, Marshall’s Wrecker Service, Barton County Landfill and many volunteers throughout the community who served as support staff, victims and patients.