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Field Ops Day simulates real-world emergencies
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Barton Community College’s medical and emergency services students stepped out of the classroom to test their skills in life-like emergency scenarios during Field Ops Day on campus Saturday.
Students from the Criminal Justice,  Medical Assistant, Nursing and EMS programs participated in a variety of intense, realistic scenarios designed to be as close to the real thing as possible. Volunteer “patients” from all over the community allowed themselves to be battered and bloodied via sometimes gory make-up to give the appearance of realistic traumatic injuries ranging from severe lacerations to broken bones and burns.
Scenarios range from meth lab explosions to multiple vehicle accidents. Many of the scenarios were set up so a patient would go from the scene to a mock emergency room, which was populated by nursing and medical assistant students. The experience was full circle and all-encompassing. Patients and suspects could also be questioned by the Criminal Justice students throughout the scenarios, depending on circumstances.
  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. For most of the students, it’s their first taste of a real emergency.
EMS Student Keefe Wilke said the experience was exciting, nerve-racking and invaluable.
“It has been a lot of fun and very enlightening as to what kind of scenarios we could actually go through,” he said. “It’s good to see all the different ways of responding and all the different perspectives. It’s so much better than sitting in a classroom. I think it’s better to feel a little nervous here in this environment, than in the real world.”
EMS Student Masen Torres said he was grateful for all the work that goes into planning and orchestrating the elaborate event and was pleased with his own performance.
“It’s gone way better than I thought. At first I had nerves and jitters, but as we got into it, it went pretty well,” he said. “It’s valuable because we actually get hands-on and learn how it gets done. Doing this was better than going in (to a real world situation) cold.”
Anissa Widiger participated as a nursing student and volunteered as an actor in a scenario.
“Being able to see the other emergency response teams come in and do their part was helpful because I got to see what happens to the patients before they get to us in the ER,” she said.  
The event was sponsored and supported by the Barton County Sheriff’s Office, Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office, Russell County Sheriff’s Office, Russell County EMS, Ellinwood EMS, Pretty Prairie EMS, Trails West EMS, Claflin EMS, Nickerson EMS, Marshall’s Wrecker Service, Barton County Road Department, LifeTeam Hutchinson and many volunteers throughout the community who served as support staff, victims and patients.