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School of Nursing Faculty and Staff Volunteer for Full-Scale Emergency Exercise

The Central District Health Department (CDHD), along with multiple emergency response partners, held an emergency exercise using mobile medical facilities and approximately 75 medical staff and volunteers on Wednesday, May 6. Cathy Deckys, School of Nursing faculty, helped plan the exercise and participated in the exercise as an evaluator. School of Nursing staff members Marian Graham and Sherepta McLeod volunteered as part of the Medical Reserve Corps. Approximately ten nursing students and alumni also participated in the exercise.

The exercise tested medical and emergency response plans and coordination among the partnering agencies, which included Boise State University, St. Luke’s Health Systems, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Ada County Paramedics, Boise Fire Department, Southwest Advanced Care Hospital and Ada County Emergency Services.

The exercise scenario began at Boise State University Health Services and moved to the Veterans Affairs (VA) campus, where multiple BluMed mobile medical facilities were located. The majority of the exercise took place on the VA campus and involved about 30 volunteer patients who presented the same communicable disease symptoms. However, each mock patient had a unique role — from disabilities to language barriers — to help represent the varying backgrounds and needs possible in a real-life situation. Under the exercise’s scenario, medical staff worked to check patients into the mobile medical facility practice donning and doffing Personal Protective Equipment and Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) to begin initial patient treatment.

“This was a successful full-scale exercise, which is mandatory for public health organizations to take part in each year,” said Deckys. “Multidisciplinary roles were assumed and practiced successfully.”