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School of Nursing Community and Population Health Students Prepare for Pandemic Disasters


By Mark Siemon

On Nov. 17 and 19, School of Nursing Community and Population Health students participated in a pandemic influenza simulation exercise that included setting up a Point of Dispensing (POD) site to serve Boise State students who might be at risk or exposed to an infectious disease. The exercise was part of a day-long class on nurses’ roles in responding to disasters in the community.

The day began with a presentation on Disaster Health and Sheltering by Kim Monson, American Red Cross of Greater Idaho. The students worked on case studies to screen and assess the needs of community members who needed emergency shelter. Students also reviewed information on Strategic Triage and Rapid Treatment (START) to help them understand the challenges faced by first responders in a situation where there are limited resources and multiple people in need of help. The afternoon exercise required students to set-up a POD, screen community members, and provide the appropriate treatment and education.

Central District Health Department has also been working with University Health Services to develop an agreement where students, faculty, and staff have access to medication or immunizations if there were an epidemic that required a community wide response, and nursing students could assist as part of a coordinated POD response team.

The POD exercise was designed by Mark Siemon and Cathy Deckys, faculty members in the School of Nursing, with help from Morrison; Natalie Bodine and Randy McLeland, Central District Health Department Public Health Preparedness; Paul Marusich, Ada City-County Emergency Management; Rob Littrell, Emergency Planning Manager with Boise State University.

For more information on the exercise contact Dr. Mark Siemon at