Pharmacy, Nursing Students Practice Emergency Preparedness

February 2018

Just a day after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Palm Beach Atlantic’s third year pharmacy students and fourth year nursing students heard from Palm Beach County officials who manage emergency preparedness.


Keith Wall, MPA, CEM, MPCP from Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners; Public Safety Department Division of Emergency Management; John James from Palm Beach Medical Society; and Captain Jessica Banks and Lauren Young from Fire Rescue shared their expertise with the students.

Wall, who led the first part of the session, focused on mass casualty incidents, how to triage patients, and special needs shelter initiations when hurricanes are predicted to hit Palm Beach County. Pharmacy and nursing student teams were given patient scenarios simulating a horrific community accident. The students were assigned to work within their interprofessional teams for the purposes of assessing and triaging each of the patients based upon their physical and mental presentation. The triage categories included red (which signify immediate lifesaving interventions are required), yellow (which are less critical patients, yet needing intervention within 30 minutes), green (which are stable, thus able to receive medical intervention at a later time), and lastly black (which the patient/s have either expired or expiration is imminent). 

Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice Dr. Mariette Sourial, who serves as co-director of Interprofessional Education at PBA, said that the session focused on using teamwork and conflict management, as well as applying ethical principles in triaging patients.

“Students commented on how their unique set of skills, roles and responsibilities were utilized, and how they came together to successfully accomplish the given tasks,” Sourial said. “They applied the ethical principles of doing good for the majority of people.” 

Also covered in this session was the need to triage patients for the special needs shelters, which house people who have specific medical needs during emergencies. Each of these facilities require a comprehensive emergency plan to keep the patients safe and maintain care with limited resources such as medications.

The second part of the session was led by John James from Palm Beach Medical Society, Captain Jessica Banks and Lauren Young from Fire Rescue. Their focus was on the opioid crisis in Palm Beach County and the safe and effective use of naloxone. 

Citing the statistic that in 2017 there were more than 600 deaths in Palm Beach County attributed to opioid use, the trainers instructed nursing and pharmacy students on naloxone administration as well as its limitations. Banks and Young talked about the importance of having the patient’s best interest in mind when it comes to choosing rehab centers when deciding to enter a program. 

“We hope through this session, not only will our students be able to recommend to patient/family specific resources within the Palm Beach Community but also provide volunteer opportunities to give back to their communities during emergent situations as well as public education during this opioid crisis,” said Dr. Lynn Erickson, associate professor of nursing.



< Show All Articles