In emergency situations, it is so important to be prepared for the worst. Being properly prepared could be the deciding factor for whether or not you save someone’s life.

At  Penn State’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the doctors and nurses went the extra mile in preparing for the worst with realistic emergency simulations to equip medical trainees with the necessary skills to work in a unpredicted medical emergency.

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By setting up these detailed mock scenarios they are giving future physicians the chance experience the real-life pressure of thinking on their feet when disaster strikes.

Dr. Jeffrey Lubin is the Division Chief for Pre-Hospital and Transport Medicine at the Hershey Medical Center and the founder of these training exercises. He believes that training in simulated events is a crucial part of the training that will set medical professionals up for future challenges in real-life.

“When I teach emergency medical services to our trainees, I want them to be hands-on,” he explains. “I want them to get dirty, to get sweaty, to really have the experience. [To do that] you have to suspend your disbelief and make it as real as possible.”

In an emergency situation, you have limited resources and learning to think on your feet under pressure and make quick decisions is a skill trainees at Penn State get to reinforce. It is important, Lubin says, that the trainees learn to separate their emotions from their medical knowledge and learn to make split-second decisions regarding a variety of different cases and individual patients.

Maude Kettenman, a second-year emergency medicine resident at Penn State says that she learned to navigate through her emotions and in the heat of the moment make quick assessments of each patient to determine what she could do with very limited resources.

“The impact and the real importance of it is for them to understand what happened at the scene and how chaotic it can be,” Lubin explains. “They get to know the kind of care someone might or might not have received and why. That is something that they will carry with them throughout the rest of their careers.”

The video below shows one of the mock-up scenarios of a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI). This allows new doctors to experience working with first responders like firefighters and police officers which adds to the realism and authentic nature of the scenario.

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