UTEP holds active shooter drill

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Alonso Moreno

UTEP nursing student tends to a simulated victim.

Alonso Moreno, Copy Editor

University of Texas at El Paso nursing students got the opportunity to practice their skills during a full-scale active shooter simulation scenario on Wednesday, Aug. 12, when the university staged a training exercise with the help of university and regional authorities.

The exercise consisted of a simulation of an active shooter being present at the UTEP Library, with the resulting victims being transported to the adjacent simulation center at the Health Sciences and Nursing Building and being treated by UTEP nursing students.

The response team from UTEP consisted approximately of about 10 undergraduate nursing students, eight to 10 nurse practitioner students, social work students and students with the University Wellness Program.
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The goal of the simulation was to expose students to a unique situation and to evaluate their assessment skills.

“The main objective for the nursing students is to look at their assessment skills and be able to determine if a patient is okay, if it’s in critical condition or if it needs to be moved to the morgue,” said Laura Rodriguez, clinical assistant professor for the School of Nursing.

Although students seemed to be nervous at first, Rodriguez expressed pride in her students and although she said there were areas they could improve upon, they had surpassed her expectations.

Senior nursing student Ashley Benko participated in the exercise.

“We got all kinds of patients, so we had to prepare ourselves for any intervention that we would need to do such as transfusing blood, initiating oxygen or any standard procedure,” Benko said. “Initially I was a bit confident and curious, but the simulations here are always exciting and they are all about learning.”

Most of the students present during the exercise will benefit as most of them will graduate in the coming weeks.

“We immersed as many students as was feasible to expose them to this kind of unique medical experience,” Rodriguez said.

The exercise also coincides with the recent campus carry bill that has been signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, giving the simulation even more relevance.

“With the new law that will allow students to carry guns on campus it becomes even more important,” Rodriguez said. “An incident can happen anywhere.”

There are no immediate plans for another exercise such as this one, but Rodriguez said that the School of Nursing is looking into having more of these exercises in the future.

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