West Windsor, N.J. -- Using their clinical knowledge of wounds and their care, MCCC’s advanced Nursing students had an opportunity to help the county with disaster preparedness during a large-scale drill on May 10. The two-hour simulation exercise, which was a response to a commercial aircraft crash scenario, was staged at the New Jersey National Guard hangar off Scotch Road in Ewing on the grounds of Trenton-Mercer Airport.
The airport is mandated to hold a drill every three years by the Federal Aviation Administration. The MCCC connection began with Kitty Getlik, Artistic Director at Kelsey Theatre, who was contacted to do Moulage, a makeup technique that simulates real injuries and is typically used in emergency drills, as well as in theater and films.
“I have done zombie makeup before, but had never done Moulage,” Getlik said. “I was willing to give it a shot, but after further research, I panicked because of the complicated descriptions of the wounds. What does a ‘sucking chest wound’ look like? And is a fractured tibia a leg bone or an arm bone?”
Getlik’s first thought was that she needed some nurses. “They would know where these injuries should be located and what they are supposed to look like.”
MCCC’s Director of Nursing, Donna Penn, put Getlik in touch with Assistant Professor of Nursing Lori Kelty, whose is a volunteer member of the Mercer County Medical Response Corps and also works as an emergency nurse at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital/Hamilton.
“I am very active in preparing and maintaining our county for emergencies,” says Kelty, who was teaching a course in Emergency Preparedness to sophomore Nursing students during the spring semester and had a willing group of students all set to go.
The college was among more than two dozen agencies and 300 volunteers that participated, including EMS responders from four counties (Mercer, Hunterdon, Somerset and Middlesex), the Mercer County Prosecutors office, the National Guard and students from local high schools.
Working together with Getlik, the MCCC students applied Moulage to about 80 people in two hours. EMS responders were then asked to identify the wounds, assess their severity and assign a level of care. Once finished with their makeup assignment, the students participated as victims themselves.
“It was an opportunity for students to act in a leadership role and see the classroom curriculum put into action,” Kelty said, adding that they worked with enthusiasm and professionalism. “I am very proud of them.”
While the nurses had never done Moulage before, Getlik reports they did an amazing job. “We were churning out the wounded and the injuries looked very realistic,” she said.
The MCCC volunteers were impressed with the scale of the whole experience. “The drill was as close to reality as you would want to get," Getlic said. "They were on the tarmac, where they set off smoke bombs to make it harder and more real. There were police, firefighters and ambulance squads from all over.”
Getlik says that once they had their makeup on, the MCCC students gave noteworthy performances. "They were yelling out, screaming in pain and collapsing because they couldn’t walk." She recalled one student supposedly disoriented from a head injury who kept wandering around in circles.
“Our students were just awesome,” she said.
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