Posted: 11/18/21

TAMIU College of Nursing Stages Mass Casualty Training for Students



A normally quiet Saturday morning at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) became a carefully orchestrated training session for a fictitious mass casualty training incident for TAMIU’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Office of Environmental Health and Safety, and community partners US Customs and Border Protection (USCBP).

The Nov. 13 training exercise simulated a chemical explosion to provide several training opportunities for student nurses, said organizer Lisa H. Heard, College of Nursing and Health Sciences clinical assistant faculty.  Some 60 students, faculty, and staff participated in the exercise and were joined by 12 USCBP representatives. A full photo gallery of the simulation training is available here. 

“This scenario provided student nurses with an opportunity to see different types of injuries and how Border Patrol and custom medics stabilize in the field. The nurses were part of triaging activities to determine patient priority.  A simulated hospital received patients and allowed nurses to determine what was done in the field and what needs to be done in the hospital,” Heard explained.

Heard said such training exercises are an important part of contemporary nurse education and preparation. 

“Part of community nursing is learning to work with other entities, especially during a disaster.  This allows our students to utilize what they have learned throughout the Nursing program and put their communication and hands-on skills to use.  In a ​real-life situation, nurses can be activated in emergencies like this and would be strategically utilized in receiving patients from frontline agents like EMS or USCBP,” she noted.

TAMIU dean of the College of Nursing, Dr. Marivic Torregosa, said training opportunities like this help to distinguish the School of Nursing’s preparation of nurses.

“It’s important that our graduating nurses anticipate their education, skills, and training being applied in situations in which conventional resources and tools may not be readily available -- and to be able to respond with sound expertise and judgment.  Experiences like this training exercise help to distinguish our program and nurse preparation,” Dr. Torregosa said. 

Heard concurred, and said the exercise also helped to affirm the broad spectrum of community nursing.

“This simulation helped students to be able to see that community nursing encompasses the community as a whole.  Through exercises like this, students can work with other frontline responders in meeting the needs of the community they both serve. Participation in exercises helps students to affirm the importance of being able to integrate emergency preparedness into their future role as health care providers,” she said, “and we are deeply appreciative to our USCBP colleagues for helping to make this exercise such a powerful learning opportunity.”

Heard said such disaster simulation exercises will be repeated in the future to provide students with opportunities to engage with and learn from community healthcare entities. 

This fall, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences launched a new RN to MSN Nursing Administration program.

The School of Nursing’s other recognized programs include a traditional BSN program, an online RN to BSN, an online Master’s in Nursing Administration, and an online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Program.

TAMIU’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences is also the proud home of the University’s undergraduate programs in Communication Disorders, Kinesiology, and Public Health.

EduMed.org has named the College one of the best in the nation for online learning in healthcare in its 2021 rankings and singled out six TAMIU nursing programs for distinction.

For additional information on TAMIU nursing programs, contact College of Nursing and Health Sciences’ academic success coach Felipe Rodriguez at felipe.rodriguez@tamiu.edu,  visit https://www.tamiu.edu/conhs , or call 956.326. 3269. 

Group Photo Exercise participants
Participants in the Mass Casualty Training Exercise held at TAMIU  gather to celebrate the conclusion of the collaborative exercise with the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Office of Environmental Health and Safety, and community partners US Customs and Border Protection.