SFA nursing students take part in zombie apocalypse disaster preparedness drill

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The rise of zombies has led to a strange way to teach nursing students, and if you're a "Walking Dead" fan, it's certain to interest you.

A zombie invasion at the Stephen F. Austin State University Nursing Department comes with lesson.

A zombie apocalypse preparedness drill goes to show you the Centers for Disease Control actually has a sense of humor. The CD wrote the scenario to add a little spice to the mundane disaster drill.

"People weren't paying attention to disaster preparedness, and it got to be old hat after a while and everybody pushed it aside," said Dr. Della Connor, an SFA nursing professor.

So invite a few zombies to rebuild enthusiasm.

"So some of these are people who were attacked by the zombies are now turning into zombies, so it's teaching them about triaging and quarantining people at the same time," Connor said.

SFA Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets protected the perimeter of the "disaster."

"I'm pulling you off that wall, you're over here now," an ROTC cadet said during the drill.

Often there was difficulty staying in character, like zombies who screamed like a girl, and smiles that snuck through all the gory makeup. Nevertheless, students got the lesson.

"We would all agree we're all visual learners, and so to be out here actually experiencing it is really cool," said Tifah Fleniken, an SFA nursing student.

"Yeah, I agree with that," Morgan Moreman, an SFA nursing student. "It helps put it so instead of book work, you're actually in the field technically doing all this."

Perhaps more threatening than the zombies were the professors armed with clipboards watching for organizational skills.

"Making sure that they are communicating and they're prioritizing and making sure that they are treating the most severe patients first," said Dr. Rose Powell, an SFA nursing student.

What began as a tongue and cheek campaign has proven to be an extremely successful disaster preparedness teaching tool. The CDC figures if you're equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse, you'll be prepared for just about any real disaster.

The Centers for Disease Control provides zombie preparedness kits. It's even got a zombie blog. It provides lots of useful information on how to prepare for a real emergency.

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