NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Practice makes perfect. It's a good rule for emergency workers to follow in the event of a real medical need.
On Wednesday, a city-wide emergency preparedness drill in Nacogdoches gave future nurses and professionals an opportunity to test their skills.
During the drill, which involved a simulated plane crash, a nursing student told a "patient," "Stay with us. Stay with us."
The simulated plane crash came with pain and blood - all fake, of course. The scenario gave Stephen F. Austin State University senior nursing students a drill to prepare them for reality.
"There's been a hurricane on the coast, and they sent us a plane full of people that are medically necessary that need to be put into hospitals or triaged to somewhere," said Dr. Janice Hensarling, an SFA nursing professor.
Take for instance the schizophrenic refusing medical treatment.
"I'm not going over there," the student said.
Another "patient" was supposed to be a pregnant woman in the process of delivering a baby. She groaned in mock pain. Acting abilities shone right along with the nursing students' medical skills.
"So I'm trying to bring that out to them and show them the emotional side of it, and how you emotionally have to calm the patient down," said Tamara Awofeso, a senior SFA nursing student.
One future nurse tried to calm a "patient."
"It's going to be alright," the future nurse said. "We're getting you there."
Another future health care worker learned a valuable lesson.
"[I learned] how out of shape I am because if you're running out there trying to take care of patients, and you're running out of breath, how are you going to give them care," said Alphonso Clenent, a senior SFA nursing student.
All sorts of agencies participated in this emergency drill, including an air ambulance. A look inside prepares the future health care worker.
"We've got everything in here that they have in the ICU and ERs," an air nurse said.
The drill moved to a different locale. This time, it was staging area where victims were triaged for a trip to the emergency room.
At the ER, professional medical staff received certification for working hand and hand with nursing volunteers.
"We're going to go straight with the critical to the back, to the ER." a professional nurse told the nursing students.
It was a unique opportunity for nursing students and medical professionals to work side by side. They benefited, from the exercise, but so will future patients.
Also at today's emergency drill was a four-legged student named Helper. She's the Nacogdoches County District Attorney's therapy dog. The Labrador is trained to help people cope during emergencies. The exposure to the screaming and movement was good for Helper. She's usually in the office helping out with other kinds of crisis.
"We had a situation where one little girl started crying because she was really upset," said Nacogdoches County District Attorney Nicole Lostracco. "And Helper was actually on the other side of the room. When she heard the child start to cry, on her own, without a command, she walked across the room and put her head in the little girl's lap so the little girl could pet her and make her feel better."
And Helper has provided that comfort many other times.
Today Helper received a toy from the Nacogdoches Child Welfare Board in commemoration of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Helper had center stage today, but she was willing to share it with another therapy pet, a parrot named Pickles.