Even before they entered the collapsed building, first-year Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing (GEPN) students could hear the screaming and feel the panic through the smoke. These brave nursing students knew they were participating in a mass casualty disaster simulation (sim). They knew on some level that the sobbing of a young girl was a prescribed part she was acting out and that the metal pole gruesomely protruding from a man’s leg was the result of skillfully applied special effects makeup, but the adrenaline felt real enough.
Then the sirens started, adding to the cacophony. First, the local police pulled up in a squad car, lights flashing across the top, and then the ambulance announced its arrival with a distinctive wail.