NASSAU COUNTY, N.Y. (PIX11) — Knowing what to do in disaster situations is a skill that may not be as easy to learn from a textbook. That’s why the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell is exposing its students to real-life scenarios packed with adrenaline, such as a simulated active shooter scenario and other mass casualty emergencies.
First-year medical student Brandon Smith said getting to experience what EMTs and paramedics deal with in the field will help him in his career.
“When you are a physician, you get a pretty one-sided, one-dimensional view of what’s going on. You get the hospital. You get the patient already to you, already taken care of by EMT. Being able to kind of see the whole picture is I think going to be a very valuable experience for the future,” said Smith.
The students have been preparing for weeks on how to handle real-life disasters. The unique program is the culmination of all the training. The school launched the program 13 years ago. Students get to learn at the same facility used by Nassau County police, fire department and the Emergency Medical Services Academy.
The students are divided into groups and have a time they need to triage the actors posing as patients.
“Every single student who has done this has been shocked just how active it is,” said David Battinelli, who serves as dean at the Zucker School of Medicine and is a physician-in-chief at Northwell Health.
The screams and fake blood during the simulation added a level of pressure that they must overcome to pass the training, in hopes of being ready for when the time comes in real life.
“Just having to quickly respond to things is not something that I normally have to do, but with this job, you have people’s lives in your hands. So that must become priority,” said medical student Ivory Jean-Paul.