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Real Experience: Healthcare students get hands-on training in real-world scenarios

MTC Healthcare students participated in a full-scale exercise sponsored by the National Disaster Medical System’s (NDMS) Federal Coordinating Center. The exercise was designed to improve the response capabilities of local first responders and hospitals in the event of mass disaster.
“Former MTC instructor Karen Hutto contacted us to request students to volunteer for the exercise,” said Millie Massey, program director of MTC’s Radiologic Technology program. “This opportunity came at a great time.”
Students from Expanded Duty Dental Assisting, Medical Assisting, Nuclear Medicine, Radiologic Technology, and Respiratory Care acted as hospital patients who needed to be triaged. MTC students were among the nearly 400 personnel from local, state, and federal agencies, as well as regional hospitals who participated in the exercise. 
“It taught me how to adapt, and I had the opportunity to work with soldiers. It was nice to get to know them and hear their stories,” said MTC Dental Assisting student Felicia Summer.
Several MTC Healthcare programs include emergency preparedness in the academic curriculum. Many of the MTC students who participated in the drill are graduating in August, and now they can add hands-on emergency response training to their resumes.
“It gave me a great perspective on how vulnerable patients are. Because of the exercise, I’ll be able to better communicate with patients,” said Medical Assisting student Tricia Naumann.null text
The NDMS coordinates transportation and medical aid during large-scale events, such as natural disasters, major accidents, and other catastrophes that may overwhelm local emergency responders. While the patients and casualties were simulated, the rest of the exercise logistics and security procedures were not.
“We are all about hands-on training at MTC,” said Massey. “My hope is that our students can continue to participate in this exercise in years to come.”
The National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) exercise takes places annually in South Carolina and is usually held in Columbia every two years.