After Witnessing Car Crash, WNMU Nursing Students Assessed Victims

Western New Mexico University Level III nursing students (pictured from left to right) Zaige Perry, Samantha Corral and Lisa Uzueta responded confidently to a rollover vehicle accident thanks to experiences in the WNMU School of Nursing simulation lab.

© Western New Mexico University

WNMU student nurses witnessed and immediately acted to assist those involved in a rollover accident on Silver City’s 32nd Street last week.

Student nurses Zaige Perry, Samantha Corral and Lisa Uzueta said they are thankful for the experience they’ve learned from in the WNMU School of Nursing, which prepared them to stay cool and collected while assessing the patients and providing a report to the emergency medical responders who arrived on scene later.

The Level III nursing students had just finished volunteering at the COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Gila Regional Medical Center when their senses alerted them to something that wasn’t quite right across the street. “I saw a car. It didn’t look normal. It was riding on this fence and I saw the car roll under the fence,” Perry said.

That’s when their training kicked in. So far this semester, they’ve learned through a dozen simulations with high-fidelity manikins that simulation lab coordinator Lorenzo Saenz programs to create scenarios like those they might encounter as nurses in a clinical setting.

“We haven’t had many actual patients yet, but we didn’t freak out,” Uzueta said. “We showed up and all right away assessed. That’s something we’d done over and over again.”

They worked together to gather information and stayed in constant communication with one another and with their patients until the ambulance arrived and they gave a report. “Even though we still talk to the manikin at this point, we know how to interact with these people through muscle memory. We never let them be silent. We let them know we were there with them and help was on the way,” Zaige said. “Communication — between us and with our patients and the EMTs — was the biggest thing.”

The repetition they’re guided through in the WNMU sim classes enabled them, as student nurses, to respond professionally and make a difference in the lives of their fellow community members, Corral said. “This is what we do in Lorenzo’s class. We applied what we learned in class to a real-life scenario.”

The WNMU School of Nursing trains nurses at all levels with a focus on addressing the challenges associated with healthcare in rural and frontier areas.

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