Close this search box.
Close this search box.



two nursing students look at a dummy for fake injuries while a flight for life medic assesses their work

Central Wyoming College had a Disaster Drill on May 2 for nursing students to experience a real-life scenario to assess and administer patient care.

“The decision to complete a full scale exercise is part of the nursing NCLEX examination requirements,” said Terry Wilson, CWC nursing instructor. “This provides the students the learning experience in a community based response to a mass casualty incident. For this scenario we chose to utilize the simulation labs as an emergency room with three different areas to treat specifically triaged patient due to the severity of injuries.”

This educational exercise took place in the student center where Dean of Students, Steve Barlow, played the role of a gunman. The Riverton Police Department was part of the scenario where they demonstrated to criminal justice students how to take down an active shooter. CWC nursing students then assessed patients and performed patient care in the health science building.

“Emergencies do not happen in a vacuum, nor do responses happen by individual agencies,” Wilson said about working with Riverton Police department as well as other community agencies. “Communities are impacted by emergencies regardless of the size of the event. The more partners involved makes the community better prepared for the next emergency. Partner agencies are also required to practice and exercise to prepare for the unknown. The old antage ‘practice how you work and work how you practice,’ holds true in the emergency preparedness world.”

Wilson said the more community partners involved the better the exercises and the more realistic the exercise will be which helps everyone learn.

The theater department created the moulage on actors, which is the art of applying mock injuries. Each actor had a specific role to play during the event. CWC student, Tapaynga Hill has been doing stage makeup and moulage for about five years and she created the moulage and was an actor during the drill.

“I like doing moulage because it’s realistic makeup. You get to look at real wounds and recreate them so that emergency personnel get the chance to be exposed to a real-life simulation,” Hill said. “This can help put them in the right state of mind and focus on treating the patient more than trying to imagine the wounds.”

Hill said being able to act as a victim was a great experience to be able to play a role that is different than a role on stage.

“The up-close acting was awesome but there’s a difference between real-life acting and stage acting; with this you get to help emergency personnel for the future,” Hill said.

Hill is also a criminal justice student at CWC and was able to observe the Riverton Police department.  

“I got to see what the officers role was, not only detaining the perpetrator but being there and interacting as a first responder and seeing the interaction they had with the victims,” she said. “Watching law enforcement go through the entire process, from moving in to waiting for the criminal to be treated, I saw that they don’t stop, they keep going until the job is complete.”

The CWC nursing staff plan to continue creating disaster drills annually to meet the NCLEX requirements. Each year the scenario will change and will be guided by the community and the CWC emergency planning committee, Wilson said.

After visiting with numerous students, I believe the nursing students learned how teamwork, communication and managing chaos in real time impacts them as individual, as nurses and as community members. The students feel that this was a great way to end their student experience. This was an accumulation of four semesters of learning put to use in a real time scenario utilizing critical thinking and nursing skills acquired. ”

The CWC film department was also part of the drill and captured the event for future reference and review of the scenario.

“This is a great opportunity to get hands-on experience working with other degree programs on campus and participating in a collaborative learning exercise,” sophomore Logan Kay said.  “I’m really excited about working with the other students in a real-world situation.”