Emory University

Emory University

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Overview of Curriculum Innovation

Emory University School of Nursing has developed a disaster-preparedness simulation exercise as part of the undergraduate course in community health nursing.  In this simulation small groups of 5-6 undergraduate nursing students are immersed into a scene depicting a tornado-ravaged assisted living facility with a variety of resident conditions that require triage decisions in an environment of post-disaster chaos.  Students are prepared for the simulation through a didactic class that introduces them to the principles of Basic Disaster Life Support (BDLS) as defined in the AMA BDLS model (http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/cphpdr/bdls-update.pdf).  After the didactic preparation students are taken in small groups through the simulation experience and a debriefing session.  The simulation experience has been positively evaluated by the students and evaluation results have been included in the Public Health Nursing article describing the use of this simulation experience.  Dr. Spencer also secured a small amount of funds from the School of Public Health at Emory, in order to develop a coalition of Schools of Nursing in Georgia.  Each year 2 representatives from each school of nursing in Georgia met with faculty at Emory University to discuss how to introduce Emergency Preparedness into the nursing curriculum.  This collaboration between academia lasted a total of five years and depended on generous funding from the School of Public Health and the CDC.


Linda Spencer
Emory University


Kaplan, B.G., Connor, A., Ferrantr, E.P.,Holmes, L., and Spencer, L. (2012). Use of an emergency preparedness disaster simulation with undergraduate nursing students.  Public Health Nursing. 29(5), 44-51. Doi /10.1111/phn2011.29.issue-1/issuetoc.