Active shooter training gives UDM students CBS spotlight

University of Detroit Mercy had nursing students participate in an active shooter training at Oakland Community College in October. The training aired as part of CBS local news.

One of the University’s clinical faculty that works at Trinity Hospital did this training through Trinity Hospital pre-Covid. The faculty reached out and asked Nina Favor, Assistant Dean Prelicensure Clinical Partnerships, Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator, if the University was willing to do this training again.

“What they did not realize when they reached out to me was my expertise in simulation,” Favor said. “I became part of the committee that hosted this event and the simulation faculty.”

During the training, the students acted out the role of victims in a mass shooting. For added realism, fake gunshot wounds were added. The training followed through the entire mass shooting event including being escorted out by law enforcement and medical personnel.

“I think what they can take away from this, especially as nursing students, is how to act in an emergency,” Detroit Mercy student Theroi Riggins said. “It was beneficial because they will know how to deal with victims coming in from traumas. Being victims themselves, seeing it, and experiencing it firsthand can help the students understand what those victims have been through. When those patients come into the hospital, they are very equipped to deal with them.”

With an increasing amount of mass shooting events in the United States drills such as these can increase preparedness for all students, not just those who work with shooting victims first-hand.

Physiological safety was the number one priority during the training. There was a sign-up sent out to see what kind of victim the student was most comfortable playing. The committee made sure they had an agenda to make sure the students knew what would happen step-by-step. 

There was communication throughout the whole event, especially after the event for debriefing. The nursing students and trainers used the debrief time to discuss the training, how it felt to be both a nursing student and a victim. This helped ease anxieties and strong emotions that may have come up during the drills.

“We had some great dialogue that came out of that,” Favor said. “How do you know who to triage first as a first responder, which is very different than in a hospital because we are looking at lifesaving situations.”

In this training there were many students that were vulnerable in this situation. Some students that participated in the training know, or are close to, victims of shootings.

Oakland Fire Department, Police and EMS, made sure that each student’s physiological safety was taken care of during the event.