University of South Florida


Woman applying fake blood to an actress.

USF students contribute to mass casualty incident training

University of South Florida students played an integral role in a Mass Casualty Incident Training course hosted at the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) from April 3-4. The immersive training initiative, designed to equip emergency clinicians with essential skills for managing high-volume and high-acuity scenarios, involved USF undergraduates.

Under the guidance of Dr. Melissa Milner, CAMLS’ director of clinical simulation and instructor of the USF College of Public Health’s Simulation Operations course, undergraduate students embraced their roles as standardized patients. In this crucial capacity, they brought to life a diverse array of scenarios, fostering an environment of realism and urgency for course participants.

woman teaching students in lab

Dr. Melissa Milner debriefs with students after mass casualty incident simulation. (Photo by Siegal)

Additionally, these students lent their talents to the art of moulage, utilizing special effects makeup to simulate injuries with astonishing authenticity. Among the participants were undergraduates in the simulation operations course and health sciences internship program, all of whom played pivotal roles in the success of the training.

students scrubbing up in hospital setting

USF students fulfill roles as standardized patients during mass casualty incident training simulation. (Photo by Siegal)

“We could have saved lives today,” BSHS student Jan Smith said.” “If something happens and there’s a mass casualty, maybe there’s two lives saved just because they’re running it smooth or just because of the practice they did with us today.”

The impact of these students was felt long before the two-day intensive training. In the days leading up to the event, they dedicated themselves to meticulously crafting moulage that would be instrumental in creating lifelike scenarios during the training sessions.

actors pretending to be patients in a hospital

Dr. Melissa Milner worked with students in USF’s College of Public Health Simulation Operations course to prepare and apply moulage for Mass Casualty Incident Training. (Photo by Siegal)

Reflecting on their experiences, students expressed profound gratitude for the hands-on learning opportunities afforded to them at USF. Many students in the course, including BSHS student Jennica Hansberry, say their experience in the simulation operations course has inspired them to explore the possibility of a career path in healthcare simulation.

“I feel that USF has given me so many opportunities that I don’t feel like I would have had. I’m very grateful that I was able to do this so early on because I’m only a sophomore,” Hansberry said. “I feel like it’s going to benefit me later on because I’ve had this experience.”

“Their enthusiasm, dedication, and invaluable contributions not only enhanced the training program but also exemplified USF’s commitment to experiential learning and community engagement,” Milner said.  

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