Preparing Future Nurses to Respond to Emergencies at the Triennial Airport Disaster Exercise

In a step to improve preparedness for major emergencies in Hawaii, the State of Hawaii’s Department of Transportation (DOT) held the Triennial Airport Disaster Exercise (TADE) on October 20, 2023. This year among the multiple federal, state, and local agencies participating were three 3 nursing schools: UHM Nursing, Chaminade, and Hawaii Pacific University. The TADE is a full-scale airport disaster exercise involving a complex airplane crash scenario. Nursing students were invited to join to provide an opportunity to practice vital skills needed for disaster response.

Triennial Airport Disaster Exercise

Dr. Michele Bray, UHM Nursing faculty, who was key in orchestrating nursing activities during the TADE, described the significance of the activity: “Training nursing students for emergency preparedness and response is not just important for nursing education, but important for our community.” She stressed that through exercises like TADE, “we instill in our students the critical thinking and adaptability they’ll need in real-world disaster scenarios, ensuring they’re ready to serve their communities when the need arises.”

Students at Triennial Airport Disaster Exercise

To prepare for their roles in the TADE, nursing students received training on disaster management and practical skills such as first aid and triage. During the exercise, students stepped into varied roles including first responders responsible for conducting disaster triage and first aid, field hospital care team members, and task force leaders. In each role, students practiced interprofessional communication and critical decision-making. Senior student Logan-Redd Ledda participated in the TADE and shared that “I did disaster triage and provided first aid to injured people. If there’s one thing I’ll remember, it is that communication and leadership are key in situations like this to avoid casualties. It was fun to work with the other professions and students from other nursing schools.”

Dr. Gary Glauberman, who served as an evaluator for the event, remarked on how valuable the partnership between the nursing schools and the DOT has been, saying “Engaging with community partners through TADE allows us to provide nursing students an unparalleled learning experience while working synergistically with local agencies and seasoned professionals in the field.”

With the growing emphasis on enhancing nurses’ disaster readiness in healthcare and the increasing scale and impact of health emergencies locally and globally, building disaster response abilities among nursing professionals has never been more important. Immersive learning experiences like the TADE may inspire the next generation of nurses to confidently and effectively respond to emergencies affecting our state and beyond.

Back To Top