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Hartnell Nursing Students Manage International Teamwork Assessment Experiment

May 22nd, 2012

Imagine that you have fallen victim to a catastrophic event. You are alone and injured, and buildings and bridges have been devastated. You hear someone approaching, calling your name, and are relieved to be rescued. But your rescuer has no medical knowledge. Are you doomed?

Not if the Hartnell Nursing Program and its international collaborators have anything to say about it.

Five graduating Hartnell College RN students

In April, five graduating Hartnell College RN students helped manage an international scientific research effort as their capstone project, assisted by 16 of their peers. The experiment, designed and coordinated by a team of researchers from Linkoping University in Sweden and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, will advance our knowledge of automated team performance assessment and knowledge transfer.

The experiment was conducted simultaneously at two locations: the Hartnell College Nursing Program in Salinas, and NPS in Monterey. Eight pairs of Hartnell RN students participated as medical experts in three chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) scenarios over a two-hour period where they were tasked with diagnosing and treating a victim located at the NPS via an online networking application.

Monitor showing live audio and video feeds

Each scenario consisted of three network nodes: two medical experts located at different sites at Hartnell, and a "victim" along with his non-medical expert rescuer (a.k.a. John Doe) at NPS. Using live chat, and audio and video feeds, the Hartnell medical experts worked with John Doe to quickly diagnose and treat the victim of an unknown CBRN exposure using medically accurate reference manuals. It was necessary for all three nodes to establish a communication protocol, use critical thinking skills, and work together to ensure an accurate diagnosis and complete medical treatment was administered to extend the victim's life until an ambulance arrived.

Dennis Andersson and Amy Rankin from Linkoping University along with LT Darryl Diptee from NPS are currently analyzing the data and plan to write a number of conference papers with the findings from the experiment. The experiment, designed to evaluate computer algorithms that assess team performance, will generate new knowledge in the realm of automated team performance assessment, knowledge transfer and other important scientific arenas. The research was funded and sponsored by the US Office of Naval Research Global Naval International Cooperative Opportunities in Science and Technology Program, the European Union's Framework Programme 7, and the Swedish Graduate School Forum Securitatis.