Steamboat Springs Nurses at Yampa Valley Medical Center this week treated patients who had fallen trying to reach a rubber ducky on the top shelf at Wal-Mart, partied too hard at Mardi Gras and been hit and dragged by a vehicle.
But neither the scenarios, nor the patients were real.
Nurses from the Rocky Mountain Regional Trauma Center at Denver Health Medical Center were in Steamboat Springs Thursday and Friday to give local nurses some hands-on instruction in trauma care.
"We have a very close working relationship," said Steve Hilley, who coordinates the flight nurse program at Yampa Valley Medical Center.
Flight nurses accompany trauma patients on dozens of emergency flights to Denver Health every year.
Staff at Denver Health teach the trauma nurse core curriculum at least once a year in Steamboat.
Recertification is required every four years.
The intense two-day course fills a niche in smaller, rural communities, where nurses do not often treat the traumatic cases found in larger, metropolitan hospitals.
"We are a rural hospital," nurse Dave Linner said.
The curriculum introduced he and his colleagues to new ways of responding and caring for trauma patients, Linner said.
Nurses learned via television videos and lectures. They received hands-on training by practicing on a life-size dummy and volunteer patients.
Ginny Dwyer, a nurse at Denver Health, taught the course and agreed to fill the role of a patient.
Eric Christensen, a nurse educator at Denver Health, described the circumstances in which the nurses found Dwyer.
His proposed scenarios were humorous and offered the nurses a bit of comic relief.
Christensen's narratives had the nurses coming upon the unwitting patient after she had tried to slide down a light pole during Mardi Gras celebrations or attempted to climb up some store shelving to reach a rubber toy.
The nurses moved quickly and professionally to stabilize Dwyer on a backboard.
Practice reinforced the standardized procedure all first responders should follow, Christensen said.
Alycia Schramm, a nurse practitioner at Kremmling Memorial Hospital, drove to Steamboat for the training.
Schramm, who has been in nursing for 25 years, agreed the exposure to trauma nursing was beneficial for medical personnel in rural areas who do not see many trauma patients.
"It's good to get the review," she said.