Kassie Campbell, RN, BSN, knows all too well how important it is to practice safe driving habits: As a trauma nurse at University of Missouri Health Care’s University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, she sees the results of bad decisions every week. University Hospital is a Level I trauma center, which means that the physicians there treat the worst trauma cases in the area — including patients whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was more than the legal limit when they caused a crash. They also treat severe concussion cases, in which drivers become seriously injured in a crash because they weren’t wearing their seatbelt.
In order to maintain its status as a Level I trauma center, University Hospital must offer an injury prevention program based on its highest mechanism of injury. In Columbia, the vast majority of injuries occur as a result of motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes. So, in addition to her role as a trauma nurse, Kassie is also injury prevention and trauma outreach coordinator for Trauma Services at University Hospital. She spends much of her time visiting alternative high schools and small rural high schools for her “Is It Worth It?” education program. Over the course of 45 minutes, she addresses the topics of impaired driving (from both alcohol and marijuana), distracted driving, and the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt. While she shows PowerPoint presentations and short videos, the students’ favorite part of the presentations are the interactive portions — and for that, Kassie relies on Innocorp products. “I could not do this presentation without the equipment I get from Innocorp,” she says. “There’s no other way I can simulate these situations.”
Kassie uses three different kinds of Fatal Vision® Goggles — Alcohol Simulation Goggles, Concussion Goggles, and Marijuana Goggles — to illustrate just how difficult it is to perform basic tasks when impaired. Because Kassie is a trauma nurse, she is able to talk to the students based on her experiences — and they listen to her.
In particular, Kassie likes using the Fatal Vision® Concussion Goggles to show what can happen if the students don’t use their seatbelts and experience a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body. The Concussion Goggles simulate the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) such as dizziness, visual disconnect, disorientation, hesitation, confusion and lack of confidence. Kassie invites a few students to try the goggles on and attempt to trace a cat or dog on a dry erase board — one of the study activities found in the Fatal Vision® Concussion Campaign Kit. She also encourages students to try to fit children’s blocks in shaped holes — a seemingly easy activity made much more difficult by the simulated effects of a concussion.
Another important part of Kassie’s presentation is a lesson on distracted driving. She uses Innocorp’s Distract-a-Match® Game to show just how much distraction can affect their concentration, instructing a student’s friend to send him a text while he attempts to play a simple shape-matching game.
The Innocorp products help Kassie keep her students’ attention while she’s delivering an important lesson. “You have to capture these kids and keep them entertained,” she says. “I try to get to the point and not just throw a bunch of facts at them. And it works. The kids can’t wait to participate. They want to try all the activities.”
Because of her dual role as both a trauma nurse and injury prevention coordinator, Kassie is unable to work on her education efforts year-round. Instead, she focuses on visiting high schools in the fall and spring. It’s one of the most fulfilling parts of her job, she says. Over the past year, she visited two different schools at which a student had recently died due to a crash. In one of the schools, a boy had died because his girlfriend was driving while distracted. His brother was in attendance at one of her presentations, and he shared his experiences with the class. “The students all said, ‘We didn’t think texting on our phone while driving was a big deal,’” says Kassie. “Then they heard this boy’s experience, combined with the interactive experience I was offering them. It was very powerful.”
Kassie feels that her job enables her to connect with the students who hear her message. “These kids will challenge me and ask me questions,” she says. “I can have an open conversation with them, which is one of my favorite things to do.”