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Monongahela Valley Hospital staff gets burn training

Mon Valley Hospital Emergency Department Director Kelly Macheska applied for a grant for MVH staff to receive advanced training on treating burns. Her niece, Sierra Simpson (front), played a burn victim to help the staff with their training. in the back row are (from left) Emilee Hawk and Kristy Jericho, emergency room nurses at MVH; Dr. Ariel Aballay, of West Penn; Macheska; and Megan Miller and Joelle Niro, ER nurses at MVH.

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By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Staff at Monongahela Valley Hospital learned how to better treat burn patients during a training seminar this summer.

Twenty emergency room nurses and wound center nurses participated, said Kelly Macheska, emergency department director.

“It was very informative,” Macheska said. “As a community hospital, I thought the program and the education was very valuable. It was an additional resource we were able to offer to the nursing staff and have them better prepared in assessing and managing burn patients.”

A grant from the American Trauma Society's Pennsylvania division allowed the hospital to host the program for free, a value of $250 per participant, Macheska said.

A physician and nurses from the West Penn Hospital's burn center led the one-day “advanced burn life support training” on June 25. Participants in the eight-hour program received “contact hours for continuing education for nurses,” Macheska said.

Macheska, herself a participant, said the lesson provided information on guidelines, assessment and management of the patient within the first 24 hours of injury.

Attendees also learned about “transfer criteria” — what the local hospital could handle versus what should be transferred to another treatment center.

“(The nurses) were really excited and they felt better prepared to deal with the burn patient,” she said.

Participant Jill Price, a registered nurse in the emergency room and the emergency department clinical analyst, said there can be “a lot of gray area” in treating burns.

“(The training) helped identify the type of burn and classification and burn treatment,” she said. “It was very informative.”

The training course included a lecture, case studies and group discussions.

To lend a hand, Macheska's three nieces served as volunteers who dressed up and wore makeup and bandages to emulate burn patients. During the class, nurses assessed their simulated burns.

Nurses completed the course with a written exam and practical assessment.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or

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