Being in the hospital can be an overwhelming experience for a child. It’s a new place with lots of machines and hallways, and coupled with illness or injury, it can be frightening place. However, after getting used to the hospital, they’ll often find that it isn’t so scary, and that it’s a place for care and healing.
At Othello Community Hospital, a long-running program has sought to make local children and parents more comfortable when visiting the hospital or being a patient. Each year near National Hospital Week, the hospital welcomes second-graders from the community for learning and demonstrations in the hospital’s different departments.
The program has been in operation for 37 years and grown along the way, and this May the hospital welcomed more than 550 students from seven different schools. When they arrive, the students begin their tour in the ambulance station, where they got to see the inside of an ambulance, and of course hear the sirens. They then continue to the ER to see the trauma rooms, the radiology department to see old X-rays, the inpatient rooms, the nursery and the helipad.
They also stop by the laboratory to see slides of germs, as well as the dietary, where they learn about healthy eating habits and receive a goody bag. The tours have been a hit in the community, with students sending hand-written thank you cards to the hospital after the visits.
Both the students and hospital staff look forward to the visits each year as the hospital continues to share its work with the community. (Tim Pfarr)