A year ago, Providence Holy Family Hospital in Spokane began a partnership with the school across the street. The two had worked together in the past, but by reaching out, the hospital rekindled the connection. It began with a student art contest from the Lidgerwood Elementary School students to decorate a bare hallway in the hospital, and later the student choir joined hospital workers for their mission picnic and Christmas party.
Now, the organizations have launched their latest project: a hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers in health care day organized by Holy Family Nurse Manager Betty Bush, whose R.N. career was sparked in the third grade by an interest in health care. On March 2, the entire sixth grade class from the elementary school spent more than half the school day in the hospital’s education center getting to try out equipment, such as laryngoscopes (on a “sim man” dummy) and ultrasound equipment (on a real person), but also getting demonstrations on breath capacity and the dangers of smoking, pharmacy safety (through a game of is it a pill or is it candy) and more. The students even got to try out giving chest compressions on the sim man. Click here to see a video from the day of learning.
For these students, just one career day like this can spark a life-long interest, says Becky Nappi, the hospital’s director of mission integration. Lidgerwood Elementary School has the fourth-highest rate of free and reduced lunch in the Spokane School District, with the students largely coming from working class families with parents who work two or three jobs to pay the bills. For these students, careers in health care can lead to a better life in a field where there will be a high demand for providers.
The hospital has already scheduled its next STEM careers in health care day for students in 2018, and they look forward to working more with Lidgerwood Elementary to inspire students, which Becky says all ties back to Providence Health & Services’ mission of making a difference not just in patients’ lives, but out in the community. (Tim Pfarr)