For the first time in its 10-year history, Good Samaritan Medical Center hosted a Take Your Child to Work Day organized by medical staff and associates.
“I think the idea of having a bunch of kids running around the hospital was scary for a lot of people,” said Erin Panek, PACU nurse and lead organizer for the event. “We felt that middle school students were a good age to target for the first year—they’re mature enough to handle certain medical topics, and they’re impressionable.”
As the pilot program, space was limited to 32 students to see if the program could expand and continue in the future.
To protect patient privacy—imagine 32 wide-eyed 11- to 13-year-olds peering at you from the bedside—the students were not allowed into patient rooms. Instead, they took part in a structured day complete with watching a flight nurse in action and helicopter landing, performing CPR on dummies, and even suturing bananas.
“From the fruit family, the banana comes closest to the actual experience,” laughed Panek. “We initially thought about pig’s feet, but that got nixed.”
Throughout the day, the students also watched presentations about different areas of healthcare including anesthesia, trauma, orthopedics, and ear-nose-throat.
“It’s hard to cover everything in the hospital, so for this pilot program, we're focusing on perioperative services,” said Panek.
“We hope kids learn a little more about medicine and what their parents actually do. That’s how I decided to be a nurse; I went to work with my mom, who was a neonatal intensive care unit nurse.”
After a whirlwind eight-hour day, the students reconvened and shared their favorite parts— including one student who learned some applicable skills.
“I know what to do if my friend’s heart stops beating or if someone stops breathing,” said Phelan Kenyon, a seventh grader. “Today was really fun.”