Hastings program helps kids understand health care

By By WILL VRASPIR

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) — She wore a hospital gown. The wrist bracelet had her name and birth date. A blood pressure cuff clung to her arm. A clip on her finger monitored her oxygen intake. Another monitor measured her heart rate.

Olivia Terwey, 8, was being prepped for surgery. She and her fellow third-grade students from Longfellow Elementary School got a glimpse into surgical preparation during a recent visit to Mary Lanning Healthcare.

A couple of students had surgery in the past, but for most, the preparation for a mock surgery was a completely new experience.

Jessica Yurk, a registered nurse who works in the operating room, showed the students the garb and medical utensils used during a surgery.

"I hope to teach them it's not that scary and give them some insight into what we do," she told the Hastings Tribune.

As Yurk asked about the purpose of wearing a surgical cap and scrubs, the children guessed it was to keep blood from splattering onto their clothing. Yurk explained the surgical garb helps keep germs out of the operating room.

"Your imaginations are running wild," she said. "Blood doesn't spray all over the room during surgery."

The visit was part of Mary Lanning's Operation Education tour. Tours started in January with preschoolers and first-grade students visiting the pediatric unit.

In February, third-graders from across the community were invited to a mock surgical area. Tours will continue in March with fifth-graders checking out the rehabilitation center to discuss sports injuries.

After seeing the surgical tools firsthand, the third-graders got to see X-ray images of broken bones and the plates and screws used to stabilize a bone for healing.

For 8-year-old Eleanor Oliver, that was the best part.

"You could actually see their bones and where they were broken," she said.

Other children didn't enjoy the X-rays as much.

"It looked like it hurt," said Elissiona Hosino, 9.

Alexissa Walker, 8, thought the X-rays looked disgusting.

"I had to look away before I barfed," she said.

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Information from: Hastings Tribune, http://www.hastingstribune.com

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