Friday, May 3, 2013

Students get hands-on approach to learning

A young boy is in the midst of an asthma attack. A middle-aged woman is having a heart attack. An elderly man presenting for surgery has veins that are nearly impossible to locate. What are the next steps that need to be taken?

These scenarios were just a few of the situations 23 area high school students faced as part of a recent four-week pilot program aimed at introducing youth to the many careers available in the field of health care. The program was offered by the MGH Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine and the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement.

“The Center for Community Health Improvement focuses on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and we built off of that,” says Peter Demary, administrative coordinator in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine. “We want them to understand how many different roles there are in a hospital. It was really exciting, engaging and a lot of fun for all of us.”

During the program, students spent two hours a week participating in lectures with anesthesia technicians, critical care nurses, nurse anesthetists and residents. They also took part in mock exercises to diagnose and create a care plan for patients and got hands-on experience using laryngoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and other equipment in the field, all while learning resuscitation and intubation techniques. The program culminated with a trip to the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation where the students practiced what they had learned on the simulation mannequins.

Demary says the program was extremely successful and will be expanded and offered again in the fall. Students surveyed following the class agreed, noting – “I loved the fact that it was so hands-on with all of the real equipment from the hospital” and “Before, I had almost no clue what anesthesia was, but now I am much more educated.”  n

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