The Kindergarten Orientation Program, which commenced in 1982 in the then RN Diploma based Program at Western, was developed by Helen Nugent, a former instructor with the School of Nursing. While many changes have occurred to the program over the past twenty-two years, its original core components are still in practice today through the BN Program. The longevity of the program and the interest displayed by local elementary schools for this field trip speaks volumes for its quality.
The main objective of the program is to allay children’s anxieties and misconceptions regarding the hospital, treatments, and personnel. This objective is met mainly by familiarizing kindergarten children to the hospital setting. At the same time, the hospital orientation program provides the nursing student with opportunities to communicate effectively with healthy children and to apply theory to practice.
How the Program works
The program is offered to elementary schools in the Corner Brook area during the Winter Semester of year two as part of the course “Nursing Practice for the Care of the Child, Adolescent and Young Adult”. This past winter nursing students organized seven separate programs for eight local elementary schools, involving approximately 300 students. This program was delivered within Western Regional School of Nursing. Each group of eight nursing students was responsible for conducting one program as part of their clinical rotation. The program includes visits to a Pediatric Room (Simulation), Vital Sign Room, Bone Clinic, and a Show and Tell Room. As well, midway through the morning refreshments and a movie are provided.
In Monaghan Hall, a room is organized to simulate a room on the Pediatric Unit. Children are shown what a hospital bed looks like and time is provided to explore the bed. Children take great joy in raising and lowering the bed and in seeing how the side-rails and buzzers work. In this bed a pediatric mannequin, named Michael, has had an operation and is waiting for suture removal. The students show the children what sutures look like, why they are necessary, and then demonstrate the procedure. The children are then given an opportunity to participate in suture removal.
Vital Signs and Stretcher Ride
In the vital sign area student nurses demonstrate the use of thermometers, stethoscopes, and blood pressure apparatus. Time is provided for the children to manipulate and feel comfortable with the equipment. Its then off to the skywalk to view a hospital stretcher, to hear an explanation of its purpose, and receive a stretcher ride. A definite highlight of the hospital adventure (see picture below)!
In this room student nurses focus on bones and their functions. Students show the children, through x-ray films and a skeleton, what a broken bone looks like and how broken bones are repaired. Nursing students demonstrate application of a cast on a doll. The children love this! (See picture below).
Show and Tell
Children are shown additional equipment they would likely encounter should they become hospitalized or if an operation was needed. Here Zaddi, a special teaching doll designed to show the various internal parts of the body and their functioning, is prepared for an operation. Children are encouraged to touch and explore the various pieces of equipment that they might see in an operating room such as an anesthetic machine, anesthesia mask, electrocardiograph ( EKG) patches, intravenous equipment, and syringes. The children take great delight in donning operating room gowns, hats, and masks which make hospital apparel seem less imposing and less frightening.
While this program aims to allay anxieties and misconceptions about hospitals it also helps to promote healthy child development. Children learn more about health, the physical body, the health care profession and setting. In addition, we are starting young at recruiting for the future generation of nurses and physicians!
A special thank you is extended to Helen Nugent for starting the program. We also would like to thank all the hospital staff who have over the years, welcomed these children to the various departments (in particular the OPD staff and especially the Ambulance attendants, the Pediatric Staff, Radiology, Housekeeping and others). Last but not least, a thank you to all nursing students who eagerly implement the program. We could not have done it without you all!!!