Pretend hospital comforts children through education

Going to the doctor can sometimes be a scary experience for some children, but UNA is preparing to show kids they have nothing to be afraid of.

The Anderson College of Nursing will host the “Let’s Pretend Hospital” April 27 at 1 p.m. for a group of third graders from Kilby Elementary School.

The event will show kids what happens in emergency situations so they will not be as scared if they ever have to go to the hospital, according to a UNA press release.

Senior nursing student Katherine Dennis said an educational approach is a great option to ease anxiety.

“I know from pediatric clinicals that some younger children are afraid of the machine noises, so education is helpful in explaining where the noises are coming from and what it could indicate,” Dennis said. “Small things like that can make all the difference sometimes.”

Assistant professor of nursing Will Brewer said the day will begin with kids watching an Air Evac helicopter land on the intramural field before visiting the pretend hospital setting in the nursing lab of Stevens Hall.

The pretend hospital will be filled with faculty member’s children acting as patients with injuries ranging from a broken bone to a head injury.

Kilby students will follow hospital procedure by having nurses admit them into the hospital and giving them a bracelet. They will then go to radiology for a fake x-ray.

“We’ll also take them to the lab to talk about blood drawing, talking them through that, because that is obviously very scary for some kids,” Brewer said.   “We’re also going to have a mock operating room set up to show them what that’s like as well.”

He said children are always excited to see is the interactive baby manikins.

“They all want to see our babies,” he said. “We have these hi-fidelity mannequins that cry and act like real babies.  So we’ll let them play with those and interact with them.”

Brewer said 45 out of 51 eligible UNA students volunteered their time to work the event as a service project.

He said multiple areas in Alabama offer this program, but it will be the first in Florence. He said he wants to offer this program to all kids in Lauderdale County once the nursing program moves into its new building.

The new nursing building, Laura M. Harrison Hall, is expected to open in fall 2019.