Tuesday, April 12, 2016

St Michael’s kindergarten students visit Pincher Creek Community Health Centre

Josh Davis

On Friday, April 8, Madame Parker’s French Immersion kindergarten class from St. Michael’s school toured the Pincher Creek Community Health Centre. 17 students and their 7 adult helpers were taken through the hospital and clinic, led by Nurse Trudy Bennett. The class’s teacher Madame Jennifer Parker talked about how grateful she is to live and teach in a small town, where it’s possible to walk on field trips like this. Next Friday, April 15, the English speaking kindergarten class will be taking their own tour of the Health Centre.

Dr. Gavin Parker is also Madame Parker's husband.  Their son Sebastian is a student in the French immersion kindergarten class. He said he was having a lot of fun with the field trip. “It’s a neat idea. We’ve often brought students to the hospital. It’s kind of a neat way to demystify the healthcare experience for kids, and teach them that it’s not that scary.”

Nurse Trudy Bennet answering questions
The students started off in Day Surgery, where they spent most of the morning. “This is where people come before they have an operation,” explained Nurse Bennett. Bennet then took a couple of moments to stress the importance of being quiet while in the hospital, and explained the different types of garb worn by doctors and nurses in the hospital.

X-Ray Tech Alana Plaza
Next they learned from X-Ray Tech Alana Plaza, who explained a little bit about her job, and showed several x-ray photographs. These X-rays were of body part, some of which were broken and some which weren’t. A few of the slides showed what it looked like when screws were placed in limbs to assist in healing. Plaza also showed off a few x-rays of uncarved and carved pumpkins, stumping even the brightest of the students.

Following this, Nurse Bennett showed off the new renovations to the emergency room.

Physiotherapist Alec Chisholm
Then the class visited the physiotherapy room. There Physiotherapist Alec Chisholm demonstrated the equipment he used. The students got to dip a finger in the hot wax used to treat arthritis. Their time in the physiotherapy room was extended by an impromptu fire drill.

Nurse Brandi Starzyk (upper right) and teacher Madame Parker (upper left) with the students

Following that they returned to day surgery, enjoying their snack time before splitting into two groups. One group had their blood pressure and temperature taken, and got to use stethoscopes to listen to heart beats. Parent volunteer Brandi Starzyk, a nurse, led this group. Meanwhile, a second group led by Dr. Gavin Parker got the opportunity to see how an ultrasound works. Pregnant volunteer Ashley Conley, graciously offered to let this group see her unborn child. Later, volunteers from the class had the chance to use the ultrasound on themselves, viewing their own heartbeats.

Dr. Parker demonstrates the ultrasound machine
Following this, one group stayed with Dr. Parker to get finger casts, while the other group took a tour of the operating room. The students concluded their visit with a tour of the clinic, and were given lollipops as a reward for their good behaviour during the outing.

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