Local students train to save lives

Messenger photos by Rachel Scofield
Senior Kristen McLaughlin, from the Southwestern Career Academy, holds an airbag to a robot patient’s face as part of a CPR lesson at OhioHealth.
A patient simulator at Riverside Hospital smiles and opens his eyes after high school students in a new career training program successfully resuscitated him.

In the recovery room, Sara King gently placed her hand on the patient’s shoulder.  He needed the comfort after undergoing a heart catheterization.

Suddenly, he said, "I don’t feel well" and alarms sounded.

Sara’s instructors told her that the patient was experiencing a heart attack and that she needed to administer CPR.

The instructors began assigning jobs to the other students as well – "You check for a pulse! You listen for chest sounds!"

At first, nobody moved. After all, they were high school students and did not know how to respond.

One by one, they stepped forward as the robotic patient closed his mechanical eyes and moaned in pain.

The robot was one of many patient simulators in the Riverside Methodist Hospital’s Center for Medical Education + Innovation. The robots breathe, talk, bleed and are capable of more than 72,000 stimuli responses.
The students learned how to perform CPR, how to take a pulse, how to read a heart monitor, and how to administer a shock with a defibrillator.

The lesson was the first in a series that OhioHealth will provide in partnership with Learning for Life’s Explorers program.

Learning for Life teaches children about careers. Students, ages 14-20, may apply to become an Explorer.  Explorers visit actual job sites.

More than 75 students submitted essays to apply for 30 slots, said Alyssa Fry, an executive with Learning for Life.

"We can’t have a ton of kids running around a hospital," Fry said.

Throughout the year, the Explorers will visit a different hospital in the OhioHealth system. The next stop will be Grant Medical Center to visit the emergency and surgery departments.

"It took a concerted effort to have a program for high school students that would include hands-on looks at different health care fields," said Debbie Donahey, director of community relations for OhioHealth.  "There are a lot of regulations. You can’t just take people onto a floor."

King is a senior at Bishop Ready High School who plans to become a nurse. In addition, she volunteers at Riverside Hospital’s Women’s Clinic.

Originally she thought she would become a doctor, but now says, "I want to be a nurse, it’s more me."

Junior Ali Knapke, also of Bishop Ready, said she has not decided what medical career to pursue – "a dentist maybe."

"I never really thought of all the medical fields before," Knapke said. "It opened my eyes to all the possibilities."

Knapke’s favorite part was when she performed CPR on the robot. "That was pretty cool."

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