It was an exciting Thursday morning for 45 kids who got a behind-the-scenes look of the hospital that cares for their sick or injured classmates. The 8 to 12 year olds also spent the afternoon with mom or dad in the department they call “home” for many hours each week.
The National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day began at Akron Children’s Hospital with a stop at the Emily Cooper Welty Expressive Therapy Center to experience the fun, open space for hospitalized patients to express their feelings through art, music, dance and more.
After making their own drawings, art therapist Molly Kohut asked the students to show and tell.
Nine-year-old Summer McCreery of Norton Primary School was excited to reveal a charcoal drawing of her family at a park. She said the center was pretty and made her feel happy and safe.
The ER nurses took great care to ease the children’s concerns about ever needing stitches. About half of the group was veterans, and a few proudly showed their scars.
A trio of registered nurses – Donna Blair, Cindy Wyse and Heather Lucas – placed elastic wrap on each child’s preferred injured body part (most pretend cuts were on the head) to simulate how they begin to numb the skin. Cindy then surprised the group when she uncovered a real pig’s foot to demonstrate how to clean and use sutures, or “string band-aids,” to close a cut.
Robert White Jr., 11, who attends Akron Public School’s Mason Elementary, was quick to get a closer look and touch the foot for himself.
The nurses were happy that no one fainted and thanked them with a Popsicle, just like they give every suture room patient.
A quick elevator ride from the ER to the roof of the hospital to meet the Transport staff gave the kids an exciting opportunity to sit in the colorful AirBear®, Ohio’s only pediatric-dedicated helicopter that brings critically ill patients to and from the hospital.
A little time with a physical therapist in Rehabilitative Services showed how using everyday things like a bicycle, a big ball, steps and even a swimming pool helps patients manage and recover from an illness or injury.
Liz Maseth, a lactation consultant with Maternal Fetal Medicine, ended the morning with a discussion of an awkward topic for adolescents. She showed them an interactive game called Treasure Chest, which teaches the importance of breast milk for babies’ health and development.
Carolyn Hofmann, who has been organizing the event for almost 15 years, said the featured departments and activities are different each year so the kids who come back have new experiences.
“I am so proud of our staff,” Carolyn said. “They take pride in making the day an interactive and educational time for each child – just like they do with our patients.”