Field trip gives students glimpse of the medical profession
By Patricia Deal
CRDAMC Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas-The medical field just might get a few more recruits after third- and fourth-grade gifted and talented students from Saegert Elementary School in Killeen got a behind-the-scenes look at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center during a recent field trip.
Almost 50 students, teachers and chaperones toured the hospital's Orthopedic Clinic, Pathology Department and Simulation Laboratory and also inspected Emergency Department and military ambulances. The group also received nutrition tips from the Nutrition Care Division while eating lunch in the dining facility.
Saegert Elementary has been CRDAMC's adopted school for five years and the hospital's Soldiers support the school by participating in different events and offering educational classes and training for students and parents, too.
But this field trip is something they haven't done before, according to Lt. Col. Charles Burton, CRDAMC's troop commander.
"I think it went over well, not only with the children, but also with the staff members from the different sections, who were excited to share details of their jobs with the children," Burton said. "We're hoping that by exposing students to some of the hospital's daily activities, they would be inspired to seek a career in the medical field. I heard a lot of good remarks from the children, with quite a few saying they would like to work in a hospital."
Eight-year old Adelyse Nieto, who's already decided she wants to be a pediatrician, said she really liked seeing what goes on at a hospital. "I found it all interesting," she said. "But the simulation lab was my favorite."
Both of the students' teachers said the trip was a great opportunity for the children, as it gave them an opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at a hospital, something they might otherwise not get to see.
"It was different from other field trips we've taken. The students were definitely interested as they paid attention to the different staff members and asked a lot of questions," said Diane Lingle, fourth-grade teacher. Hazel Higdon, third-grade teacher, agreed, adding that the experience gave the children a more positive outlook on hospitals.
That was true for third-grader Trinity Traynor, who's only experience with hospitals was when she came to Darnall for surgeries on her ears and to have her adenoids and tonsils out.
"This trip was pretty amazing," she said. "It was definitely more fun than I thought it would be."
Staff Sgt. Christy Chenault, Adopt-A-School coordinator for CRDAMC, also thought the trip went better than she anticipated.
"Since this was the first time we did something like this I honestly didn't know what to expect. But the children behaved well, patients seemed happy to see them, and we didn't interrupt hospital operations at all," she said. "We definitely would like to plan more trips like this for all the different grades."
Burton and Chenault said that they plan to continue their efforts to get the Saegert students interested in the medical field. Next step will be to set up informational displays at the school's Career Day scheduled for May 13.
CUTLINE: 2011 04 28 Saegert School simbaby
Charles Steiner, CRDAMC's simulation administrator, explains to students from Saegert Elementary School in Killeen how a "simulated" baby provides realistic training for the hospital's doctors and nurses. The third- and fourth-grade students got a behind-the-scenes look at Darnall during a field trip here April 19. (U.S. Army photo by Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs)