This will be a “day in the life” of a teen who was run over in front of their school sustaining a fractured arm and the medical professionals they would meet on their way to healing this broken arm. Below are the suggested professionals but you can adapt this program to your own needs. Print out the ‘Career Day Directions for Kids’ page before the presentation.
Each professional will need a large bag (large plastic storage bags work well) of ‘items used by that professional’. Hand out a bag to each teen chosen to be a professional. You will have already put the name of the professional (IE: Paramedic) on the front of a 3X5 card. On the back of the card, you have put the directions to the child (IE: You have to go out when called to help people with medical problems. AFTER you decide what body part was hurt, you need to put the ‘patient’ in the wheelchair and wrap up their arm in a splint!). Put a piece of string or yarn through the card to make a name tag for the teen. If you are wearing your name tag or ID and lab coat, this is more acceptable to the kids. There will always be some child who does not want to participate (and there are not enough professions anyway) and some teen who wants to trade professions. I usually do not allow trades but am not wedded to that idea.
Many of the items that you will need for the presentation can be used again and again. Some are single use (surgical masks, surgical hats for hair) that are not a good idea to use for multiple presentations. I have found that the local hospitals are very generous with expendables when you tell them it is for a Career Day Presentation. The hospitals realize that encouraging health care professions is in their best interest too. Many hospitals also emblazon their scrubs with the hospital name. The free advertisement for the hospital system is a big plus. Especially if you promise to return the scrubs after the presentation!
Items in bag: Name tag, hospital gown
Items in bag: Name tag, gloves, pre-made plaster splint, ace bandage
Items in bag: Name tag, gloves, wheelchair (borrowed from my waiting room)
Emergency Room Registration
Items in bag: Name tag, hand-held Blackberry or small laptop computer. Make sure you get this back. It is the 1 item that can walk!
ER Doctor (or Practitioner)
Items in bag: Name tag, lab coat. By using one of mine (with PAC on it), another plug for PAs without being too obvious.
Items in bag: Name tag, X-ray that can be held up to light (I know most are on computer now but for purposes of the presentation, it works better if everyone can see the film). Make sure you cut off the patient’s name from the film and try to find an arm if possible.
Items in bag: Name tag, tourniquet, gloves, alcohol wipes, 1-2 blood tubes and syringe sans needle or vacutainer.
Items in bag: Name tag, scrubs, gloves, surgical cap, mask, shoe covers
Items in bag: Name tag, scrubs, gloves, surgical cap, mask, and shoe covers, 1-3” roll of web roll
Items in bag: Name tag, scrubs, gloves, surgical cap, mask, shoe covers, surgical drape
Items in bag: Name tag, scrubs, gloves, surgical cap, mask, shoe covers, small tubing to ‘connect’ to patient along with tape (to tape tubing on), 1-2 empty, needleless syringes for giving ‘medications’ into tubing
Items in bag: Name tag, scrubs, gloves, surgical cap, mask, shoe covers, and mask to place on patient, stethoscope (make sure you get this back too…they have a tendency to walk)
Items in bag: Name tag, scrubs, gloves, surgical cap, mask, shoe covers, 1-3”roll of plaster and water (most every classroom seems to have a sink so you will just need a small container to fill up)
Recovery Room Nurse
Items in bag: Name tag, scrubs, gloves, nasal cannula (if possible)
Items in bag: Name tag, scrubs, gloves, surgical cap, mask, shoe covers, squirt bottle cleaner
Items in bag: Name tag, clipboard (with calculator is fun but not necessary-obtained from 1 of my drug reps) and some type of calcium food
Items in bag: Name tag, saw (I use a hack-saw since it is what I have at home and it always gets a big laugh…although it is a nervous laugh!)
Items in bag: Name tag, hand squeeze (any type) to exercise with
Items in bag: Name tag, small medicine bottle of Tic-Tacs (remember to ink out the name on the container)
Pearls of Wisdom (Hard won and vital to your success)
- Use the teen with the biggest mouth as your patient. It keeps them from interrupting your presentation and they are the center of attention. Which is their goal in the first place!!?? I have also used the shyest child in the class. This worked out extremely well too.
- Have all the kids dress in their ‘costumes’ before you start. I have found by trial and error that this takes the most time, gets everyone excited about the program and gets the group in a giggly mood. Remember, you learn when you are enjoying yourself.
- Bring at least 1 PA student with you, if not 2. Every teen will put the shoe covers on backwards, the masks upside down and never figure out what to do with the surgical cap. The PA student will help the kids dress and make the presentation run smoother for you. It also has the effect of teaching the next generation of PAs how to present to a room of teenagers, allows the PA student to realize how much they do know and is an extra hand to carry all the equipment into school with you. I also put the student at the door to make sure all items have been returned after the presentation. Especially, the big money items (computer, stethoscope, etc).
- Pre-pack! This allows you the chance to double check if you are missing any items. And it takes the stress off when you need to get to the school and you are running late from your office.
- Use the wheelchair to carry all your equipment. All schools are handicapped-accessible so you can roll your presentation in (and out) the door!
- Bring large or extra-large scrubs. If the students happen to be small, large scrubs make everyone laugh. However, if a student is overweight, the large scrubs will fit. You never want to embarrass a teenager…it is hard enough to be 13 or 14 and overweight.
- Come early and bring picture ID. Schools have gotten very security minded and you will need to sign-in at an office with a photo ID, get escorted to the classroom and may even need to pass through a metal detector. Give yourself a minimum of 30 minutes for the presentation although 45 minutes is closer to realistic. Often the kids will get so wrapped up in the ‘play’ that they will add all kinds of dialogue which takes longer but adds to the learning!
- Give a camera to the teacher or another adult to document the presentation. When the kids take pictures for me, I often get very blurry photos and not always of the action. On the other hand, I only found out that my camera had a video mode by having a 13 y/o show me!
- Send the photos and a thank you note to the teacher after the presentation. The kids will love looking at themselves, the teacher will appreciate the note (they get so few considering all the effort and time they spend) and be sure to sign your name with PAC following it.
- Remember that this is a ‘fun’ presentation. The end of the day is the best time to do this, do not expect it to be quiet and orderly and realize that if the kids are all interrupting each other and talking, they are learning. You will need to walk around, helping to keep the ‘action’ somewhat in control and moving along where it needs to go! And remember to laugh!