Emergency Medicine Science Day

High school volunteers were given a day in late July to explore health care through skill stations, board games and tours in UNC Hospitals during “Emergency Medicine Science Day.”

Emergency Medicine Science Day click to enlarge Volunteers playing a strategic board game, which demonstrates how employees work together
Emergency Medicine Science Day click to enlarge Volunteers touring the inside of an ambulance

The Emergency Medicine Science Day is based on the ‘Science of the ER’ camp that was created for middle schoolers by a collaborative effort of UNC Hospitals' Emergency Department and the Morehead Planetarium. The program, designed for High school volunteers, is a good educational opportunity and exposes them to the more clinical side of the hospitals.

“It’s interesting to see the technical side,” Sam Schaefer, a volunteer who attends East Chapel Hill high school, said. “You don’t get an idea of what’s going on normally as a volunteer.”

Among many things, volunteers learned how breathing tubes work, how to practice starting IVs, and how radiology images are made and used, during sessions held in the ground floor conference room in the Women’s Hospital.

After lunch, volunteers played a board game that was created to demonstrate the business side of health care. The game showed them the strategy behind employees working together to efficiently get patients in and out of the hospitals.

The volunteers also toured the Carolina Air Care unit and Emergency Department, two areas they never would have seen otherwise. They were able to walk on the helipad on top of the Neurosciences hospital and go inside of an ambulance.

“A lot of them are interested in careers in health care but are most familiar with physicians and registered nurses,” Jeff Strickler, Director of Emergency Services, said.

The Emergency Medicine Science Day gives the volunteers the chance to see behind the scenes of the hospitals and learn more about what goes into healthcare besides being a physician.

“We spoke to them about respiratory therapists, x-ray technicians, engineers and computer programmers,” Strickler said. “Basically, I wanted to get across to them that no matter what their interests and talents are, there is a place for them in health care.”

The program was held in four sessions over four different days in late July with around 25 students in each group.

Over the summer there are around 100 high school volunteers who come from all over the triangle area. Most of the High School volunteers assist one day a week from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

This is the first year volunteer services has done the Emergency Medicine Science Day for the High school volunteers. Overall, the day was a success and now volunteer services will evaluate the program before deciding if they will do it again.