The Castleton State College Nursing department took learning out of the classroom and off campus for a trip to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield, Mass. The group of 57 CSC nursing students and five instructors made the day-long trip October 8 to see first hand what the hospital does for its young patients. The trip was a part of Castleton’s nursing program curriculum that requires all students to participate in a professional day. The department plans one day each semester to expose senior nursing students first hand to an aspect of nursing the students would not be able to experience in the classroom. Past professional days have included trips to the Breast Care Conference and to the Vermont State Board of Nursing meeting. The department has also visited the Shriners Hospital once before but on that trip, visited the hospital’s burn unit.
This semester’s trip was focused on the hospital’s orthopedic unit where children are admitted for such ailments as spina bifida, cleft lip, cleft palate, scoliosis, cerebral palsy, neuro-muscular disorders, spinal cord injuries, clubfoot, hip disorders, hand disorders, and limb deficiency among other things.
CSC students spent the day touring the hospital and learning about it’s mission. The hospital has 22 locations around the United States, provides international care, and has a hospital in both Canada and Mexico. The organization accepts children up to the age of 18 for various reasons, free of cost to the family.
“It was very inspiring,” said Maryann McDonough, the nursing department’s coordinator of service learning.
According to the nursing students that went on the trip, the hospital is extremely child and family oriented. Along with play rooms for the young patients, all the rooms are themed for the enjoyment of the children. Even prosthetics are geared toward the children who are in need. Different designs are offered from various colors to cartoon characters to popular children’s television shows.
“It seemed like the hospital ran for the kids,” said CSC nursing professor Janice Jacobs. “Not the other way around.
Not only do the Shriners provide patients with an opportunity to utilize the hospital but the organization also provided the Castleton students with their experience. Shriners Derek Corbett and Bill Seward took the nursing students on a bus from Castleton to Springfield that was provided by the Shriners. The students were shown two movies to explain what the hospital and what the Shriners organization does.
“A lot of them were quite amazed at how long the Shriners have been able to provide high tech, high quality care for free,” said Jacobs about the students.
Castleton students were given a tour and provided with lunch in the hospital’s cafeteria all provided by the Shriners and free of cost to the college.
The appeal of the generous hospital rubbed off on the Castleton students.
“Everyone wants to work there!” said McDonough.
One lucky Castleton student is going to get the chance. Lauren Bierman has been accepted as an intern at the hospital over the holiday break this winter.
Bierman will be the first CSC student to work for the Shriners Hospital.
The nursing department will provide another professional day at the end of the spring semester. This time, the department will be taking its annual trip to the Vermont State Board of Nursing meeting that is held in Montpelier. The meeting is open to the public and highlights the positives and negatives in Vermont nursing in the past year. This includes such topics as nursing licensure, documentation issues, diversion of drugs, alcohol related issues, or patient care issues.
“This allows students to see what can happen once they get out in the field,” said McDonough.