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Anesthesia Simulation Ranks High for Girls Go STEM!

Anesthesia simulation at Girls Go STEM!
Making "make-believe" wounds
Removing the stingers
Bandaging the head wound
Adjusting the patient's responses
Starting an IV
Checking the patient's vitals
Administering epinephrine

For the second year, the Department of Anesthesia participated in University of Iowa Health Care’s Girls Go STEM! program, and once again participants gave the session rave reviews.

Stephanie White, operations manager for the Department’s Patient Simulation Center, and CA-2 Sarah Helwege, DO, created a scenario in which a young boy was climbing a tree, disturbed a bee’s nest, and fell out of the tree. He was brought to the hospital suffering from multiple bee stings and a head injury.

“We’re going to do what our doctors do when they participate in simulations. We’re going to work as a team, and we’re going to save our patient,” White told the girls at the beginning of each session.

The participants were randomly assigned roles and given specific tasks for the simulation. EMTs bandaged the boy’s head wound and removed stingers from the bee sting sites; doctors monitored the patient’s vital signs and ordered medications and other interventions; nurses carried out the doctors’ orders; and simulation operators manipulated the patient’s responses.

White, Helwege, and Meg Schneider, communications coordinator for the Department of Anesthesia, helped the girls carry out their tasks.

More than 90 percent of the girls who filled out evaluations rated the session “good” or “awesome.” “It was amazing,” one girl wrote. “I learned a lot, and even more than I know.”

Helwege and White had a great time designing and delivering the simulation, too.

“I wanted to participate because I am a big proponent of getting kids, and especially younger girls, interested in and excited about the world of science,” Helwege says. “I love to learn, as well as help educate others, about all of the amazing things the human body can do, and it was a great time sharing what I know with these enthusiastic girls.”

White, who initiated the Department’s involvement in Girls Go STEM! in 2018, said she enjoys piquing the girls’ interest.

“Kids are genuinely curious, and it is so much fun to encourage that curiosity with hands-on scenarios,” White says. “I love the excitement in their faces, the joy when they achieve their goal, and the enthusiastic chattering as they discuss the day’s events.”

Nearly 150 girls in 6th-8th grade and their parents attended the Dec. 7 program, and about a third of them chose to participate in the Department of Anesthesia session. In all, there were 16 interactive STEM sessions, ranging from Anesthesia’s offering to a mock OR and sessions from orthopedics, neuroscience, and several other departments. All of the breakout sessions were hosted by University of Iowa's medical and professional students, faculty, and staff.

Girls Go STEM! inspires girls in grades 6-8 to consider a future in STEM, explore health care careers, and learn how they can grow into healthy adults.

Friday, December 20, 2019