Teens Go Behind the Scenes in Health Care

Terrie Priest
Columbus Regional Healthcare System
Open Minds Teen Science Café


Thank you to the Columbus Regional Healthcare System’s (CRHS) staff who took the Open Minds Teen Science Cafe (OMTSC) group from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences at Whiteville under their wings on Friday, January 16, 2015, and gave them an eye-opening and ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Emergency and Surgery Departments at their Health Care facility.

Tour guide, Terrie Priest, Vice President of Business Development and Health Care Community Relations arranged for the special tour so the teens would be able to see first-hand not just the facility, but the staff it takes to make a hospital run. The teens just scratched the surface of CRHS, but came away realizing it takes teams of dedicated people in each department to make the facility successful.

Sherry Shepard, MSN, RN, Director of CRHS Emergency Services, who spoke at the OMTSC’s November 2014 Cafe about the Emergency Department (ED) at CRHS, walked the group through the ED showing them some of the department workings she had spoken of in her presentation. One teen participant commented: ‘…my favorite part was…being able to witness the intricate procedural steps that took place in order to ensure the patient’s well-being’.

The issue of keeping certain environments and tools sterile was brought up, so the group then moved to the autoclave room where instruments used during evaluations, procedures and surgeries, to name a few instances, are taken through the sterilization process using the autoclave machine. The two technicians on duty, Ashley and Erica, showed the teens the machine and explained the steps they took to sterilize the needed instrumentation.


Hands on Activity

Dr.  James DiMuzio, local ENT surgeon at CRHS, took over as guide as the group approached the Surgical Department. Since there were no surgeries being performed at that time, the operating room nurses on staff, Caroline and Madonna, provided the teens with ‘bunny suits’ which had to be worn in order to enter the surgical suite. The ‘bunny suit’ keeps foreign bodies that are on the clothing of those who must be in the room from entering the air of the surgical environment. The group was then taken through the surgical suite that houses the DaVinci robotic surgical system and given a glimpse of the machine that assists with certain surgeries as it is guided by the surgeon. This was the favorite part of several of the teens. Gloria, a nurse anesthetist, then explained how she regulates a patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, gasses and anesthesia during surgery. She also demonstrated how the respirator breathes for the patient while anesthetized during surgery.

The OMTSC group was certainly treated like royalty during their visit to CRHS. This shows the pride the staff has for what they do. Thank you ladies, and Dr. D, for taking the time out of your schedules to share a piece of what you all do, answer our questions, and help us understand a little better what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ at Columbus Regional Healthcare System