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St. Anthonys 1st graders tour Doctors
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Doctors Hospital ultrasound technician Kris Geslar shows St. Anthonys School first graders an actual look into the abdomen and seeing a kidney on the screen of fellow student Ryan Nansel. At right is Bilen Yosef. - photo by Photos courtesy Chris Leonard

A final field trip of the year took 30 first graders from St. Anthony’s School on a two-hour fexursion to Doctors Hospital Manteca recently where they learned first-hand the inner workings of the medical facility.

While meeting in the Conference Room, they were given a tour of the hospital through the eyes of the medical staff from the many departments from cardio-pulmonary to surgery and the emergency room.

The first graders had been studying the human body and health in class with instructors hoping a day at the hospital would expand their understanding of the subjects.

Male nurse Chris Ake told the children, “Yes, even guys like nursing.”  He even brought a Dynamap to take their blood pressure and see how much oxygen was circulating in their blood.  He had a great explanation for what all that meant at their six and seven year old levels.  One child asked Ake about diabetes and he responded with a simple to understand explanation.

Phlebotomist Cindy Crawford, representing the hospital lab, brought different tubes that are used for collecting blood.  “It may hurt a little bit,” she told them, adding that it would be quick and help the doctors to treat them better. 

Steve Atwood from the Cardiopulmonary Department warned the children of the dangers of smoking and brought his Vibra-vest that shakes secretions that are sticky and hard to cough up after the lungs are damaged.

The student who put on the vest “got all shook up” with endless laughter.

Ultra Sound tech Kris Gesler brought her Ultrasound machine into the Conference Center and demonstrated what a kidney looks like from inside the body using one of the students as a volunteer with his parents’ permission.

Following a break mid-session for the students were asked to put on a special lotion on their hands before they washed them.  When they returned to the Conference Center their hands were placed under a special light to see how clean their hands actually got in the soap and water process.

Hospital staffers said the students and their parents were surprised at what they saw, agreeing that it is important to wash the hands more thoroughly.

Surgical nurse Diane Haupt from Surgical Services brought them masks, hats and gloves that are used in surgery and showed them how to put them on.  The children were assured they would be well taken care of during any surgery and didn’t need more details.

Physical Therapist Eric Rudel demonstrated a child-sized walker and other equipment from his departments that were passed around for closer inspection by the first graders.

Clinical Educator RN Suzie Blair ended the session with information on nutrition and explained how bad eating habits actually cause most of the chronic diseases that people suffer in their lives. 

Children were able to identify certain foods and to see how some of them were good for organs in the body they actually look like.  They also got to help the nurse choose which food groups various foods were in and which ones were put in the “stop” category.

Hospital staffers said it was a great experience for them and for the children and the many attending parents as well.

“We had a lot of fun,” Blair said. “I hope we had an impact on the long term health of the students and their families – that’s what DHM is here for.”