The scene was a mock incident, but the need continues to be real.
That’s why UnityPoint Health teamed with the local fire department and UnityPoint Health – Lifeflight helicopter team to introduce Marshalltown High School students to the world of healthcare careers Thursday.
In the mock incident, several students pretended to be trauma victims, and a variety of healthcare workers, as well as the helicopter, descended upon the high school football field to show students in the stands what care can look like.
Afterward, students approached the healthcare workers to ask questions about the drill and their careers.
For Jeff Gilchrist, RN, and the head of the trauma program at UnityPoint Health – Marshalltown, it’s a win-win opportunity. He hopes the students learned more about a fulfilling career, while perhaps recruiting the next generation of healthcare workers.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about when they were putting a man on the moon,” said Gilchrist, who emceed the mock incident through the stadium’s PA system. “They interviewed a janitor at NASA and asked him, ‘What’s your job?’ And the janitor said, ‘I’m putting a man on the moon.’
“The point being it takes people with all kinds of abilities and specialties to do something amazing. In our case, it’s trying to provide amazing care, and everybody fits that piece. It’s not one person, ever. It’s a team of people coming together.”
During the incident, crews responded to various trauma cases. For instance, one student was trapped under metal steps. Another was unconscious. The healthcare workers assessed each individual and took one to the Lifeflight helicopter and put several others on gurneys and wheeled them to nearby ambulances.
“I thought it was really important for student in my classes, the ones who say they’re interested in health care, to see all the difference careers working together,” said Erica Malloy, a biomedical teacher at the high school. “I think it’s important to see how they can use a career to give back to the community.”
“There’s a shortage (of healthcare workers) in all different levels everywhere,” he said. “Yes, it is a stressful job, but it’s one with a lot of fulfillment and tremendous giving of humanity, giving of yourself. I can’t think of a better calling than to get into health care and serve your fellow humans, to make them feel better. There’s a tremendous need for that.”