Missouri University's Outreach Brings Key Skills to Schools

Missouri University's Outreach Brings Key Skills to Schools

Faculty members and students from the Missouri Southern State University School of Health Sciences wanted to improve the health of their community. Partnerships with area schools have yielded unique opportunities to deliver messages of safety and public service.

This outreach has focused around events like school carnivals and PE classes, with more opportunities being researched and developed. Two recent events have let participants reach large numbers of people.

One was the annual carnival at Harry S Truman Elementary School in Webb City, where one faculty member and four students from the EMS department (all certified EMTs) showed hands-only CPR; explained the White House’s Stop the Bleed campaign; and reminded students when and how to call 9-1-1 for help. During this event the MSSU team spent four hours showing the video, demonstrating CPR and helping the children practice the skill. The learners’ ages ranged from 4 to 15, with an occasional parent thrown into the mix, and by the end of the night approximately 50 children had participated.

The second event was a bit more formal. The result of a collaboration between Sara Wright, a PE/health instructor at Carl Junction Junior High School, and Sherry Whiteman, respiratory care faculty at MSSU, it involved a group of multidisciplinary MSSU professionals assisting with the health education requirements for the school’s seventh- and eighth-grade students.

Wright initially reached out to Whiteman for help in providing Carl Junction students’ needed first aid education in a creative way. “Carl Junction JHS prides itself on its academics,” says Ty Jaquess, a PE/health instructor at the school, “and nothing beats having professionals with firsthand experience deliver this potentially life-or-death knowledge to our students.”

“We have been so excited to work with Carl Junction for the last two years to provide CPR and first aid training at the junior high,” says Whiteman. “We recognize the importance of educating the community to provide early interventions that might save lives. Our goal at Missouri Southern is to build lasting relationships with the community while providing quality learning opportunities. Preparations for next year have already begun.”

Students were broken into groups during their PE/health classes and rotated among stations to learn and practice such skills as hands-only CPR, AED use, helping choking victims, using an epinephrine auto-injector and controlling hemorrhage. Each group spent about 15 minutes with the various instructors, going over the necessary information and skills to provide a basic understanding of when and how to react to such situations.

Hands-only CPR and AED—During this station two instructors divided each group into a hands-only CPR section and an AED-use section. The CPR section used iPads to view the British Heart Foundation’s hands-only CPR video featuring actor/retired footballer Vinnie Jones and a variant for younger viewers done with Legos. Several manikins were in place for the students to practice compressions to the tune of “Stayin’ Alive.” The AED section used AED simulators and manikins to walk students through the process of applying the device and following its prompts. Combining these sections gave students the foundational information necessary to quickly respond to cardiac events in their school, home or community.

Choking victims—During this station students were shown how to do the Heimlich maneuver on victims of various ages. The below video, showing a high school student coming to the aid of a classmate, shows this skill is easy to perform yet can be lifesaving.

Epinephrine auto-injector—During this station students were shown the proper use of an auto-injector for anaphylactic emergencies. Using training devices, the students were able to practice proper placement. Faculty discussed allergic reactions and anaphylactic emergencies, what students should look for during these events, how to look for and recognize an EpiPen, what to expect once it’s used, and what additional steps to take to ensure the safety of all parties.

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Hemorrhage control and tourniquet use—Stop the Bleed is a White House initiative, administered through the Department of Homeland Security, to educate the public to act quickly to stop bleeding. During this station students were shown proper procedures for controlling emergencies ranging from simple bleeding to massive hemorrhage, and how to use packaged and even improvised items appropriately against it. They learned how to rapidly deploy a tourniquet, practicing on low-fidelity task trainers.

These types of events represent unique opportunities to teach students real skills that can be used safely but have the potential to save lives. They are becoming a more focused initiative from the MSSU School of Health Sciences. From demonstrations at public events to bringing simple skills to school health classes, those working in healthcare professions can impact the youth of a community. This year more than 450 students attended the sessions.

Edward H. “Ted” Lee, EdS, NRP, CCEMT-P, is an associate professor and program chair for Emergency Medical Services at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.

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