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Atlantic General Hospital Visits Worcester County Schools

Atlantic General Hospital’s Visions for Total Health Program has taken its show on the road for the second year in a row, visiting kindergarten classes across Worcester County to teach students about the hospital. Until 2010, it had become a tradition for bus loads of five- and six-year-olds to walk the halls of Atlantic General, looking at x-ray equipment and visiting the hotel room-like Sleep Disorders Diagnostic Center to wave at the technician’s cameras, all the while learning about the importance of proper hand hygiene and basic physical safety.

The visits were designed to help small children understand that a hospital is a helping place – not something to be scared of – and pique that first interest in healthcare.

Due to a temporary change in Atlantic General’s visitation policy last year because of the threat of the H1N1 flu virus, coupled with state-wide budget cuts that have limited public school funding for special trips, the Visions for Total Health Program is starting a new tradition. Members of the AGH staff have been visiting the elementary schools in recent weeks, toting along surgical gloves and gowns, an x-ray light box, and test tubes, to teach the children about the hospital.

“Though the venue has changed the message is still reaching the children about the helping work that we do at the hospital,” said Dawn Denton, RN, manager of the Visions community education program at Atlantic General. “This is a great opportunity for us to reinforce the message of healthy lifestyles about eating right and exercise. We are always amazed at how knowledgeable the children are about their bodies, the safety message and healthy living.”