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April 18, 2013

Mock Crash Piques Interest of Med Club Students

Senior Zach Miller is placed in handcuffs by Sergeant Michael Kauth of the MSHP as part of the mock traffic accident held at Scotland County R-I High School.

The recent Mock Crash orchestrated at Scotland County R-I High School by Scotland County Hospital and a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health that established a Med Club with students in the Schuyler, Scotland, Knox & Clark County School Districts has created quite a buzz. Local residents as well as residents in other counties have inquired about the concept of the Med Club and of the Mock Crash exercise.

The Med Club concept was formed by a lone SCR-I student nearly 2 years ago. Abigail Quillen, age 14 at the time, approached her grandmother, Scotland County Hospital CEO, Marcia Dial, with the idea for a Med Club in the school. The idea was to form a school club that focused on junior high & high school students pursuing future healthcare careers, through monthly meetings with healthcare professionals as guest speakers, healthcare profession mentors, field trips, a club website with healthcare career information, and healthcare career fairs. All of this and more, with a goal of providing students information to prepare for and make a decision to pursue a career in healthcare.

Responding to this idea, Dial and the superintendents of all four county school districts met and agreed that this was an overwhelming opportunity to build the healthcare workforce for tomorrow by investing today. Dial prepared a grant application to fund a multi- county school district Med Club and submitted the idea to the Missouri Foundation for Health.

The project was funded, in part, by the Foundation and in the Spring of 2012 the Med Clubs in all four school districts were formed, faculty sponsors from each school district were identified and students signed up for the club. A year later, nearly 300 junior high and high school students are members of the Med Clubs in the four school districts. The faculty sponsors in each school district put in many extra hours to support this club and its members. Sponsors in the four counties are: Schuyler - Pam Jones and Kathy Thompson; Scotland - Terri Slaughter and Sean Reynolds; Knox - Susan Buckallew, Kelley Carlson, Kathy Palmer and Amy McNabb; and Clark - Ben Taylor, Betsey Brass and Bonnie Ekle.

The Med Club Grant Coordinator at Scotland County Hospital is Kristin Hyde. She plans and coordinates all of the monthly meetings, field trips, career fairs and activities for the Med Clubs in the four school districts, which is not a small undertaking. The most recent Med Club sponsored activity, the Mock Crash, she says took on a life of its own. "I meet with the Med Club sponsors at the beginning of each school year to decide on things to do each month and we came up with the idea of a mock accident scene," said Hyde. "I contacted Jason Moss (SC Ambulance Supervisor) right away, and Jason was on it."

Hyde worked closely with Moss and the Med Club sponsors on the project. She disseminated information to each school's sponsors regarding what to expect as well as coordinated follow-up printed materials, with Moss, for students to explore the different levels of service in the healthcare field of emergency medical services and much more. Moss left no stone unturned when coordinating the logistics of the actual crash with emergency personnel & law enforcement. The Mock Crash offered students the opportunity to observe the on-scene work of medical professionals from a First Responder to a Paramedic to the presentation in the gym from an ER physician.

The Mock Crash was open to all high school students at SCR-I and Med Club members in the Schuyler, Clark & Knox County School Districts. Hyde reports that approximately 205 Med Club students from the four school districts, as well as all SCR-I High School & Junior High students witnessed the Mock Crash. Students and faculty at SCR-1 are still talking about the highly realistic crash scene.

"This was a great experience for our students and faculty." said Ryan Bergeson, SCR-1 High School Principal. "We could all benefit from this experience and hopefully make better choices behind the wheel."

That was a fact not lost on SCR-I students, the vast majority of which have never seen anything like the accident scene built for them for the drill.

"It made me stop and realize how bad it would really be if that was one of my family members or one of my friends that was hurt in the crash," said SCR-I freshman Paige Hyde.

The mock crash involved a pair of SCR-I seniors, Zach Miller and Anna Hirner. The later noted that while her participation in the event was theatrical, it still impacted many of her friends.

"It really upset a lot of the people I'm close to," Hirner said. "Even though they knew I wasn't really hurt, it was still upsetting for my friends to think about me in that car."

Watching Miller put through the paces of a sobriety test and then handcuffed and placed in a police car made many students think about the ramifications of their choices.

Freshman Samantha Talbert said she was most moved by watching SCR-I instructor Elizabeth Carper placed in a body bag and then loaded into a hearse.

"It definitely made me stop and think about how horrible it would be if I had been the one who caused the crash that took someone else's life," Talbert said.

In addition to focusing on positive life choices for student motorists, the drama also allowed the students to get first hand understanding of how emergency services personnel function.

"For obvious reasons, the Med Club project is near and dear to my heart," stated Marcia Dial, CEO, Scotland County Hospital. "The Mock Crash along with each and every other activity that is planned for the members of the Med Clubs offers the students the opportunity to witness the many diverse facets of a career in healthcare and for that reason, I am so pleased that Scotland County Hospital puts so much time and so many resources into this grant project. It is clearly an investment in this community's future."

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