Emily Buckley, editor in chief

Thanks to the Cache County Medical Alliance (CCMA) and Intermountain Logan Regional Hospital, 550 second grade students from eight schools in Cache Valley got a hands-on learning experience about what goes on inside the doors of a hospital.

In a program called “Our Friend the Hospital,” young students learned about the hospital’s emergency room, surgery, cardiology, laboratory services, pediatrics, ambulances and more, all in an effort to help children alleviate fears of visiting the hospital, explained Brenda Wilson, a member of the Cache County Medical Alliance.

The experience included a lesson about broken bones, x-rays and casts from orthopedic surgeon Erik Peterson, MD, who quickly demonstrated how to cast an eager student’s arm.

The students also got to try on surgical masks and hats as they learned about what to expect if they were to ever have surgery, they pretended to give a baby doll a shot after learning about what happens in the hospital laboratory, and listened to their heart beats after learning a bit about what cardiologists do. The experience concluded with a quick tour of an ambulance.

“Coming to the hospital can be scary or make kids anxious,” Brenda said. “Our goal was to make them more comfortable, so if they ever do have to visit, or have family members who visit, they will know that the hospital is a safe place to be and that doctors, nurses and other hospital workers are there to help them get better quickly.”

The program is new to Cache Valley this year, but was modeled after a program created in 1974 by Marian Budge and her husband Arthur Budge, MD, a radiologist at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, according to a statement from the CCMA.

“We hope to involve more schools and students in future years,” Brenda said. “We will possibly rotate between both hospitals in our community.”

The Cache County Medical Alliance, a group of the spouses of medical doctors, was formed 30 years ago. The mission of the group is to support the local medical family and promote healthy living in the community. As an organization, they also get involved in passing legislation to benefit the medical health of Cache Valley residents, according to Catherine King, CCMA president.

“There was literally no better way to kick off a unit about healthy bodies,” said Rebecca Williams, a second grade teacher at Thomas Edison Charter School.