YouthWorks Interns Save (Simulated) Lives!

Youth interns greatly enjoyed a diversity of career exposure activities this summer. One activity was particularly exciting, as intern Tammy Ha explains:

The Health Career Exploration workshop held at UCSF Medical Center was one that I really enjoyed — and not because of the candy being passed around. In the beginning, it seemed like an average workshop. We were given a broad overview about UCSF and several different career tracks that could lead to positions at the hospital. I learned about child life specialists, who are professionals trained to help children and their families understand and cope with a child’s illness. Then Dr. Tim Kelly, UCSF’s Professor of Pediatrics, passed around the tiny equipment used for babies. I was fascinated by the minuscule version of blood pressure cuffs because the pediatric one looked like it could only fit around an adult thumb.

But besides the cute baby medical equipment, what made this workshop unique was the hands-on “crash course” in CPR. We had the opportunity to practice by using a BVM (bag valve mask) and mannequins, which made a clicking noise when CPR was done correctly. Using straight arms and my body weight to push the area over the dummy’s heart, I learned that CPR is not as easy as it looks and can get tiring after many repetitions.

The next part, my favorite, was a simulation of an emergency room situation. Working as a team, we used what we learned earlier to perform CPR, use a BVM, and keep the patient asleep by injecting anesthesia. The technician even tried to shock the mannequin back using pads attached to a defibrillator. The whole situation felt very real, especially since the dummy was so life-like. Dr. Kelly said it even sweats! Everyone was tense and worked harder whenever it seemed that we were losing our “patient”. But in the end, he started blinking, coughing, and breathing and we were relieved to have saved a life (or a close enough simulation of it).

Blog written by YW Intern Tammy Ha