Brescia University partners with Owensboro Health Hospital to help ease anxiety for children

Brescia University partners with Owensboro Health Hospital to help ease anxiety for children
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 7:17 AM CDT
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Right now in Owensboro, Owensboro Health Regional Hospital leaders want to help make their pediatric patients feel more comfortable.

They’re doing this by partnering with Brescia University on a workforce development program.

Our 14 News Reporter, Haley Kerby, spoke with members of both organizations about why this is important.

Rhonda Bergstrom, Director of Nurses and Emergency Services, says that hospitals can cause anxiety, especially for children.

“When you’re looking at a pediatric patient coming into a general emergency department, it’s big, it’s scary, people are saying things that you don’t understand when you’re a child,” said Bergstrom.

That’s why Owensboro Health Regional Hospital decided they wanted to give their nurses the tools to help them make sure children and their parents are comfortable if they have to pay the emergency room a visit.

Bergstrom said, “This is a need across the nation because the majority of children are actually seen in general emergency departments as opposed to pediatric hospitals.”

Brescia University’s workforce development and psychology departments designed this 10-week program through conversations with Owensboro Health starting back in March to figure out exactly what they needed to help further the success of the hospital.

Dr. Anna Kuthy, Ursuline Center for Teaching and Learning Director at Brescia University, was the one who spearheaded this program that will train health care workers on handling any situation that may come their way, from a psychological standpoint.

Dr. Kuthy said “They already have that knowledge its the idea of making that knowledge and the skills they already have not intuitive but intentional.”

She says the program focuses primarily on effective ways of communicating with younger people.

“It’s not about telling this kid be quiet, it’s effectively leveling with that kid and creating an environment where both the kid and the grownups with the kid are more comfortable, less fearful and less scared of the situation,” said Dr. Kuthy.

The program uses preparation, play and critical thinking so that when a situation does occur, no child is left with anxiety.

Dr. Kuthy said “Were teaching them how to assess a situation with a kid okay what is the age of the kid, what is the situation developing here is the kid scared, if the kid is scared or nervous how do we minimize that fear.”

Healthcare workers at Owensboro Health will attend sessions for three hours each week to learn skills and mechanisms and this week marks the second week of the program.

Once all ten weeks are completed, the goal is that the healthcare workers will be able to successfully reduce the stress and anxiety for children and families, especially in the emergency room.