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Pre-school Collaborative teaches Health Literacy to Youngest in Community

May 23, 2017

Angela Igo, Megan Livengood and Ashley Pittman show preschoolers how important it is to wash their hands.

     When organizations collaborate, the community wins.  This is a perfect description of what is happening after Fitzgibbon Hospital established an educational partnership with some of the community’s youngest students enrolled at the Missouri Valley College Viking Learning Academy.  The not-for-profit, 501(c)3 community hospital’s mission is to improve the health of the community, and they are doing so by teaching healthy habits and making youngsters more comfortable in the hospital setting.

     “We routinely see children in our Emergency Department, and it can be an uncertain and somewhat frightening time for them. This partnership with the MVC Viking Learning Academy allows us to bring these children to the hospital for tours and also provide opportunities to learn healthy habits from our staff who, in turn, visit their school,” said Angela Igo, R.N., Chief Nursing Officer at Fitzgibbon Hospital.

     The preschoolers visited the hospital on May 9 for a brief tour and to sing songs to say “thanks” to the staff as part of National Hospital and National Nurses week, which was observed by Fitzgibbon during the week of May 8.  On Friday, May 12, members of the Fitzgibbon Hospital nursing staff went to MVC Viking Learning Academy to provide a demonstration on the importance of hand washing to fight the spread of germs and illness.  These are healthy habits that can be instilled in youngsters for better health throughout their lives. The demonstration included a black light that illuminated small specks of germs. Kids got to see first-hand how prevalent germs are and how important it is to practice thorough hand hygiene.

     “This is always a neat experiment for the kids,” said Igo. “We love to see their reactions when the germs disappear after washing their hands. This activity is designed to show the importance of proper, and thorough, hand-washing.”

     Each student also received a small coloring book entitled, “Germs: Wash your Hands – Wipe ‘Em Out!.”  The coloring book also teaches the importance of hand washing depicting germs as funny-faced monsters.

     The collaboration between the two organizations goes beyond just health education.  It also allows preschool children an opportunity to connect with people in need. Another activity the pre-schoolers plan to participate in is making greeting cards of well wishes to cancer patients receiving care at the Fitzgibbon Community Cancer Center and to residents of The Living Center, the long-term care facility operated by Fitzgibbon Hospital.  The cards will provide the children with a creative outlet to express and develop their artistic talents while developing a sense of caring and compassion for others.