There are some things you never forget. Just ask Janine Fisk, a faculty member in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UW-Eau Claire).
“I will never forget the care Shriners Hospital provided my daughter Abigail and our family,” said Fisk, whose daughter was treated for burn injuries at the Northern California Shriners Hospital nearly 10 years ago. “Of course, the medical care was exceptional. But I will never forget how the staff worked together as a team.”
Since then, Fisk and her family relocated to Wisconsin. But what she learned from the experience prompted Fisk to reach out to Mason Myers, staff development manager at the Northern California Shriners Hospital. Together they designed an immersion program for students enrolled in UW-Eau Claire's School of Education. Ten students spent the week of June 5–9 at the Shriners Hospital in Sacramento, learning from those involved with and touched by the therapeutic recreation, child life and school programs.
“Our goal was to provide diverse experiences for the students through both hands-on and observational learning. Our therapeutic recreation and child life specialists, along with our school coordinator introduced the group to the importance of play, music therapy and school. Most of all, our team demonstrated what it is like to work with children in a hospital environment,” Myers said.
Several guest speakers, including Shriners Hospital employees, former patients and community partners, presented to the UW-Eau Claire students and faculty.
The students, like their faculty leader, will be forever touched by their experience at the Northern California Shriners Hospital.
“Shriners is really a magical place. The staff work as a team to bring some normalcy and joy during a very traumatic time in a family’s journey,” said Fisk. “I wanted my education students to understand the power of relationships. I want them to be prepared to have trauma sensitive classrooms – whether the trauma be injury, birth defects, homelessness or death in a family. The Shriners experience gave them a hands-on understanding of the importance a caring adult can make in the lives of families.”