Glen Rose Medical Center celebrated Rural Health Day in November with some very special guests. GRMC invited the 4- and 5-year-old preschoolers from First United Methodist Church of Glen Rose to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the hospital.

When the preschoolers arrived, they were escorted to the Human Resources Department to be processed as if they were employees. They received an official badge and kid-sized lab coat, purchased just for the occasion for the children by GRMC.

Once they were processed and ready to get started, the first stop was at Employee Health were they were informed of handwashing and the importance of not spreading germs. The children were then taken through the emergency room doors and given a bag of goodies to start their journey through the hospital.

They were taken into the triage room, met the Emergency Room doctor and nurses and shown an EKG machine. They were given a stethoscope and an EKG printout of a heartbeat, so they can practice their newly acquired ER skills.

The next stop was the lab, where they were able to watch a blood draw. Lab Director Michael Honea explained why they take blood samples, and showed how the blood looks once it’s separated and

then put in a machine to process. The children were shocked that you can use blood to tell you if you are sick.

The children were then taken to the Med/Surg Department where they met the nurses and were educated on what the nurses do for patients that have to stay in the hospital. The treat there was giant syringes with M&Ms.

The children were taken to the post-op area (there were not any patients at that time), given surgery caps and met the surgery nurses and GRMC’s general surgeon.

One of the final department stops was the Radiology Department. They were taken in the X-ray room and were able to take a ride on the table and learned that the machines can take really cool pictures of bones and other organs. All the children were given an X-ray film with a hand that had a broken pinky.

The final stop was at the reception desk where they met the voice of GRMC, Marie.

GRMC wanted to invite the children for two reasons. We wanted ease the fear of the hospital, if the kids need to visit the ER or have procedures like an X-ray or lab work, they have already been in those types of situations without being a patient. The other side is that we want to inspire young minds about professions in the medical field.

Editor's note: Lisa Anderson is the public relations and community education director at Glen Rose Medical Center.