DENVER (CBS4) – Staff from Rose Medical Center visited McKinley-Thatcher Elementary School on Monday to teach students CPR.
The nurses also used the opportunity to teach the children about their hearts by encouraging a healthier lifestyle and the power to help save another person’s life.
“You need to know what to eat and what not to eat. You need to make sure your diet is okay,” said Ngandu Shabani, a 5th grader. “You need to know how to do this so one day a person is in danger and you can be a lifesaver.”
February is American Heart Month and nurses say this is the appropriate age to introduce CPR and other important lessons about nutrition.
Students from the third to fifth grades learned about hands-only CPR, as “mouth-to-mouth” is no longer recommended for someone who has not been certified.
The lesson also encouraged children to help an adult with CPR or show that adult how to perform it before a medical professional can arrive on scene.
“Students are very engaged, seem very excited to learn,” said Suzanne Ehler, a nurse practitioner at Rose Medical Center. “These students are picking up the compressions pretty quickly, something is better than nothing.”
Nurses demonstrated how to place one hand over the other and use your dominant hand, the one you write with, to begin compressions for two minutes.
Students used dummies to practice the method in groups at the school.
Staff from Rose Medical Center worked with about 60 students for more than an hour. They also showed them how to listen to your heart with a stethoscope and what foods are best for their diet and what foods should be avoided or eaten in moderation.
“This is really meaningful for them,” said Kaela Evans, a third grade teacher at McKinley-Thatcher. “Today we were talking about doctors and nurses coming to our school and they were all like ‘I want to be a doctor, I want to be a nurse.'”
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Students quickly realized that CPR is a powerful tool to save a life, including a loved one.
“If it’s just me and my mom or something, and my mom needs CPR, I can do it on her and she won’t die,” said Clair Mackintosh, a third grader.
In the short term, students understood the skill they now have to help someone else. But the exposure to working professionals demonstrating what they do for their job each day shows them the ability to have a positive impact on someone else.
It also builds confidence to take action in a dangerous situation they may have been afraid of before.
“I may be like’Oh my goodness, this person is going to die,’ but then I could help that person and I could be a lifesaver,” said Shabani. “I would have the courage and the strength to do that.”