Pandemic provides teaching opportunity
Lynn Cerasoli’s job as a registered nurse in the emergency department at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center is much like a global pandemic.
Both are unpredictable. Both can experience change at a moment’s notice. Both keep you on your toes.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic caused changes to school for her daughter, Izzy, the veteran nurse of 30 years and a group of parents decided they could contribute to their children’s education, too. They became PATT, or Parents Are Teachers, Too.
“It had never crossed my mind that I would ever be in a situation where I would be homeschooling my child,” said Cerasoli, “let alone teaching her and other children life-saving skills.”
Cerasoli is part of a team of nurses with YVMC’s trauma program who provide community outreach and education. They teach CPR, First Aid and, as she did for her daughter’s cohort of fourth and seventh graders, Stop the Bleed.
“Stop the Bleed gives bystanders the knowledge to potentially save a life,” she said. “As an ER nurse, I know that controlling any bleeding in the field is critical and can be lifesaving. The majority of Steamboat’s population, including our kids, are very sports- and outdoor-oriented and will likely experience or witness a bleeding injury at some point. Having the knowledge to step in and help can make a difference.”
During the session, Cerasoli shared information about blood, how much is in the human body, what potential injuries can look like, and proper technique to apply firm, consistent pressure.
“When we used to send our kids off to school, we left it up to the experts – the teachers – to mold and teach our kids,” she said. “Now that I have the opportunity to teach what I know, I love to see these young minds get excited about what excites me, too.”
Cerasoli said this particular session of Stop the Bleed was meaningful, as their uneasy reactions to the squirting “blood” was similar to her own feelings of trepidation when she cared for critical patients as a new nurse.
“I was so afraid of patients, especially those who were really sick or near death,” she recalled. “For every year of experience and knowledge I obtained, I began to gain confidence and skills to overcome those challenges and fears. In this department, we have to quickly recognize, intervene and treat people who are scared – they trust us to help and offer comfort.”
She credits the great preceptors, teachers and clinical instructors she’s engaged with over the years, as well as the people she works with every day, for keeping her in emergency medicine.
“It’s been so fun through PATT for us as parents to share our life’s passions with our children,” said Cerasoli. “I love taking health care out of the hospital and delivering it in a different way. Regardless of the ‘teacher’ – my husband is a firefighter, other parents in the group are entrepreneurs, artists, outdoor enthusiasts – the kids are inquisitive, share ideas and interact with great questions. It’s a win-win situation.”