Local HOSA students head to international competition for community awareness project

Kylie Ruprecht and Marit Scott of Maple Grove Senior High’s chapter of HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) competed in HOSA’s international competition in June along with six other Maple Grove representatives.

Their Community Awareness project, which took first place at a regional HOSA competition and second place at State, is about raising awareness for and trying to solve the problem of children being afraid of the doctor. It might sound silly, but one in three people in America are afraid of the doctor.

The project, entitled “The Doctor Today Scares the Children Away,” so far has consisted of presentations in kindergarten classes at local elementary schools, partnering with local healthcare providers to provide fun activities for kids to do while they wait for appointments, and interviewing healthcare workers. Marit and Kylie hope that by taking steps to solve the issue, children will feel more comfortable when at doctor’s appointments and realize the importance of going to the doctor, allowing them to live healthier lives in their adulthoods, not to mention inspiring young kids to become healthcare workers themselves.

Some tips for parents of frightened children that they have gathered during this process include talking to children about what they are truly afraid of, explaining to them why the going to the doctor is so important, let them know that doctors are just normal people like everyone else, and even allow them to play with bandages, thermometers, and other small medical items so that they can see these things that they might usually associate with fear out of the typical doctor’s office setting.