On Friday, April 2, 2004, junior and senior anatomy and physiology students from South Fayette high school visit the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and UPMC-Presbyterian for a field trip to learn about the profession of nurse anesthesia. This visit was the second one for the group from South Fayette, an Allegheny County township located just outside of Bridgeville. The students adhere to a tight schedule from about 8am to 2pm with experiences including OR observation, anesthesia simulation, and rotation through stations that include endotracheal intubation of mannequins and use of the automatic external defibrillator. The day conclude with a pizza lunch sponsored by the nurse anesthetists of UPMC-Presbyterian and a presentation on how to become a nurse anesthetist.
The event requiremany actors and actresses, many of which are students from the nationally recognized University of Pittsburgh Nurse Anesthesia Program. The nurse anesthesia students volunteer their time to instruct, demonstrate and assist the high school students through their rotations. Other volunteers include the Presby CRNA's who are willing to have the students shadow them in the OR for their observation experience. The visit is made possible by many members of the School of Nursing, but especially John O'Donnell, Program Director, who offers the facilities and manpower. Helen DeFranco, Chief Nurse Anesthetist at UPMC Presbyterian and Shadyside, facilitates the students' visits to the OR.
The inspiration for this visit organized by Aaron Ostrowski, a nurse anesthetist at UPMC-Presbyterian, is Kent Nichols, one of the anatomy and physiology teachers in the high school. Mr. Nichols was Aaron's ninth and tenth grade biology teacher and sparked Aaron's interest in human anatomy and physiology. Aaron attended South Fayette until 1989, earned a Diploma in Nursing from the Washington Hospital School of Nursing in 1992, a BSN from California University of Pennsylvania in 1996, and graduated from Pitt's anesthesia program in 2001. His professional background included critical care nursing at Washington Hospital until 2001, and he has been a CRNA at UPMC-Presby since. Motivated by gratitude to Mr. Nichols and an interest in wanting to share the path to a great career, Aaron has always wanted to give something back to his alma mater. It is his desire to make this an annual event.