Essentia Health OR cars make a difference for patient care

Hospitals can be a daunting place, especially for children.
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 3:37 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2023 at 9:55 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Hospitals can be a daunting place, especially for children.

It’s why Essentia Health in Fargo is adding something new to make the experience a little less scary, and a lot more fun, for both parents and their kids.

“As a parent you always have those anxieties, but you try to hide those as well as you can so they don’t feed off of that and think there’s something wrong,” Moorhead mom Nikki Jaster says.

Jaster’s seven-year-old son, Boden, had his tonsils taken out in December. She says she was just as, if not more, nervous than he was.

However, when she saw how Boden would get to the operating room, all of that went away.

“That was really helpful because by that point my heart was pounding pretty good,” Jaster says.

“Being hospitalized can cause a lot of anxiety and uncertainty for kids in the hospital, specifically with surgery, just not knowing what to expect,” Essentia Health Certified Child Life Specialist Michelle Finneman says.

As a child life specialist, Finneman works to reduce some of that fear.

She says the OR cars also help when it comes time to separate kids from their parents.

“It’s so important. The best people to learn from are our staff,” Essentia Health Foundation Executive Director Sue Omdalen says. “They watch people and see them and the experiences they have.”

“Just knowing they took the steps to go above and beyond made me feel so much better,” Jaster says.

The Essentia Health Foundation raised the $500 to get the cars and other things to help kids like Boden, who is recovering just fine.

The cars are used for patients between the ages of two and nine. Kids can drive them themselves, or staff can operate the cars with a remote control.