Hospital School Program helps young patients maintain normal routines

School is the work of children, and at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, we work hard to maintain that truth as children heal and recover. We believe that children have better long-term educational outcomes if they are able to maintain normal routines during their hospitalization.

For the school-age child or teen, a key way to achieve this is by participating in the Hospital School Program. During their stay, children will be introduced to the program by Multnomah Education Service District staff. We provide students with a reassuring bridge between their home, school and the hospital, which helps combat feelings of isolation.

You can find students engaged in learning in one of two MESD classrooms in OHSU Doernbecher’s Acute Care and Hematology/Oncology units, or working from their hospital beds. Our staff create a personalized education program that encourages each student to continue to grow. We collaborate with the student’s home school to ensure that we provide the most relevant academic instruction possible.

Each child’s educational needs are considered within the context of what makes sense for them medically. Our program is enriched by special partnerships with OMSI, OSU Master Gardeners and MusicRx, who regularly attend our classrooms providing high-interest and exciting learning opportunities.

In the classroom, students are able to connect with other students, developing a new learning community based on shared experience. The classroom is a great place for young people to continue to develop socially while maintaining their academic skills! By connecting children with peers, teaching staff and a meaningful curriculum, the Hospital School Program can give students a sense of purpose, belonging and normalcy.

As their hospital stay comes to an end, their hospital educator will work with the local school to make sure their “work” continues as seamlessly as possible as they head back to school.

Debbie Mettler, Heidi Worden and Linda Criswell
Hospital Teachers, Pediatric Acute Care Unit
Anna Balmaseda and Margaret Eng
Hospital Teachers, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Unit
Kerri Russell
Hospital Teacher, Pediatric Intermediate Care Unit
Lisa O’Toole
Educational Assistant, Pediatric Acute Care Unit
Chuck Erkenbeck
Educational Assistant, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Unit