Medical Student Childcare Helpers is an initiative created by three medical students at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB). The program aims to utilize the workforce of medical students (M1-M4) who were dismissed from clinical duties and from physical classrooms to provide childcare to healthcare providers at Beaumont Health, including, but not limited to, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, and nurses. Beaumont Health is Michigan’s largest healthcare system, providing care to individuals throughout Southeast Michigan via eight hospital locations and 145 outpatient facilities. The need was significant as
- COVID-19 spread rapidly in Michigan, ranking the state fourth in cumulative number of cases by jurisdiction reported as of April 7, 2020, trailing only New York City, New York, and New Jersey and
- Providers faced greater demands on the frontlines to help mitigate the pandemic and to care for patients infected with COVID-19. All the while, daycares were closing and babysitters were stepping away from their duties due to fear of infection, given that their employers had the potential to care for patients with COVID-19.
These trends created a gap that inspired the creation of Medical Student Childcare Helpers. By utilizing the time of efforts of their peers in the area, founding medical students felt that the gap in childcare for healthcare providers could be bridged. Although students are not able to help on the frontlines directly at this time, the idea of Medical Student Childcare Helpers provides an avenue for them to contribute in a meaningful way. Oakland University’s partnership with Beaumont Health via its medical school provided an avenue to create this project. By collaborating with medical school administration at OUWB and physicians and hospital administration at Beaumont Health, the founding students brought Medical Student Childcare Helpers to life.
OUWB’s Center for Community engagement provides background checks for student volunteers who sign up via a Google form. Once approved, students fill out a document that is visible to providers who may then contact a student they feel meets their childcare needs. Twenty-nine students began this process within the first day of the initiative’s commencement and sixty students were registered within the next week. Physicians were contacted through Beaumont Health Department Chairs and OUWB clinical faculty members via email and word of mouth. Bearing in mind social distancing efforts and the intimacy of providing childcare in someone else’s home, physicians and students are encouraged to engage in open discussions regarding potential for spread of COVID-19 and to assume individual risk. Students are also encouraged to maintain appropriate hygiene by sanitizing themselves and their belongings after a day of childcare, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.
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