By Jeffery Neufeld
The WHEE Wagon Program, a Western Carolina University School of Nursing outreach project helping medically fragile children, is partnering with participants in a WCU study-abroad course to provide an IV pole-equipped wagon to children in the United Kingdom.
The specially equipped wagons, given out free of charge by the program, allow a hospitalized child to receive IV medications or fluids, or to be connected to other medical equipment, while also enjoying the everyday world of being a child.
The wagon heading overseas will be donated to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, Scotland, this month. The wagon will be making the trip with retired WCU adjunct nursing professor Bonnie Garner and a group of nursing students heading overseas during WCU’s spring break, March 21-25. The course is designed to allow nursing students to study how nursing leadership can have a positive global impact.
Susan Hester, a WCU assistant professor of nursing who brought the WHEE wagon idea to WCU, said the wagons provide “non-pharmacological distraction” for children receiving infusion therapy.
Hester said the Scotland donation is an important milestone for the program. “This will be the 11th wagon we have donated, and we are very excited to be able to make this donation during the 10th anniversary of the WCU School of Nursing’s study-abroad partnership with Napier University in Edinburgh.”
The School of Nursing donated the $225 cost of the wagon, and the WCU Association of Nursing Students, a nonprofit club in the College of Health and Human Sciences, donated the shipping fee of $250.
To learn more about the WHEE Wagon Program or for information on how to donate a wagon to a child in need, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Information also is available from Hester at 828-226-4405.