In December 2022, the Ward Caring School for the patients of Pediatric Hematology in Union Hospital has celebrated its 20th anniversary. As China’s first ward caring school, its volunteer team has grown over the past 20 years from only a few medical staff to more than 18,000 volunteers, bringing knowledge and happiness to over 40,000 children patients.
01 First in China to open a ward caring school
The Pediatric Hematology Ward of the Pediatrics Dept. of Union Hospital is the largest medical institution for pediatric hematology in Central and Southern China, which integrates the functions of clinical practice and scientific research. The hospital admits as many as 1,000 children with blood diseases annually, whose treatment generally takes 1.5 to 3 years. During the treatment, they would stay in the ward. Blood diseases deprive the children of their colorful childhood.
“Living in a ward day in and day out makes the patients depressed.” In 2002, Prof. JIN Runming of the Pediatrics Department of Union Hospital, proposed the idea of establishing a ward caring school.
Therefore, Union Hospital set aside a large room in the then Internal Medicine Building as the Ward Caring School. A team of volunteers, which included several medical staff from the Pediatrics Dept. and volunteers from other sectors of the society, started the volunteer service project for children with blood diseases.
The opening ceremony of Ward Caring School in 2002
02 18,000 teachers pass on love over the 20 years
PENG Peibin is one of the first volunteers when the School was established. As a math teacher, he and around 10 other volunteers took turns to teach the children every day. Later, he quit his job and became the headmaster of the School. Until today, PENG Peibin has been volunteering for this project for 20 years.
Over the past 20 years, the volunteer team of Ward Caring School has grown from a few medical staff to more than 18,000 volunteers from 26 universities in Wuhan, 3 institutions and all social sectors, including psychologists, teachers, artists, retirees, and foreigners. The seeds of love from volunteers has been sprouting here, with more than 40,000 children served so far. Over the years, the classroom of the School has moved four times, with the facilities being constantly improved.
03 “Triangle” Operation under Management
At present, the Ward Caring School has formed a “triangle” operation mode involving medical staff, medical social workers and volunteers. The school schedules the work for volunteers every month and supervises the daily classes. Volunteers deliver systematic and specialized courses according to the needs of the children. In view of the large volunteer team and extensive curriculum system, the school makes use of the Internet platform to conduct volunteer registration, volunteer review, course schedule and attendance management. The platform is also used for online reservation of curriculum design, volunteer work, assistance funds and cultural activities with a fine and digitalized management.
The “Ward Caring School Volunteer Service Project” won the gold medal of the Customer Service Projects at the 14th Asian Hospital Management Award in 2018, and the gold medal at the 2nd National Young Volunteer Service Project Competition of Health Industry in 2020.
04 Guard children’s health with medical strength
Through years of development, the specialty of Pediatric Hematology at Union Hospital has already established laboratories for thrombosis and hemostasis, leukemia, blood immunity, genetics and molecular biology, hemolytic anemia and the stem cell research center. It is capable of independent diagnosis and treatment for all kinds of children’s blood diseases such as acute leukemia, lymphoma and MDS, regarded as the preferred institution for referral of children patients with blood diseases in Hubei. The average 5-year survival rate of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia treated by the specialty is around 90%.
In June 2020, the Pediatric Hematology Ward of Union Hospital built a special bone marrow transplant chamber for the children. The cleanliness inside the chamber reaches Class 100, and the parents can also enter the chamber to accompany their children.
Edited by: International Exchange Office