Let's Pretend Hospital

Let's Pretend Hospital (LPH) is a program designed for first graders to help reduce the fear and anxiety they may experience if they must be hospitalized or visit the emergency room.

The success of Let's Pretend Hospital is the combined efforts of Huntsville Hospital Department of Volunteer Services, Nursing faculty, students, staff and many volunteers that participate year after year. We're happy to say that LPH spans generations. Nursing students who visited as first graders are now performing skits. Teachers are returning who visited the hospital as first graders and volunteers are still returning who have seen both their children and grandchildren attend.

Let's Pretend Hospital The program began in 1985 and has evolved into a five-day event which serves approximately 2000 students in 60 public and private schools in Madison County. The event is held in March, usually just before spring break. Huntsville Hospital (HH) Department of Volunteer Services begins in the fall to coordinate registration and scheduling of the local schools. Vocabulary and resource lists are provided to each class in preparation for the visit. College of Nursing faculty and students write and coordinate these study guides with Child Life Specialists and also prepare the skits that are performed in each hospital room. North Alabama area hospitals and campuses have observed this program and adopted many of the processes to create their own pretend hospital.

The "Pretend Hospital" Rooms


  • Miss Molly (Teaching puppet) and patient room
  • Emergency Room
  • Operating Room
  • X-ray and Laboratory
  • Playroom
  • Safety Room
  • Ambulance

Nursing Seniors perform skits as Doctors, Nurses and Technicians to provide information and demonstrations to the children. It is delightful to see the interaction between the nursing students and the children. A child is selected to be the patient for each room. Volunteers, faculty and nursing students manage the progression of each class. As many as eight classes may move through the hospital at one time making coordination essential.

College of Nursing Commitment

Let's Pretend Hospital The Community Health Course has been appointed to manage LPH in coordination with the Director of HH Department of Volunteer Services.  This effort is considered part of the faculty members community service and does not reduce their regular class load.

Senior students enrolled in Community Health Nursing are expected to participate in LPH. These students are required to participate in staffing the hospital during the full week and serve on student committees for planning and preparation of the hospital. The student committees include security, public relations, and evaluation.

Let's Pretend HospitalThe College considers this event a valuable community service. Nursing provides a small budget for miscellaneous art, office supplies, and items for goodie bags for every child. Children receive a wonderful coloring book about LPH that features Charger Blue, the UAH mascot. 

Other areas of UAH become involved. University Relations schedules media coverage and picture taking. Campus Police assist with traffic control and assist to assure that all busses and students are safe while visiting the campus. Facilities and grounds crews assist with moving furniture for the event.

Huntsville Hospital Commitment

Let's Pretend Hospital The HH Department of Volunteer Services directs the entire event. HH sends information to the area schools, receives registrations and schedules the classes for their visit. HH provides playroom tables and toys, and various items necessary to make each room look realistic. Hospital volunteers assemble goodie bags for each child that includes miscellaneous items such as band-aids, hospital caps, masks, and scuffs.