Value-added clinical experience, the DNI wayMay 2, 2015
Dallas Nursing Institute is nothing less than innovative when it comes to creating opportunities for students to get clinical experience. And its leaders were nothing less than generous when the chance came to help other medical training schools brainstorm their own innovative ways to teach their students about hands-on patient care.
Dr. Pat Perryman, Dean of DNI, and Pamela Bennett, director of library services at the nursing school in Texas, recently led a workshop at the 12th annual National Conference on Allied Health Education, hosted by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
The workshop, called “Value-Added Clinical Experience,” was attended by about 60 leaders from schools training students to become nurses, dental assistants and surgical technicians.
We asked her to share her thoughts about the workshop.
What did you tell your workshop audience about DNI’s own value-added clinical experiences?
Some of the examples we used were our relationship with the city of Dallas and Dallas County, with their mobile STD screening van that travels all over the community to high-risk populations and underserved areas. Our students go to where the bus travels to gain clinical experience and help with the screenings and client education. We worked with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to provide health screenings for diabetes. And while conducting clients’ health screenings, our students were collecting their vital signs, weight, BMI and glucose readings. Our students also helped clients coordinate with a health coordinator to get them into health clinics or indigent clinics if they didn’t have insurance.
What kind of brainstorming came up?
One example of a question that came up was tied to helping students in dental assistant programs. How would they have volunteer opportunities in the community? I asked, “Do the dentists they work with do mission work, do they do pro bono work in different areas?” Have your students go with them and be exposed to that. They get that full impact of poor hygiene and the effect it has on health and why client teaching in the dental office is so important for good hygiene and prevention and well checks. We had surgical technology schools ask, “How would the surgery techs be able to do that? “ So we had awesome energy, great feedback, great interplay among schools and disciplines.
Besides training how does the clinical experience at DNI impact students?
A lot of our students come from tough, low-income backgrounds. Coming out of that background, a lot of them have never volunteered anywhere. Once they graduate, we see our graduates out there still volunteering. They’re working full time, they’re enjoying the benefits of a great career, they’re prospering in their experience, they’re advancing in their careers, but they have never lost the importance of what being a volunteer means. It is rewarding as a school to see that seeded planted here come to fruition in their careers and in the profession.
What do you hope those who attended your workshop will take away from it?
To rethink how they assume how externships or clinical rotations should be handled. To think outside the traditional box that the patient has to be in a hospital bed, in a gown or in their pajamas in order for a clinical or externship objective to be met. Or that they have to be in a doctor’s office or a dentist’s office. There are opportunities out there to do the same thing and make a real difference.
What was the response?
Over course of the conference, people would come up during lunch or breaks and say, “I’ve been thinking about it. I’m going to go back and do this and this and this.” The fact that as adult learners they retained it and also started applying it, the old educator in me is going, yes!