Globe University Medical Assistant Students Play Vital Role In KEEP

By Service Learning Coordinator-Brandy Gruis:

People are affected each day by different diseases and illness. One of those diseases is Chronic Kidney Disease; in fact, according to the National Kidney Association, 26 million American adults have Chronic Kidney Disease. However, there are a variety of programs to help individuals who may be at risk for kidney disease. Risk factors include: individuals who have diabetes and high blood pressure, a close relative with diabetes and high blood pressure, or kidney disease. The Kidney Early Evaluation Program or KEEP is a free screening program to help individuals who may be at risk.

Globe University Student, Cassandra Dominguez takes blood at the KEEP event

The National Kidney Foundation hosted a KEEP event in Sioux Falls on October 26th from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. It was open to the public for anyone 18-years or older who may have at least one risk associated with kidney disease. Although the event was a great opportunity for the Sioux Empire community, students in the Medical Assistant Program also received a valuable learning experience. Student Dawn Tysdal stated, “It felt great taking what I’ve learned and applying it to help a foundation, such as the National Kidney Foundation, and help people realize just how serious early detection of kidney disease really is.” In total eighteen Medical Assisting students assisted 191 participants from the Sioux Empire. The students gained valuable hands- on experience as well as interpersonal skills. Medical Assistant Program Chair Amy Zobel describes the event, stating, “This screening provided our students with hands -on patient experience. Students utilized critical thinking along with time management skills.”

Student Dawn Tysdal works the Sioux Falls KEEP event

KEEP provides three tests to determine kidney function. The three tests include: blood pressure, blood glucose checks, and albumin to creatinine ratio. Globe’s medical assistant students were valuable members of two of the testing teams. The first test students were involved with was the Blood Glucose Check. Students in classes such as Pharmacology, Hematology, and CMA Review teamed up with students in the Patient Care I class to check blood glucose levels. Testing blood glucose sounds easy enough, just a simple finger prick. But this was not the case at all. The students drew three vials of blood from each participant, which totals roughly 573 vials of blood. However, that was not the complete picture. The students additionally checked and reviewed patient history forms, as well as assisted in calculations for further testing for participants.

The blood glucose check was not the only area where the sea of blue Globe University scrubs was apparent. Students assisted in the urine screen area by helping to collect samples and test the protein found in the urine, which is another risk factor of kidney disease.  Furthermore, students helped to prepare the blood samples to be sent out for additional testing.  After the testing was completed, physicians were onsite to review participants’ results and explain the next steps of testing. Globe students were vital members at this event. They were able to be of service for not only the National Kidney Foundation but to the participants as well. In fact, the National Kidney Foundation wants to reserve students to help in next year’s KEEP screening already. Jo Penning, MA instructor for the Sioux Falls campus sums up this project by commenting, “Words cannot explain how proud I am of each of the students that participated in the screening.”