Students in MA149 completed their service learning project by visiting residents at the “Allouez Parkside Village Assisted Living” center. After speaking with one student, Kelly, I learned that many students continued to visit the residents following the required time commitment. Kelly said “I enjoy spending time with the residents and socializing and have continued to visit on my own time”. Students demonstrated medical professionalism at all times, recognized and responded to verbal and non verbal communications and provided instruction for health maintenance and disease prevention. Our Medical Assistant students took the skills they learned in the classroom and applied them on site, in particular employing basic nutrition and lifestyle choices for wellness promotion and working with patients as individuals to meet their specific needs.
I spoke with the instructor for this course, Michelle Vanden Heuvel, who informed me that the students were expected to spend a minimum of 4.5 hours outside of class to visit with the residents. However, according to Michelle, many of the students went far above and beyond that minimum requirement and still have continued contact with the residents. When I asked Michelle for examples of the activities that students were engaged in with residents, she gave the following: Conversation with bed-ridden patients; playing cards, reading to or taking them for walks outside; Helping them with grooming needs such as hair and nails; Educating them on not fearing medical professionals.
Michelle described this as an integral part of the program with Medical Assistant students, as it helps them hone their personal and professional skills beyond the “terminology”. Relating to and working comfortably with patients is key to being successful in this field.
(Due to HIPPA and resident confidentiality, no photos were taken.)