As a biomed student interested in medical school, the clinical immersion co-op was by far the experience I was most interested in for my third and last internship at Drexel. I was looking forward to again experiencing the hospital life and coming in contact with patients, but this time from an engineering standpoint.
Under the supervision of my engineering and clinical advisors, Dr. Kenneth Barbee and Dr. Vinay Nadkarni, Julie Speer and I embarked on the mission of daily identifying three clinical needs each at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). While the first three months focused on generating ideas, the last three aimed at pursuing one of the ideas in more depth, in preparation for senior design. Opportunities of participating in national conferences and local workshops, academic lectures and talks, as well as day-to-day clinical activities were numerous and insightful. Surgical operations, laboratory tours, and daily clinical rounds on various floors, especially in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), all contributed to opening my eyes to how there still is room for improvement/innovation in medical technology, even at CHOP!
Thanks to Dr. Nadkarni’s contacts within the hospital and beyond, Julie and I connected with many key experts in the fields relevant to the issues we had been identifying. Following these conversations, I conducted an initial needs assessment for my chosen project via a targeted online survey and an in-person performance study in which over 50 healthcare providers participated. The study involved building a data acquisition system specific to the measurement of interest, which required work at Drexel to develop the hardware prior to collecting data. Although challenging, this made the experience all the more fun.
The clinical immersion experience was overall a unique opportunity to discover the “behind-the-scenes” of patient care, to develop a solution that meets a real life issue, and to grow personally in skills and knowledge related to designing and leading my own project. Even beyond the project, I also experienced the value of wise and invested mentoring, which certainly had its share of impact on the result of this coop, and which I hope to replicate in years to come! Read More About Joyanna's Experience.