For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

A New Take on Community Health Initiatives

December 8, 2015

A collaboration between Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions and George Washington Carver Engineering and Science High School is bringing new meaning to the term community health.

On Wednesday, November 4, 24 students from the science-focused high school in North Philadelphia visited the College of Nursing and Health Professions to learn about careers in health care and the educational experiences Drexel has to offer. Students were also given the opportunity to experience first-hand what it’s like to care for a patient.

“You get to see what you might actually face in real life,” says Meccala Akbar, a sophomore at Carver E&S. Before visiting Drexel, Akbar says she was focused on becoming an anesthesiologist like her mother. After the visit, her feelings changed. 
“Now I’m thinking about becoming a physician assistant,” says Akbar, her face full of interest. “I didn’t even know about that [career] before, but now I’m thinking about it a lot.”

The objective of the Drexel-Carver collaboration was to promote education and careers in nursing and health professions to high-achieving students interested in science, technology, engineering and math. The partnership began this summer when by Dr. Amit Basu, senior teacher at Carver E&S and adjunct professor in Drexel’s biology department, expressed an interest in bringing his anatomy class to campus. After several months of planning, his class was welcomed to the College of Nursing and Health Professions with open arms.

As part of their visit to campus, Carver E&S students attended an information session with Drexel’s undergraduate recruitment team which included current students and professional staff. During the session, Carver E&S students were asked to share their academic and professional interests – which were ambitious to say the least. The room was brimming with future nurses, surgeons, physical therapists, biomedical engineers, pediatricians and dermatologists.

As the conversation progressed and Drexel students shared their personal experiences, their eyes began to widen. Carver E&S students were captivated by the concept of co-operative education and earning a paycheck while you’re still in school. They were also encouraged by the many educational opportunities presented to them – that Drexel could help them achieve their goals of becoming physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, behavioral therapists and health administrators.

Once the information session ended, students were ushered to the College’s Center for Interdisciplinary Clinical Simulation and Practice. This is where the real fun began. Carver E&S students were split into two groups and asked to participate in two different scenarios.

In the first scenario, students were given medical equipment and asked to check each other’s heart rate and oxygen levels, to listen to heartbeats, and to find arteries using Doppler technology.

They were also asked to check the heartbeat on a SAM II auscultation manikin, a staple of Drexel’s simulation experience, to determine whether or not it was irregular. If they wanted to further test their listening skills, they were challenged with checking the heartbeat on a crying baby manikin – which threw some of them for a loop.

“I was shocked by how real-life the baby was!” exclaimed Akbar, as she watched the chest rise and fall. She then turned to one of her classmates and whispered, How do you make it stop?”

In the second scenario, students interacted with a standardized patient actor and were questioned on appropriate bedside manner, how to make patients feel comfortable, and what it means to be a compassionate health care provider.

“I realized that how you talk to patients is a really big thing, and the little things count,” says Jayson Davis, recalling his standardized patient experience. “It was neat to see how real people act in this space,” said Davis, who is now considering a career in sports medicine or becoming a physician assistant.

As the visit came to an end, the chatter among students grew – and for good reason. Students were overheard expressing a newfound interest in Drexel and, more importantly, education and careers in health care. Several students even approached Drexel’s recruitment managers for more information on the application process and how soon they could enroll. 

“Thank you so much for everything you’ve done today,” said Dr. Basu. “I hope we can work with you more in the future.”