The Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Physical Therapy Assisting programs at GateWay Community College are teaming up to introduce Healthcare United at GateWay (HUG) Clinics for faculty, staff and potentially students starting in October. The clinic is a community service learning project for students in the respective programs.
A grant from Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction supported the investigation of the feasibility and the coordination of establishing a learning clinic by Jessica Goodman, instructor in the PTA program, and Malka Stromer, instructor in the Sonography program.
“The clinic will provide an integrated learning experience for healthcare professional students,” said Stromer. “Initially the clinic will focus on the PTA and sonography disciplines, because students pursuing a career in these disciplines currently only participate in clinical practice after completing an entire didactic semester, and we want to provide more opportunities for them to gain hands-on experience throughout the program.”
The HUG Clinic will allow students to integrate course learning by treating patients instead of role-playing case studies with peers.
“The many benefits of ‘real’ patient interaction include, improved interpersonal communication and critical-thinking skills, and improved depth of understanding of didactic material as students must teach the patients about treatments, adapt their skills, and inform the patients about certain procedures,” said Goodman.
In addition to the real-world experience, the HUG clinic also provides continuous integration of classroom material with practical application of the work skill set required of students, reducing the on-the-job training needed and it benefits the GateWay community and eventually beyond by offering an affordable adjunct to primary care health services.
Additional funding, (including an option for GateWay employees to contribute on their annual campaign forms) and/or grant money is being pursued to expand the program. The vision is to roll out the clinics on a pro-bono basis to GateWay and the community.
Expansion plans include incorporating other specialty services such as respiratory care, radiation therapy, nursing and health unit coordinating.
“We also plan to build partnerships with existing community health clinics including UMOM, Educare Arizona, the YMCA and Mountain Park Health Center, which are in close proximity to GateWay and align with the allied health and nursing programs at the college,” said Goodman.
“The HUG Clinic will be housed in existing practice labs at the college,” explained Stromer, “until we can assess the needs based on demand and the partnerships we are able to build. We could be mobile by this time next year.”
For information, call Goodman at 602-286-8489