Bright Idea Recognized with MCCA’s Mel Aytes Faculty Innovation Award
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Last November at the Missouri Community College Association’s annual convention, Eric Driskill and Michelle Petterchak presented a unique idea to create a collaboration that offered nursing students a chance to apply their skills in a simulation involving care for a deaf patient.
Fast forward to November 2020, and the pair from St. Louis Community College will accept the organization’s Mel Aytes Faculty Innovation Award at the MCCA Annual Convention & Solution Center, which shifts to a fully virtual event in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. They will be honored at the morning session on Friday, Nov. 13.
The Aytes Award recognizes a faculty member or team for creating an innovative project that improves the quality of a course or program and that can be replicated in other disciplines and/or at other institutions.
Driskill is an associate professor of deaf communication studies (DCS) at STLCC-Florissant Valley; Petterchak is an assistant professor of nursing at STLCC-Wildwood.
The duo agreed that with careful planning, the arrangement could benefit students in both disciplines. Driskill recruited volunteers from the deaf community to act as “patients” while Petterchak organized nursing students to practice their skills on the patients. DCS students interpreted between them.
“This event has significantly increased the quality of education and learning in both DCS and nursing programs, and it reinforces STLCC’s commitment to ensuring that our students are not only prepared for their future careers but that they will also work to improve the lives of all by making a commitment to go outside of the curriculum and learn about the experiences of others with whom they may not have interacted previously,” said Elizabeth Gassel Perkins, Ed.D., president and chief academic officer at STLCC-Florissant Valley.
According to Driskill, DCS has started dialogue about replicating this simulation with other disciplines such as human services, criminal justice, child development and education. Nursing faculty have expressed interest and encouragement to expand this event in many of the other health sciences programs offered by STLCC.
He noted that feedback about the simulation from both nursing and DCS students is overwhelmingly positive.
“The deaf community is tremendously grateful for having an opportunity to better educate their future nurses and interpreters, and have stated that they hope every future nurse and interpreter they encounter in a medical setting is an STLCC graduate who participated in this event,” Driskill said.
On the day of the event, Driskill and his specialized interpreting students, volunteer professional interpreters, volunteer patients from the deaf community, and nursing students and faculty met and shared a meal.
During the meal, deaf volunteers shared issues and special considerations they wanted nurses and interpreters to be aware of when treating deaf patients. Likewise, students in both disciples asked deaf participants questions.
After the meal, everyone moved to the nursing mock exam rooms, where deaf volunteers became “patients” who acted out assigned scenarios. Those scenarios include a deaf mother’s baby who needed a shot to a patient who needed a shot and vitals collected, a patient who needed catheterization, and a patient who needed a health screening completed. Nursing students rotated between four stations, spending 15 minutes at each stop to practice their skills while DCS students interpreted between them.
Nursing students were monitored by nursing faculty, while Driskill and professional interpreters provided assistance and feedback about best practices to DCS students.
Everyone met in a classroom after the simulation to debrief.
Students from the DCS and nursing programs normally practice skills specific to their disciplines in fabricated environments.
DCS students practice interpreting skills in the classroom using mainly audio recorded English speech (interpreted it into American Sign Language) or recorded ASL (interpreted into spoken English).
Likewise, nursing students practice skills in mock nursing exam rooms on patient simulators.
However, through the DCS and nursing collaboration, students were able to synthesize skill sets and apply them to a near real-world experience by interacting with live patients.
Ultimately the hope is that after DCS and nursing graduates enter the workforce, they will be better prepared as interpreters and nurses because of this experience.