By Tiffany King
It's not every day that one sees a Foley catheter demonstration on a mannequin in a freshman English class, but that's exactly what students in Stephanie Conner's English 1101 course witnessed during a recent class. Conner is an English lecturer at the College, and her class is comprised of freshman who have expressed an initial interest in pursuing a nursing degree. The class has been tailored toward the types of writing techniques and critical thinking skills students will need as medical professionals.
The course helps students understand the connections between different disciplines and the role these connections can play in their future careers. Maryanne Sandberg, assistant professor of nursing, talked with Conner's class about the importance of "audience awareness" when giving and writing instructions. Her demonstrations of having a sterile field and Foley catheter insertion, correspond with the process papers Conner's students will be writing in which they need to provide instruction for or an explanation of a particular process. The language nurses use when addressing one another is vastly different than how nurses speak to patients, Sandberg explained. She emphasized how vital it is to speak clearly and plainly when giving directions to patients or their family members about medications or wound care.
Students participated in some exercises to test their skills in audience awareness. They were put into pairs, with one student describing how to draw an image on a card to their partner. That partner then attempted to draw the image based only on verbal instructions. Next, students wrote down the process of putting on a sterilized glove based on Sandberg's demonstration. Then, using what they wrote, students tried to instruct a classmate on how to put on the glove.
Many aspiring nurses were intrigued by Sandberg's Foley catheter demonstration. Sandberg talked through each step, emphasizing the importance of keeping a sterile environment. Students were able to learn something they wouldn't normally see until nursing school.
The course also ties in with the College's Momentum Year initiative. The initiative encourages students to start their college careers by making a purposeful choice in a focus area or program. Students follow a program map that includes nine credits in their focus area and 30 credits in their first year. Conner's class not only helps students develop important skills, but give students the opportunity to decide early on whether or not they want to remain in their intended major.
Conner shared that hospitals and medical offices want medical professionals who appreciate the arts and humanities, because they highlight the human experience and remind medical professionals that they are treating a person, not just the disease.
"Everything you're learning in your different classes matters. For example, in philosophy class you're learning ethics, which is important in the medical field," Conner told her students. "All these things are connected to each other. Do not be afraid to see how these things connect and can shape what you do."