Theatre students feign illnesses to educate soon-to-be nurses on diagnoses

Posted on 25 February 2016 by admin

Campus Innovation Committee selects project to represent Meramec at district level 

Sports Editor


Meramec hosted the “Innovation of the Year” presentation Thursday, Feb. 18. The presentation highlighted two ongoing projects initiated by campus faculty.

Theatre Coordinator Keith Oliver and Physical Therapy Professor Christina Cohoon presented their project, “Theatrical Role Play for Therapy Practical Experience,” which helps theatre students collaborate with physical therapy students for an authentic clinical experiences.

The committee selected their project to represent Meramec at the district level.

Cohoon said the idea of creating realistic clinical scenarios was inspired by a late night talk.

“My husband went to Meramec several years ago and was in several of the plays,” Cohoon said. “So, I was talking to him one night about the need to create a more authentic, clinical experience for my students in the classroom and he said ‘well I will just come in and act it out for you.’ For that matter, he told me, there are a bunch of actors at that school and I thought ‘you know what, you are right.’”

With just a little pow-wow at home, the idea was then sent to Oliver and the theatre department, Cohoon said.

“That is pretty much when I approached Keith with the idea of either theatre students, improv students or whichever students would be interested in doing this,” Cohoon said. “See if they would be interested in playing the role of a patient on practical experiences for our students. He [Oliver] figured the improv club would probably be the best place to start. They were responsible for doing some service work and he thought this would fit well into their service category.”

With the clinical therapy scenarios, we [Oliver and Cohoon] really looked at the fact that this was a real patient situation, Cohoon said.

“We were trying to focus not so much on being graded for this, but rather working with a real patient,” Cohoon said. “These particular sets of students from my program were only about two or three weeks away from going out and working in a clinic anyway. The real emphasis was how they interacted with the theatre students like a real patient.”

Reaching students in ways both educational and fun are moments you go into teaching for, Cohoon said. Patient roleplaying is something that can build throughout the Meramec system.

“College wide, we have a lot of career and technical programs,” Cohoon said. “We have four or five at Meramec, but Forest Park has a whole lot of career and technical programs. I think there are multiple opportunities for this to go beyond therapy in theatre, but I think there are just a lot of different ways to problem solve with interpersonal conflicts that can develop and utilize different problem solving techniques from the programs in our schools.”

The second project, “Parent Orientation Sessions,” presented by Academic Advising Specialist Mysha Clincy, focused on spreading parent orientation sessions throughout the STLCC district.

Five main departments were discussed: Enrollment Management, Academic Advising, ACCESS, Counseling Department and Financial Aid. Financial Aid was emphasised to ensure students’ financial aid is in process.


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