College Students Face Challenger Course

Activity benefits future health care workers

DALLAS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- Any good workplace requires good teamwork. That's the lesson some local college students in the medical field got on Thursday. A team building exercise in which they participated will help benefit them and the patients they will one day treat.

What may have looked like an outdoor camping activity is more than just fun and games. Misericordia University students majoring in medical imaging, physical therapy and occupational therapy are getting an important lesson on a Challenger Course. "Oh, most definitely," said Misericordia University Medical Imaging Major Aubrey Bullock who is a sophomore from Sweet Valley.

Relying on other students they barely know, they are developing trust and communication skills through an Interprofessional Educational Program activity that will ultimately serve them well professionally. "It definitely shows you have to work together because, like, the people that were blindfolded they don't know what they're doing so you definitely have to help them get across," said Ms. Bullock.

In this scenario, they're moving from one platform to the next by navigating planks to avoid the danger below. The distances are uneven. The planks vary in size. Misericordia University Junior and Nursing Major Kobe Galentine of Montgomery said, "Hypothetically speaking, we're saying the ground is lava so to know pretty much someone's life is in your hands is like it's a good experience knowing that, like, you can safely get them across."

It's not easy as a student screamed when a plank sprang up because of the weight of students attempting to cross it. Misericordia University Medical Imaging Assistant Professor Gina Capitano said, "So, there are just some challenges they might face in getting to their ultimate goal not uncommon with the challenges they might face in health care."

Besides blindfolds, some of the so-called patients can't speak while others are dealing with physical limitations. In one instance, students helped a real-life stroke survivor navigate his way along the planks. In another case, they assisted amputee and Challenge Course volunteer Donovan White safely get from here to there. The West Wyoming man has a message for these health professionals in the making. "Just because you can't do something the first time doesn't mean you're not going to be able to do it the fourth or fifth time. Don't give up and keep trying."

It's a lesson learned outdoors that may one day pay big dividends indoors in a hospital setting. "When you can have effective communication when taking care of a patient, what you can ultimately end up with is a better patient outcome," said Ms. Capitano.

Organizers say these learned skills taught in the Challenger Course activity also play an important role in reducing costs associated with the delivery of health care. 


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