Doctors, nurses critique Bob Jones students’ ER designs

MADISON – What layout for a hospital’s Emergency Room or ER would be most comfortable and safe for patients? Students in the Biomedical Innovations Internship class at Bob Jones High School presented their ER designs for critique by hospital professionals.

After concentrating on biomedical study, 18 students qualified for this internship project. Working in four-person groups with minimal instruction, students researched ER designs and proposed their construction for patients’ optimum care.

“This Capstone Class of four courses is in Project Lead the Way or PLTW biomedical curriculum within the Medical Academy at Bob Jones,” teacher Kara Koler said. “These seniors have worked very hard to earn the privilege of entering the PLTW Internship class.”

A natural to instruct this class, Kara Koler worked as a registered nurse for 21 years, primarily in Huntsville Hospital and Crestwood Medical Center ERs. She also serves as HOSA advisor.

For the ER assignment, students first learned about triage and assigning a patient acuity level, based on symptoms. Each group had to set goals and timelines for completing their project within approximately three weeks.

“Students researched and explored online for different types and levels of Emergency Departments,” Koler said. “They were challenged to use their critical-thinking skills to design an Emergency Department (ED) where patients receive timely, quality care.”

Other requirements included the trauma center’s level, ER location, hospital name and mission statement “to guide them as they develop their ED and philosophy of care,” Koler said.

Students also had to create a floor plan. “Some do it digitally, and some draw them out by hand. The focus was on the ED’s interior,” Koler said. ED design required all equipment for running an effective department, depending on the trauma level.

Students had to staff ED with physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, along with technicians, housekeeping and security. To confirm their ED runs efficiently, students defined an innovation, such as fingerprint scanning to register patients efficiently, trackers on patient armbands to monitor status and updated tracker boards.

“Students followed two patients through their ED to research each patient’s condition to determine (progress) through the department, along with treatment plans,” Koler said.

To critique student designs, local hospital personnel attending presentations were ED Medical Director/Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Ric Koler and Vice Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Jeremy Johnson from Crestwood Medical Center; and Nurse Manager Bobby Scott and Clinical Education Specialist Scott Throneberry, both Registered Nurses, from Madison Hospital ED.

The healthcare workers “were impressed with student designs of the ED’s and their innovations. They each gave positive feedback on how the flow of their design could be improved, if needed,” Kara Koler said.

Overall, the hospital personnel were impressed with the students’ presentations. Koler and her students “were grateful to each of them for taking time out of their busy schedules to give students support and feedback from their vast knowledge of the ED,” she said.

“As a former Emergency Department RN, I am extremely proud of my students’ teamwork and their innovative designs,” Koler said. “The students came up with some innovative ideas that could be used in the real world.”

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