Monday, March 7, 2022
Camee Hladilek, a fourth-semester respiratory therapy student at Chippewa Valley Technical College, clears the patient simulator’s tracheostomy and listens to the lungs, while UW-Eau Claire speech-language pathology students talk with the patient about her speaking valve.
Camee Hladilek adjusted her mask, put on her face shield and waited until the hand sanitizer dried before tugging the latex gloves over her fingers.
She approached the bedside of Miss Lee, made sure she was comfortable, and informed her that Hladilek would be clearing her tracheostomy.
Hladilek is a fourth-semester respiratory therapy student at Chippewa Valley Technical College, and Miss Lee is a patient simulator in the CVTC Simulation Center. But Hladilek wasn’t alone. A fellow CVTC student stood across from her, ensuring the patient was comfortable. And four UW-Eau Claire students in the speech-language pathology program watched, waiting for their turn.
With CVTC respiratory therapy students required to have a certain amount of education-based community service time before graduation, and UWEC students held to a similar standard, the two schools decided to work together to have students educate each other.
“This is a great partnership,” said Kirsten Holbrook, CVTC respiratory therapy instructor. “This is a real hospital scenario happening. This gives them a real-life look to practice their skills and bedside manner.”
Abby Hemmerich, associate professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at UW-Eau Claire, said it’s beneficial for her speech-language pathology students to practice their skills in this type of scenario.
“Our students haven’t been in this setting and may not see a patient with a trach tube (while in school),” Hemmerich said. “It’s important for them to recognize their role. Being in an ICU simulation is a great way to do that.”
Hladilek, the CVTC student, said the couple hours of joint education – one college sharing with the other and vice versa – was beneficial.
“It’s great to see how we would assist them with vitals and clearing the airway,” she said. “It was fun to see what they do and how our roles work together.”
Lily Kuhaupt, a first-year speech-language pathology graduate student, said the collaboration was eye-opening.
“The whole process of walking in with a patient and placing a speaking valve was a really a new adventure,” Kuhaupt said. “It was a totally new learning experience coming in, seeing all of that in action.”
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