Conestoga news

June 5, 2014 2:10 PM

Experiential healthcare spaces connect students to real life

"This was one of the most effective learning experiences I have had at college."

The Apartment and Assisted Living Suite at Conestoga are two carefully developed "labs" that replicate real-life scenarios where standardized patients often serve as actors in simulated client situations. Realism is key and students get to experience what can and does happen when they are on the job in real life.

Marlene Raasok, Dean of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services, recognizes the impact of these experiential learning opportunities. "These spaces are critical to connecting students with the reality of what happens in their jobs - these graduates will be working in places where people live and they need to be ready for that. These environments are interactive, collaborative and highly experiential."

Marlene comes by her interest in healthcare naturally, with a long family history dedicated to helping people live better lives. She has served as the Dean of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services since 2006 and has been a key figure in building a centre for excellence in healthcare at Conestoga. Marlene celebrated that personal passion and her rich family history by making a substantial donation to the Assisted Living Suite as part of the Family Campaign in honour of those 100 years of caring by her family. "This is the best opportunity I've had in my career to be part of something that will really make a difference long-term."

Students are extremely grateful for the experience that the Apartment and Assisted Living Suite provide and recognize the benefits of these hands-on scenarios: "I was able to make mistakes and learn from that without compromising the safety of real patients in a clinical setting." "I found the apartment very useful in my learning, because it prepared me for real world experience. Practicing transfer skills in a simulated apartment helped me to apply my knowledge with ease on my clinical placement in a long term care facility; working in small or awkward places in the apartment (the bathroom, for example) was very similar to working in residents' homes."

In addition to being used by healthcare programs on campus, the apartment is also used by community service programs, such as social services, pre service fire, and advanced policing. Nearly every program that potentially interacts in community environments and where students must gain comfort and confidence in a range of living situations uses these invaluable labs on campus.

The Assisted Living Suite will also be "home base" for the redesigned Personal Support Worker program starting Fall 2014. assistedlivingbottom.jpg