Lincoln-Way science students participate in hands-on learning
Friday, April 6, 2018

Over the past two decades, Lincoln-Way District 210 has supported a motivating and experiential Anatomy & Physiology Medical (A&P Medical) class. This class has worked closely with the Lincoln-Way community by fostering relationships with nearby hospitals, including Presence St. Joseph, St. James, and Silver Cross.

“It is unbelievable how our community embraces our students,” says Lincoln-Way Central Science Department Chair, Sarah Highfill. “The local hospitals open their doors to the future nurses, doctors, medical administrators, physical therapists and physician assistants to an experience which helps cement their interest and dreams.”

The program began with Lincoln-Way Central students visiting Presence St. Joseph in the mid-1990s. Since then, partnerships have formed between other area hospitals as well. Lincoln-Way East students attend St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields and Silver Cross Hospital, and Lincoln-Way West students attend Presence St. Joseph as well. The program accepts senior A&P Medical students through an application and interview process.

“Each week at the hospital, we shadow different departments to understand the different day to day tasks that take place and what the reality of each job is,” says senior Katherine Kedzior. “…I am able to experience actual patient to employee interactions and gain a better understanding of what type of field I would like to go into.”

The experiential learning aspects of the course draw the interest of many. The class meets for two periods per day, giving students time to examine and study each topic in-depth. During the first semester, students complete the coursework; during the second semester, students travel to the hospital during class to complete the observations.

At all Lincoln-Way campuses, the A&P Medical teachers invite medical professionals to serve as guest speakers in their classrooms. Teaching students how their studies are applicable in the real world, guest speakers span a wide variety of medical professions including doctors, orthodontists, optometrists, physical therapists, athletic trainers, pharmacists, chiropractors and nurses in various fields. Speakers don’t always simply speak to the class and offer Q&A sessions, but also occasionally bring in specimens for the students to examine, dissect or study.

Teacher Samantha Taylor’s students visit Presence St. Joseph Hospital as part of their experience. Of the partnership, she says, “My students are getting hands-on experience that I could never give them in the classroom. I really feel that this shadowing experience gives them an edge over their peers, as they have already been in the hospital working with staff and interacting with patients. We are very grateful for the relationship we have with Presence St. Joseph Hospital, and for the opportunity that they are giving our kids.”

While visiting the hospital facilities, students are able to see classroom lessons put into action by speaking with medical professionals in the facility, shadowing staff and interacting with patients.

Senior Paige Skopick says, “I am very thankful to St. James and Lincoln-Way East for giving me the opportunity to shadow various professions while learning a wide range of information about different scenarios seen throughout the hospital. I will remember this experience and all that I have learned as I continue my path towards the medical field.”

Lincoln-Way teachers say that the experience creates excitement among their students. “There were many days when a student would come back to the bus saying ‘I'm even more excited to be a nurse now,’" says teacher Kristen Neuberg. “We appreciate the staff hosting us and taking the time to have our students tag along for the semester. Their impact on these young people is greater than they would imagine.”