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LVHN Mentors Help Guide Liberty High School Biomedical Science Class

Emergency room designs, ‘patient cases,’ get high marks for recognition of real-world challenges

LVHN Mentors Help Guide Liberty High School Biomedical Science Class

Bob Andreucci’s students in his Project Lead the Way biomedical science class at Liberty High School might not be ready for the health care big leagues right now, but as the saying goes – they got game.

Students recently completed one of the first projects in the class, designing a hospital emergency department complete with staffing plans, coming up with innovations and detailing how they would take two fictitious “patients” through treatment at their facility.

On a recent early February morning, they presented those projects for a virtual review by two Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) experts: Bree Harrison, manager of the adult trauma program at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg, and Shawn Silvoy, senior EMS liaison for LVHN.

“This kind of real-world experience is what helps students to see the bigger picture and creates authentic real-world learning.” – Liberty High School Biomedical Sciences Teacher Bob Andreucci.

LVHN is a sponsor of The Foundation for the Bethlehem Area School District, and part of that sponsorship support goes to the biomedical sciences track within Project Lead the Way (PLTW), an internationally renowned program that includes hands-on, project-based engineering and biomedical science courses to engage students on multiple levels. PLTW exposes students to areas of study they currently do not have an opportunity to pursue and provides them with a foundation and proven pathway to college and career success.

“Community partnerships enhance learning opportunities for Bethlehem Area School District's students,” says Julie Bailey, executive director, The Foundation for the Bethlehem Area School District.

“What I like about these events is that it allows our partners in the community to engage with our students,” says Andreucci.

Lots of ideas and discussion

The emergency rooms designed by the students were in fictitious hospitals in suburban areas and big cities. Some were two stories high, with different functions on each floor. They were large and small. Their “patients” included a woman in labor, as well as gunshot, concussion and burn victims.

In the end, students came away with a better understanding of how real-world emergency departments function and what it takes to keep them running. They learned what treatment their patients would have received if the scenarios were real. Their projects spurred discussion of a diverse array of topics, from nursing ratios to budgets and staffing, to the need for emergency department social workers and more.

A thumbs up for great work

LVHN observers felt the students, all seniors who have expressed an interest in a medical career, were headed in the right direction.

“I was impressed with the students’ understanding of the needs for an emergency department.  Items that might easily be overlooked were included in the plans for these critical spaces, such as storage, cleaning staff, social workers and clinical staffing levels,” says Silvoy. “These are items that most people take for granted, but are absolutely necessary to the care of our patients.” 

Harrison says the students impressed her with their understanding of current emergency room issues, such as wait times and staffing challenges. “Despite not working in a health care environment yet, they seemed to have a good understanding of these challenges and applied that knowledge to their designs,” she says. “Overall, I think it’s great that they have the opportunity as high school students to take a class like this and participate in projects that have them think outside of the box. This is great exposure to the health care environment and will hopefully motivate some students to choose a health care career.”

“Connecting students participating in the Project Lead the Way biomedical sciences program with medical professionals at LVHN allows students to dive deeper into the curriculum learning about real-world problems. We are fortunate to have LVHN as a community partner,” says Bailey.

Andreucci says getting feedback from working professionals provides students with a unique and valuable perspective. “This kind of real-world experience is what helps students to see the bigger picture and creates authentic real-world learning,” he says.

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