September 2011

Studying science while serving others

Here's one excerpt from an entry:

"I have come to learn that some days are better than others in the nursing home, both for the patients and the staff. The patient I visit was congested and had to get a chest X-ray but turned out to be fine and returned to the nursing home the next day. Since, she has been much less talkative (compared to the minimal amount she did). It is hard assessing how someone is doing/feeling when you can't really communicate with them, and incredibly frustrating on both ends, whether patient or nurse."

And here's another:

"A student working at a local facility to transition drug addicts back into society observed the detoxification process and connected this with some of what we know about the biochemical processes in the brain that favor addiction and bring about pain during withdrawal."

"I am TB negative! My skin test had a bump that was 1mm off of unacceptable size for being in a hospital setting. They injected me with tuberculosis antigen, (and) the size of my inflammatory response is dictated by the amount of TB antibodies I have. A person who has been exposed to TB in the past (and thus has a large AB count) will have a larger inflammatory response, hence a larger bump. If I had failed the size test, they would then have taken an X-ray to check for nodules in my lungs."

Student reflections and evaluations

At the end of the term, each student wrote a literature-based paper with a reflective component focused on some biochemical aspect related to the mission of his or her work site and experiences working with individuals there.

The students also completed an evaluation form that provided some quantitative feedback. After the first year of this project, the most important critique I received was that the service hours felt like extra work that was not really a part of the course. I, therefore, turned my attention to integrating the experience throughout the entire semester. I did this by explaining on the first day of class why I thought this project has value for learning biochemistry.

Additionally, I used class time every other week to let students present information about their experiences and explain how those experiences related to biochemistry.

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Nice piece- Univ of Richmond is a great university



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