Several fifth year pharmacy students gained experience through service learning over the fall 2012 semester at Wood Lane, an agency providing a variety of services to children and adults of all ages who have developmental disabilities.
Under the instruction of Kate Cochran, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice, a group of students visited community partners such as Wood Lane to observe a particular audience and host a creative presentation or activity.
UF’s students first visited the classroom to observe the ability levels of the students before planning the presentation. Due to intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities, Wood Lane students have a wide range of cognitive abilities.
“As pharmacy students, we like to incorporate knowledge about medications into our project if we can,” said Alyssa Cain, fifth year pharmacy student. “For some populations or for the interests of the community partner, we must think outside the box. Our group decided to use different techniques to teach hygiene.”
UF students designed an activity for the Wood Lane students to recognize certain situations and identify the appropriate hygiene action as a response.
“Communicating our knowledge to the children was difficult,” said Kahle Rummer, fifth year pharmacy student. “We used three parts of hygiene including washing hands, taking a shower and brushing teeth.”
UF students were able to adapt each lesson to the student’s abilities by helping each student individually and using props.
“It taught us about being flexible in your plans and being open to modifying a routine,” said Cain. “It also gave us experience interacting with a new population that really just needs a little extra attention.”
According to Emily Dunipace, volunteer coordinator at Wood Lane, UF’s students successfully translated their medical knowledge into words that the general population could understand.
“It was a great experience working with the students and faculty at Wood Lane,” said Cain. “We really enjoyed Wood Lane and a lot of fellow classmates agreed it was one of the best and most awarding service learning projects we have accomplished.”
Written by Sarah Foltz