Medical Assistant and Drafting Students Working Together?

An innovative idea has recently been tested by Wallace State Community College in Hanceville Alabama where the college's Medical Assisting students and their Drafting students teamed up for an interdisciplinary project to design medical facilities.

The MA students at Wallace State have always had to, as part of their Administrative Procedures II class, design a medical office floor model plan each year.

Their work was required to observe the logistics and features of an emergency room or physicians offices. This required them to demonstrate specific details with their models, including the number of entrances and fire exits, the number of rooms which the office is comprised of, and details in each examination room.

However this year the school added a twist by bringing their Drafting students into the project.

The Drafting students were responsible for designing the floor plans of the models and worked directly with the medical assisting students as they collaborated - they also had to deal with restrictions designed to assure the model met building codes and other requirements. All of this had to be achieved on a $500,000 fantasy budget.

“In 2011 our students did a wonderful job with the project and we invited everyone on campus to come to the lab and see the work. We had some administrators and deans stop by and we talked about ways to engage students from two programs. We thought it was a great idea to ask the drafting students to help our students with floor designs and constructing the office,” said Tracie Fuqua, Medical Assistant Program Director.

“The communication between the students was unbelievable. They had to copy the instructors all of their emails, discussing the project, and I received more than 100 emails. It was important to get two groups of students from entirely different areas of campus engaged in an activity. Collaborative learning like this can take place anywhere and anytime.”

Just after the spring semester began, students were assigned partners from the other discipline, and a significant part of each student’s grade was assigned to the project. Students had to meet independently outside the classroom in order complete their projects.

“I think we are were all somewhat hesitant early on when we were paired up, but everyone seemed to work so well together,” said medical assistant student Melanie McBride, 18, of Decatur. “It was hard work outlining and relaying all the specific details we wanted our medical office to look like. I’m sure students from both departments gained more from it than we originally thought.”

Tracie Fuqua is so pleased with the results that she speak about the project at the 2013 American Association of Medical Assisting conference in Atlanta.

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