Students from the New Vision Medical Careers Program at Geneva General Hospital, a 27 year partnership between Finger Lakes Technical and Career Center and Finger Lakes Health, identified a service project that had real-life impact to improve patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seventeen area high school seniors from 5 area school districts who rotate through more than 20 departments across the hospital, noted when on the Transport rotation that more wheelchairs could increase efficiency at GGH. With the hospital at surge capacity level with a higher number of inpatients and emergency department patients, the New Vision students on acute care units with limited wheelchairs available when needed. Students were aware that there were some wheelchairs in various stages of repair being stored in long-term care.
They took the critical step to repurpose as many of the existing wheelchairs as possible for use with patients and residents. They worked with biomedical services and facilities to assess the chairs, perform “triage” and repair chairs for use.
This project was an ideal project where students identified a problem that enhanced efficiency, increased patient satisfaction, and leveraged in-demand resources. They also selected a community service project whereby they could use their skills, time and would have the capacity to impact patient experience with near-immediate results.
Lara Chatel Turbide, Vice President of Community Services expressed gratitude on behalf of Finger Lakes Health, “The New Vision students give so much of themselves to our organization, inspire us with their energy and drive. It is very fitting that they would breathe new life into this equipment, as their presence here at Finger Lakes Health always reinvigorates our staff. Our mentors often comment on how teaching these students reaffirms their dedication to healthcare.”
For the project, the students triaged 73 out-of-use wheel chairs, completed assessments, repairs, and had them reviewed/approved for use by a qualified FLH technician. Ultimately, they were able to repurpose 22 wheelchairs (13 regular and 9 extra wide) chairs. They identified 3 more that can be put into service with technician support, and 10 specialized chairs for use. They also categorized and organized parts of the other incomplete wheelchairs.
Program Instructor Laura VanNiel commented, “This was a great project that we could plan, implement and complete in a week and make a substantial impact for the organization!”
Students enjoyed the project and recognized the immediate impact.
“It feels so good to give back to the hospital because they do so much for the community and our learning,” commented Sophie Heieck, Geneva High School.
“It is empowering that we as New Vision students could solve a hospital-based problem,” remarked Lillian Szewc, Waterloo High School.
“This project increased my awareness, I find I’m more attentive to the staff’s and patients’ needs,” shared Amy Mahoney, Mynderse Academy.
New Vision Medical Career Program
Class of 2022
Geneva: Nicholas Caster, Sophie Heieck, Nakayba Moorer, Megan Taylor, Juliette Ventura
Waterloo: Gracie Ferguson, Samantha Page, Lillian Szewc
Midlakes: Hannah DeJohn, Elena Graf, Alexis Waite, Mackenzie Wheeler
Red Jacket: Paityn Lloyd, Reanna VanAken
Seneca Falls: Flora Lin, Abigail Lynch, Amy Mahoney