Hey guys, it’s Madison! Wow, I can’t believe it is finals week next week! The year absolutely flew by. As we wrap up the year here at the College of Public Health, there are always so many awards banquets, special events, and busy project presentations going on. One of these special events is the experiential learning fair that is hosted once a semester.
What exactly is experiential learning? Well, experiential learning can most easily be explained as learning by doing. As a requirement to graduate, experiential learning helps students gain important real-life experiences that set them up with important lessons learned for the future. As students learn by doing, they develop skills that are critical for success in the workplace, in graduate/professional schools, and in their community. There are four different options for completing experiential learning. These are:
- service learning
- global learning
I recently wrapped up my experiential learning project, which I started in the Winter 2018 session. Over the course of four week, I completed an internship at Veterans Memorial Hospital in my hometown of Waukon, IA. I worked with the Community and Home Care Department, largely creating promotional and informational materials for the department. I created a table tent, hospital admission folder insert, and floor nurse informational meeting presentation and handout. I also collected, interpreted and summarized data from the VMH employee healthy living program, and put all the data into a designed summary sheet to be viewed by employees at the time clock. I also added some ideas of changes to promote a healthier workplace as a public health intervention to their rising 30+ BMI population. I got to sit in on County Board of Health and hospital preparedness planning meetings, go on a ride-along vaccination appointment to an Amish community, and experience hospital immunization and latent tuberculosis clinics for Medicare and Medicaid patients. All of this was great public health experience, and I am very happy to have had the opportunity to do this, however, there was a part I was most excited about.
I loved being about to create my own promotional and educational materials to promote a service that aims to keep hospital readmission rates low for the elderly and disabled in my county. Since health education and promotion is something I want to do in the future, I was able to get valuable experience in this area before actually starting a career in the field. That is why experiential learning is so important. It allows us to start dipping our toes in the water of an area we are interested before we do it “for real”.
This week, I was able to present what I did and learned during my experience with VMH at the Spring Experiential Learning Fair. Along with others, we presented in poster or presentation format. Students, professors, and people from the public came to learn about what valuable lessons we got from each of our experiences. I love that we are able to do this in our major, and it really sets us up for success in the future of our endeavors.
Thanks for reading along all year!! If you have any questions regarding this post, about admissions, or public health in general, please reach out to us at: CPH-Undergrad@uiowa.edu
Catch ya next year!