WOOSTER, Ohio — The College of Wooster presented Wooster Community Hospital with the Community Partner in Experiential Learning Award for their partnership in the Community Care Network on Thursday, Nov. 3, during the College’s annual Experiential Learning Symposium.
The Community Care Network, which began in 2013 with 30 Wooster students, was designed to promote wellness, reduce the need for potentially unnecessary procedures and hospitalizations, and promote delivery of evidenced based care while giving Wooster students valuable field experience.
The venture consists of a semester of didactic courses followed by hands-on client experience, all overseen by practicing healthcare professionals. It allows students with an interest in healthcare to get real-life experience, provides a superior level of care for outpatients and gives Wooster an edge in a very competitive field.
The students benefit from a rigorous training program which enables them to work, under close medical supervision, with carefully chosen patients who need companionship and encouragement in developing healthier lifestyles. After the first year, patients enrolled in the program had a 26% reduction of emergency room use and 51% reduction in hospital readmissions.
Wooster Community Hospital CEO, Bill Sheron, says he first heard about a community care program involving hospitals and college students at a national healthcare conference and saw right away that this was something he wanted to bring to Wooster. “It seemed like a natural fit. To me, everyone wins,” he said.
Graduates of Wooster who have gone on to medical and other professional graduate schools have reported back that the skills they acquired in the program have given them a great advantage, and many medical schools are actively seeking to admit students with this kind of hands-on experience in patient care.
Awards at the Experiential Learning Symposium were also given to Wooster students Katie Stock and Meg Heller for their contributions on starting a Community Connections Program, that unites first-year seminar faculty and students to local community partners and projects and professor of political science emeritus Mark Weaver for his work with Moot Court.