Lyon Health Coaching program has a positive impact on students, the community | Blanche river now
By Hannah Keller Flanery / WRHS Marketing Specialist
As Hannah Wu applies to 20 different medical schools, she hopes her experience in the Lyon College health coaching program will help her stand out from the competition. Wu, a double major from Lyon in biology and psychology with a pre-medical focus, said the program provided her with patient insight she couldn’t learn in a regular classroom.
“I am able to discuss things that others cannot in my applications,” Wu said. “I have learned how socio-economic factors affect patients. I can’t imagine how patients without insurance deal with chronic illnesses. I learned how important it is to have an open mind and try to understand things from the patient’s perspective. As a doctor, if you can’t have an open mind and compassion, you can’t connect with people. You have to have empathy and see things from their point of view.
The Health Coaching program is a partnership between Lyon College and White River Medical Center that started in the fall of 2013. The program is designed to train pre-health students to become “health coaches” to work with patients with chronic diseases.
Dr Alexander Beeser, assistant professor of biology and chairman of the pre-health professions interest group, said the aim of the program is twofold.
“The program gives students direct practice in healthcare, which is not like observation at all,” he said. “Shading is very passive. The pupils observe; however, they are not involved. Here, they are part of the healthcare team. On the health side, the goal is to help patients with chronic diseases to better manage their health to reduce the overall cost of care and improve the general health of patients. If they can get their diabetes or COPD under control, they are much less likely to go to the emergency room because of these conditions.
The program is a sequence of two courses. Students complete a portion of the course in the first semester and are assigned to a patient in the second semester who is shortlisted by Community Care Network Manager Tammy Brazier, RN, CDCES.
Wu worked with Betty Jones, a diabetic patient. Jones had previously worked with Brazier on diabetes education.
“She thought I might be willing and interested in participating in the program,” Jones said. “I think it’s a very good experience for both the patient and the future doctor. I think that was very insightful to Hannah, and I enjoyed working with her. She always had a positive suggestion or encouragement to give me at the end of our time together each week.
Students meet with their patients once a week to develop health goals and find ways to achieve those goals.
“I used motivational interviewing techniques to determine what she [Betty] wanted to accomplish during our time, “Wu said.” Initially, we set out to help her keep her blood sugar within a normal range, go to the gym five times a week, and develop a good diet. . We have had challenges and obstacles because of the pandemic. We couldn’t achieve all of the goals, like going to the gym. I was devastated at first because we couldn’t complete all of the goals. Then I realized that I needed to be flexible and that I could help her find other resources to help her achieve her primary goal of stabilizing her blood sugar.
Wu said he introduced Jones to Tai Chi as a method of reducing stress, which can negatively affect blood sugar.
“It replaced our original goal of going to the gym,” Wu said. Jones said practicing Tai Chi had encouraged her to do further research on her own to find other videos focused on the gym. ‘balance.
Wu plans to graduate from Lyon next spring. She believes her experience in the health coaching program will help her make a positive impact on public health. “I am much more sensitive to public health policies that do not help the rural or the underprivileged. As a doctor, I will always think about how I can change these policies so that people get the proper treatment they need, ”she said.
Beeser said he believes that one of the biggest benefits of the health coaching program is its ability to give students the knowledge that they can make an impact on the lives of patients.
“I think the most satisfying thing about the program is when the students realize that they can make a small, inexpensive change and that can fundamentally change whether or not a patient can manage their chronic health issues better, and that the patient probably wouldn’t have won that. knowledge by any other means. This program absolutely benefits the patients, and it absolutely benefits the students. “
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