Finding Patients for Clinical Hours
Feb. 14, 2017
Many of our Concorde health care training programs include a set amount of clinical hours in the curriculum so that students can get as much real-world, hands-on experience as they can before graduating and beginning a career. To successfully complete those clinical hours, students need patients with which to work and practice their skills.
Some of our programs have an easier time finding patients than others. For instance, many of our campuses have public Dental Hygiene clinics which welcome people off the streets and in surrounding neighborhoods to come in for low-cost dental services. Other programs, however, can be a bit more challenging.
That's why several of our Concorde program directors have come up with some creative solutions for supplying our students with willing clinical patients.
Community outreach for Massage Therapy
Robin Blaisdell, MS, LMT 969, Massage Therapy Instructor for Concordes campus in Southaven, Miss., said it's sometimes difficult to find the clients the school's students need to get their massage therapy certification. They look to their community for help, she said.
"I think reaching out to the community may be a good first step to recruit people to come in," Blaisdell said. "For example, we are a county of seven towns, and each town has fire and police. It would be great if we could reach out to the captains of each department and invite them in for complimentary student massages. Or, we could have a 'keeping yourself healthy day' when our students go to these offices and do chair massages."
Another idea, Blaisdell said, is to use commemorative days honoring certain groups of people and offer free massages to that group.
"We could do that with our teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week around May 7-13," she said. "We have great teachers at our campus and really great teachers in our public schools. As it's tax time, we could reach out to (certified public accountants) and we will have a new class in clinic around that time."
More community outreach in Dental Hygiene
Alissa Sanchez, Dental Hygiene Program Director at Concordes Kansas City, Mo. campus, said her clinic uses a referral system to keep the clients coming through the doors.
"Fortunately, finding patients for our clinic is really not an issue, since we developed a referral program from Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center," she said. "However, there are still those times when students have specific competencies to complete or are looking for the 'perfect' patient to take to clinical boards."
Sanchez said, during those times, she recommends students keep copies of the Concorde Dental Hygiene appointment card with them with their first names written on the front.
"Students need to get out of their comfort zone and talk to people about the services the clinic offers," Sanchez said. "Too many people, dentistry is a luxury that they simply cannot afford. By reaching out to their server at a restaurant, a neighbor, daycare providers and such, they are likely providing new information about otherwise inaccessible care and helping themselves at the same time."
At the Dental Hygiene clinic at Concordes campus in Aurora, Colo., advertising flyers are placed in the clinic and around campus.
"We have met with the (University of Colorado) Dental School for referrals, and they are wonderful to us," said Diana Gengozian, RDA EDDA, Dental Hygiene Clinic Coordinator in Aurora. "Of course, there's word of mouth and the VA. Our students do market, but it's a very small amount."