Students Offer Solutions for Workday Relief at Cedar Community

By Carrie Sturn, marketing director, Cedar Community. Used by permission.

The Assignment

The students with their display model.

West Bend East and West High School (Wisconsin) seniors Gianna Hemauer, Owen Kolkema, Alex Lance, Monique Schnabel, Erica Thill, and Jake Williams are all enrolled in their schools’ Biomedical Innovations course. The group was tasked with the mission to redesign a healthcare space to improve its function, make it more efficient, and increase safety. They chose Cedar Community in West Bend, thanks to Thill. As a certified nursing assistant working at Cedar Community, student Erica Thill experienced firsthand the stressors of caring for people as a medical professional — especially during the pandemic. She suggested the group take on the challenge of creating and designing a “cool down” room where Cedar Community team members could decompress, relax, and rejuvenate during breaks or after work.

This capstone assignment served as the culmination of four years of academic and experiential learning for the students, who were given the opportunity to gain hands-on and problem-solving experiences not available in traditional science courses.

The Design

The model was displayed during the students’ presentation.

The design proposal addressed the following questions: Would team members utilize the space? What should be in the room? What is the budget for the project? Ideas included massage chairs, foot massagers, nature-related items (pictures, plants, sound machine, etc.), comfortable furniture/places to rest, dim lights, snacks/drinks, television, fridge, foosball and ping pong tables, and even pods for a quick nap and refresh. The room is divided into two spaces — one for games and activities — the other for relaxation and rest.

The Process

Students met with Cedar Community team members via Zoom for their initial contact and to brainstorm ideas for the assignment. Members from Cedar Community’s human resources and nursing divisions provided input and guidance on budgeting, as well as available space and additional relaxation ideas. Students shared their presentation and three-dimensional model with Cedar Community team members in November 2022.

Although the students’ plan isn’t currently in Cedar Community’s budget, the staff appreciated the time and thoughtfulness the students put into the project.

“Cedar Community appreciates the opportunity to provide students with an experiential learning activity that addresses real-world challenges. This project will empower them to gain the additional skills they need to pursue a career in the medical field, and help them thrive in their future endeavors,” said Jen Fullhart, director of assisted living.

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