Lancaster – Students in Susan Shea's "Contemporary Problems in Health Care" class have been exposed to "toxic waste" in an effort to get them thinking differently. The class did an exercise called "Toxic Waste" last week which examined team building, critical thinking and problem solving.
"The students were asked to pretend a bucket in the middle of the room contained toxic waste," said Shea. "They then had to remove the bucket without going into the dump area and without touching it. They also had to safely dispose of the bucket's contents without touching the bucket or the contents inside."
Shea presented the exercise to the class and told them to work together to figure out what to do. There were several items they were permitted to use to figure things out, including a rope and a hook. Two students immediately came forward saying the rope could be used to push the bucket over to the side of the dump area.
"It helps to communicate with the entire group," Shea reminded the students during the exercise. "Slow and steady wins the race."
Student Frankie Redmond was one of the two students who stepped forward first. He said their initial attempt failed because they weren't working with other members of the class.
"I learned you need more than two people to get a toxic waste basket out of a toxic waste environment." said Redmond.
"The idea is to have students use the resources they have to think about what they should do," said Shea. "They have to utilize all the expertise they have to solve the problem."
The students used part of Redmond's original idea and used the rope to push the bucket to the side of the dump. Then they used the hook to pick up the bucket and safely dispose of the bucket's contents.
"This exercise really helps with communication," said Shea. "It helps with group communication and critical thinking. Those are skills they will need in the health care field."