By Debra Berglund, Health Care Management Program Chair
When the quarter started, my Case Studies in Health Care Administration class at Minnesota School of Business-St. Cloud started talking about the applied learning project right away. I wanted the students to make all the decisions as a team, and so I started by having them brainstorm some ideas.
One of the students, Melody Hansen, met with Jenny Zimmer at Good Shepherd, and Jenny suggested doing a Casino Night. Melody brought this back to the class, and everyone was in agreement on this being their project. They selected Melody to be the project manager. From there, the project really took off, and it was great to see the students get so excited about this project as they planned the event.
On the night of the event, students decorated the events room with casino-inspired decorations. They had snacks for the attendees and a table for the baskets. We were told to expect only about 15 residents since it was a week night; however, we had approximately 25 residents there.
As an instructor, it was amazing to sit back and watch the students work that night. It was fun to hear the students and residents laughing and having such a great time, and it was awesome to see the kindness with which the students interacted with the residents. One of the students, Cassie Berttula, spent the entire evening with one of the Memory Care residents. The Memory Care staff told Jenny how happy the resident was when she got back to the unit that night.
In the end, all of the residents left that night with a prize, and the students left that night with a sense happiness at being able to spend time with the residents and wanting to go back there again. As an instructor that was great to hear.
One of the objectives in this class is for the students to learn and understand strategic management. Through the planning and hosting of this event, the students came to understand the ups and downs of planning an event, and strategic planning was a key component to making this event the success it was.
The skills I noticed utilized in this project are the abilities to effectively communicate, be flexible and adaptable, take initiative and ownership, collaborate, coordinate, organize, plan, make decisions, problem-solve, research, implement and evaluate. Our energy level was high, we demonstrated a strong work ethic and integrity, and our confidence showed during the process. All of this was evident and reflected by a successful, enjoyable event.
Throughout this project, I learned that in order to pull off these events, it is important to come up with a plan, get together as a group and make sure that all questions are asked so that we can make it the best event possible. Management is necessary when it comes to these group projects as well because without someone in charge, this project would have probably never been as good as it was.
The most valuable piece of this whole project was teamwork. The reason the night was a success was that each member of the team gave wholly to their role.
The group project was a fun and rewarding experience, while giving me an opportunity to have some hands-on experience in finding out exactly how much work actually goes into what would seem to be a simple event at a long-term care facility.
The coordination required to provide an hour-long event in a long-term care facility is absolutely amazing. Having never worked in one before, this experience gave me so much perspective regarding aspects of providing quality of life activities to the residents, including issues such as safety precautions, rights to privacy and emotional risks.
To make a project turn out, “teamwork” is the key tool. Everyone has to provide input and be part of the strategic planning and management.
The residents left with smiles on their face, the volunteer coordinator was eager to tell us it turned out amazing, and the students all left talking about it.
To begin, this was another project that I was really proud of. There has not been a single project that I haven’t completed here at Minnesota School of Business that I haven’t been proud of! It was very rewarding, and it was great to see a smile on not only every single resident’s face, but also all us as students!
Projects like this are so rewarding.
Being part of the planning and participating in the casino game night event at the Good Shepherd was an amazing experience. It was incredible to be able to provide this exciting event that was different than other events that the residents usually participate in. And the overall reaction of the residents with the games, decorations and prizes was incredible to witness and be a part of.
This event was so much fun for everyone that was involved because so many people were affected by it as well. This opportunity gave the chance for a lot of individuals and businesses to give back to the community and ability to provide a small token of gratitude for our senior community. Not just because we had to do something for this project, but also because we wanted to.