Nursing Students Use 3-D Printers in Innovation Projects

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On Dec. 5, sophomore nursing students presented innovation projects they designed and created using 3-D printers on campus.

At the beginning of the semester, Hannah Diggs, the instructional technology specialist in Technology Resources, and Mrs. Gloria Eoute of the nursing faculty gave the sophomore Fundamentals of Nursing class a crash course in innovation and 3-D medical printing before turning them loose to brainstorm as groups. Students were to focus on creating something that would be simple to design, solve a common problem and be able to print in a 3-D printer.

Eoute says, “We felt that developing a 3-D object would be a practical way for students to implement the nursing process—assessing a patient to determine a need, [planning] what interventions are needed and then implementing the plan and evaluating what was done. The process used for the Innovation project followed this plan!”

After narrowing their options, the students researched products similar to what they wanted to create. They also had to research the disabilities of the patients they were helping in order to defend their design.

Then came the hard, yet fun, part. Students designed and printed a prototype then redesigned based on feedback from Diggs, their instructors and healthcare professionals in the field.

The process culminated with group presentations to the clinicals class—and representatives from the nursing department and IT.

At the conclusion, Kelly Crum, chair of the Division of Nursing, said, “This director is really proud of this class.”

Added Matt Gardenghi from IT and Technology Resources: “This was the goal [of the innovation projects]—to help students to be creative and find ways to do [their job] better.”

Students said they learned multiple skills through the project such as teamwork, creative thinking and communication skills.

Click through the galleries to view the students’ projects!