Medical Assistant Students: Spreading the Word One ‘Yuck’ at a Time

Published on January 14, 2015 by arothstein

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Medical assistant students with their microbiology and urinalysis posters.

Last month, medical assistant students at Broadview University-Boise used a visual “yuck factor” to share what they learned in their Microbiology and Urinalysis class with students, staff, faculty and other visitors who walked through the doors.

The students had made a Play-Doh representation of the urinary system earlier in the quarter, and they put it on a poster with additional information about urinary tract infections and kidney diseases.

“People are visually inclined,” said Mystie Weber, a medical assistant student.

For another poster, the students took samples from different surfaces around campus—door handles, elevator buttons, railings, as well as a stapler and three-hole punch in the library—and grew the bacteria from them in petri dishes.

“We had different choices and we liked these best,” said medical assistant student Christine Dillree. “They let people see them with their eyes, and it freaks them out.”

Added Mystie: “People walk past them and think, that’s disgusting.”

The students also thought that the samples in the petri dishes might call attention to preventative steps to stop the spread of germs.

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A closer look at the microbiology poster.

“We usually emphasize hand washing and overall cleanliness,” said Christine. “You should never touch your face after touching a surface.”

Fellow classmate Alison Van Engelen agreed.

“Touching your face afterward spreads germs. The body is fascinating. There’s so many aspects that we haven’t begun to touch,” she said.

The medical students’ posters did impact Jon Taylor, a director of career services.

“I looked at the displays, and it was disgusting,” said Jon. “They asked where they should take samples of germs, and I told them door knobs or handles. And not the receiver on the reception desk phone because then I’ll be scared to use it.”

The yuckiest surface that surprised Jon was the drinking fountain.

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