- Campus Life
As technology advances, workplaces rapidly add new equipment to offices, factories and clinics. However, their employees still have the "same old human body," according to Patrick Carley, PT, DHA, MS, professor in the DPT program at American International College, Springfield, Mass. "The whole idea behind ergonomics is matching the person to the work." A new batch of ergonomic products are designed to help people work, garden, rest and move in different settings while avoiding pain, injury or lost productivity.
Second year DPT students enjoy some leisure time with PT faculty, Prof. Patty Quaglioroli (top, right)
It's called interdisciplinary learning when students from two different majors collaborate, and that's exactly what's going on in the School of Health Sciences.
Professor Sarah Waters fron OT developed this collaboration with the nursing program, and together with nursing lab instructor Dina Ditmar, and nursing professor Donna Polverini, Occupational Therapy students were able to get some hands-on experience in the art of moving patients. The OT students used the nursing lab to practice on "Hal" and the rest of the anatomically correct Sim patients.
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Students at American International are working on a project they hope will help American workers compete globally. The students, physical therapy majors, are studying the possibility of using exoskeletal assisting arms for workers in the manufacturing setting.
The students are working on the project for the toy and game maker Hasbro and Equipois, a Los Angeles-based company that manufactures patented exoskeletal arm technology to reduce injuries, increase productivity, and decrease costs in the workplace.
Physical Therapy student Michael Srokowski said the device increases productivity by decreasing muscle pressure and thus reducing injuries. "It's an anti gravity exoskeletal device that enables you to keep your arm upright and use less muscles in the trapezius area, thereby reducing risk of injury and increasing productivity."
AIC Physical Therapy professor Patrick Carley said the students were asked to evaluate the level of muscle activity, using electromyography, to assess the difference in effort from workers and more importantly, what settings would be the best to benefit those working on the line.
"The major problem that arose was the arm attachment. It was coming loose and disengaged from the workers. It was actually one of the students, Kate Olson in the PT program that came up with the solution. It took a month for the company to modify according to Kate's suggestions, but the outcome is easy to see ... it was a success!"
Carley said they will be going back into Hasbro to formalize the cost-benefit study to use this new equipment at a number of different levels.
Nursing and physical therapy students practice transferring a patient in our renovated nursing labs with the guidance of physical therapy faculty, Prof. Quagliaroli (standing right). See more photos.
Occupational therapy students get hands-on experience practicing splinting skills in our OT labs with the guidance of OT faculty, Prof. Waters (standing). See more photos.
Nursing students had the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in mental health nursing practice during a recent clinical simulation in our nursing labs. See more photos.