Art and nursing students team up

Washburn graphic art students and the School of Nursing have teamed up to create a new look for Collaborative Outreach Advancing Community Health (COACH). COACH is a mobile unit–a large box van–used by the nursing program to provide outreach and simulation training for smaller hospitals and rural areas.

“We mostly provide help and training to critical access hospitals,” said Kathy Ure, director of mobile simulation and community education. “Hospitals like the ones in Holton and Hiawatha are considered ‘critical access.’ They’re small and don’t have the same kind of staff on hand that bigger hospitals like St. Francis does.”

The new $3,000 vinyl wrap for the mobile unit comes from a grant from St. Francis Hospital. Ideas for the new design started in early March, and the van is expected to be finished by April 28.

“We had a very aggressive timeline,” said Ure. “I thought, ‘how do we make this program very interdisciplinary?’ First, we sat down with the students and just brainstormed. They came up with some really great ideas, took those home and produced this wonderful design.”

The three students who worked on this project are graphic arts major Katie Child, mass media major Rob Peters, and fine arts major Samantha Hays. Child and Peters are senior, and Hays is a junior.

“It was pretty neat working on this project,” said Peters. “I think it will look really good. I think the community will like it.”

After the designs were refined, they were presented to a board of hospital officials, including the C.E.O. of St. Francis Hospital for the final word.

“They loved it,” said Ure. “I don’t think a team of professional graphic designers could’ve done a better job. It looks fabulous.”

The vinyl wrap is scheduled to be finalized on Saturday, April 28. On the 28th is a “Day of Dance” event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lee Arena. The event will “be an opportunity for families to come and learn about cardiovascular issues, and heart disease.” The event is sponsored by St. Francis and Kansas First News. Vendors, contests and special videos will be part of the day’s events.

“We’re premiering the van’s new look then, because we want to give Topeka and surrounding areas a picture of what we’re doing,” said Ure.

According to Ure, a good community base is important, especially with a health care outreach provider such as COACH.

“To me, it’s very important that this mobile unit is an expression and validation of the collaboration at Washburn that happens every day,” said Ure.

Ure said she couldn’t have accomplished this project without a little bit of help.

“This whole program has been a joy to work on,” said Ure. “The students have an opportunity to go out and be part of the community, and the community looks back positively at Washburn. It’s a win-win.”

Ure had a few people to thank by the end of the COACH project.

“A huge thank you goes out to [Child], [Peters] and [Hays],” said Ure. “They took a chance and ran with it. It’s not easy presenting to hospital and school administration and leaders. They did a fantastic job all-around.”

Ure would also like to thank Tom Harrington, a photographer for the group working with the mobile unit.