Finding someone who has never given a blood sample for some medical test will be a tough task today. Such is the importance of hematology or blood testing. But blood is a complex mixture of many different components. Cell types alone account for a wide compositional diversity – red blood cells, multiple types of white blood cells, and platelets. And each type of cell has a very specific function that can alter a patient’s physiology and pathophysiology.
Therefore, from an educator’s perspective, hematology as a topic of study is just as complicated as the composition of blood. How can one get students excited about hematology, while ensuring that they develop a strong hold over the subject matter?
Here, we list five ways to teach the fundamentals of hematology to your students in a fun and stimulating manner.
Complicated concepts become even more challenging to grasp when students do not get to participate in the teaching process. It helps when students can interact freely with the subject matter as opposed to simply listening to a one-way lecture. One way to ensure this is by utilizing interactive models to communicate the concepts.
For example, Labster’s hematology simulation creates an interactive landscape for the students. Here, they learn about hematology techniques like peripheral blood smear, Giemsa staining, and complete blood count analysis. They also get the opportunity to interactively apply these techniques to diagnose different blood disorders in three virtual patients.
We often underestimate the role of games and activities in learning. But collaborative games and activities can prove to be better teaching strategies than whiteboards and markers. Their utility is even more significant when the subject matter is hematology, which involves multiple different but equally important entities.
For example, students can engage in a competitive cell counting exercise after performing Giemsa staining. In this activity, both time and accuracy of the counting process will determine the winner. Through this fun activity, the students will learn about the meanings of the different colors in Giemsa staining. At the same time, they will also learn about the different types of blood cells.
Technologies like animation and virtual reality have the power to revolutionize the teaching landscape for students and educators alike. Such technologies encourage immersive visual learning, through which students are able to retain the subject matter better.
Labster’s hematology simulation, for example, uses immersive 3D animations to teach students about different blood components and their respective functions. In our simulation, the students try their hands on preparing blood smears of multiple virtual patients. They use an automatic hematology analyzer to analyze these blood samples and learn about the different measurements the device provides.
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Hematological tests are so pervasive in our lives that hematology as a field of study has generated countless career opportunities. Creating awareness about the opportunities hematology can offer them in the future is an inspired way to teach your students.
Highly trained professionals like hematologists and hematopathologists pursue fruitful medical careers, performing blood tests, diagnosing blood-related disorders, and performing treatments. Blood bank technicians also perform hematological tests to identify abnormal or diseased blood samples. Connecting hematology with various possible career options will inspire the students to learn and explore this topic.
Hematology is one field that we can never avoid. We will always depend on it, whether as practitioners or patients. As an educator, this makes your task easier – because you have numerous real-world hematology applications to discuss with your students. Associating a scientific topic like hematology with real-world applications will provide your students with some perspective and make learning exciting.
Tell your students how complete blood counts help figure out if a patient has an infection or a blood-related disease. Impress upon them how blood counts routinely help save lives in the world of medicine. Even if your students decide to not delve into biomedical sciences careerwise, hematology is one class they should always remember. Tell them how studying hematology can help them understand their own (or their loved ones’) blood reports in the future.
The complexities of bloodwork demand unique teaching methods to ensure that students remain engaged and become receptive to new information. The out-of-the-box teaching techniques we have discussed here can make hematology easier to relate to, and fun to learn.
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