In the spotlight - Physiology labs

After a year of corona interruption, the physiology practicals restarted at the end of September. Students from various programs can once again experience in practice what they learn in theory during lectures.

Fysiologie practica foto 1

The practical sessions are taking place for the first time in the brand new rooms on the Heymans campus (Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty). The building was put into use at the beginning of this year and will house as many (lab) practices from the various programs of the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences as possible. The classrooms are spacious and allow for plenty of light. At the start of the academic year the students have to find their way because they are not familiar with the campus and the building. The lab assistants also have to get used to it because they now have to share the rooms with other labs. This means that before and after each use all the equipment has to be set up and put away again. This requires more organization and discipline. To make the set-ups ready for use, the TOWO colleagues have made them plug-in mobile as much as possible.

Physiology practicals are organized for several courses within the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences. At the moment we went to take a look, there was one going on for students 2nd bachelor Medicine in connection with the course Nervous system and senses. Later this semester, labs for Dental and Audiological Sciences students will be scheduled. Several more are scheduled for the Biomedical Sciences program in the second semester. Students can experience and measure physiological phenomena themselves using various setups and tests, depending on the subject. We saw students measuring reflex and reaction time, muscle contraction and eye measurements, but there are also practicals given, for example, on spirometry, EKG and arterial blood pressure.

Fysiologie practica foto 3

The physiology lecturers (Prof. Bosmans, Prof. De Hert, Prof. Labro, Prof. Leybaert and Prof. Wouters) determine which practicals are applicable to their students. However, the assistants Jolien De Waele and Hanane Tahiri are responsible for the organizational development. They always guide small groups of students (30 to 35 students per session) to get started with the constellations. Besides helping students on their way, answering their questions in between sessions and giving feedback, they also have to continuously supervise certain practical components. Hanane and Jolien get support for each session from 1 or 2 student assistants. These are students who preferably followed the practical the year before and are selected on the basis of motivation and CV. They receive a short training beforehand and can come and practice before the start of the practicum series to get a good grip on the set-ups.

Fysiologie practica foto 2

Due to the large and still increasing number of students in the various courses of the faculty, the same practical has to be repeated often to give all students the opportunity to go through the various parts. During the class weeks, this means several practicum moments per week supervised by the assistants. In total there will be +/- 1000 students this academic year. Even before the corona pandemic, the decision was made to convert certain practical components into an online session. The theoretical introduction that used to be repeated orally for each group has now been transformed into a presentation that the students have to read online beforehand. In this way, they can immediately get to work during the practical sessions themselves. The students we spoke to appreciate this way of working because they can absorb the theory at their own pace and have something to hold on to in preparation for the exam, where questions about the practical can be asked.