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Penn College Provides Timely Workshop Topics to Health Care Pros

Suicide prevention training was a lead topic when the School of Health Sciences at Pennsylvania College of Technology hosted a continuing education workshop for health care professionals who serve as educators to the college’s students while they complete rotations at area health care facilities.

According to recent data, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the United States among 15- to 24-year-olds.

“Suicide has affected our communities, including Penn College, in a very disturbing way,” said Barbara J. Natell, director of the college’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program and one of the coordinators for the workshop. “The problem is escalating to epidemic proportions. Anything we can do to heighten awareness and interventions – with prevention at its core – should be promoted.”

Penn College’s Brian J. Schurr, counselor, and Jen Hammond, coordinator of tutoring, lead a session on suicide awareness and intervention for the health professionals who help to educate Penn College health sciences students during clinical rotations at area health care facilities.
Penn College’s Brian J. Schurr, counselor, and Jen Hammond, coordinator of tutoring, lead a session on suicide awareness and intervention for the health professionals who help to educate Penn College health sciences students during clinical rotations at area health care facilities.
Barbara J. Natell
Barbara J. Natell

Jacklyn R. Leitzel and Brian J. Schurr, both counselors at Penn College, led sessions on “QPR” training. QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer. Schurr and Leitzel – with Jen Hammond, the college’s coordinator of tutoring, and Katie L. Mackey, coordinator of off-campus living and commuter services – guided the clinical educators in understanding the warning signs of suicide and then taking those QPR steps: first, asking the person whether they are thinking of killing themselves; persuading the person that he or she is not without hope; and third, referring him or her to help.

Asking a person whether he or she is considering suicide is not easy, Schurr acknowledged.

“There’s always a level of anxiety with asking this question, even for people who do this all the time,” he said. “The words you use matter a lot less than the feeling they give.”

During a morning session, Daniel K. Christopher, assistant professor of business administration/health information technology, provided a session on medical coding and billing. Among his topics, Christopher highlighted updates to coding and taught the health care providers how to advocate for patients by having supporting documentation to prove insurance claims’ medical necessity.

The professional development sessions were provided free for clinical educators in all of the college’s health sciences majors. Educators for occupational therapy assistant and radiography students were able to gain continuing education units for their attendance.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.