A new pilot program is bringing Arizona State University pre-med students into an Emergency Department to learn the best ways to communicate with Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center patients.

Ten students from ASU’s Pre-Health Internship Program recently began serving as “lay navigators” in the ED at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert. Throughout this semester, they’ll spend time developing their skills interacting with patients while under guidance of medical professionals. For example, students will help in updating patients on wait times for treatment, assessing their comfort needs, and communicating their needs or concerns to appropriate staff members.

“This is a great opportunity for us to partner with future physicians in communication and interactions with patients and share the role of nursing in the coordination of care ,” said Julie Segovia, clinical administrative director at Banner MD Anderson and Banner Gateway.

Students will also learn about the patient-focused culture of Banner Health, with a firsthand look at how the non-profit organization’s values are demonstrated through the actions of its employees.

Student James Hosobe, 25, said the chance to learn in the Emergency Department at Banner Gateway especially resonates with him. One of his close family members was treated there for heart complications and has fully recovered. Hosobe said the internship will help him develop core values, such as compassion, which he’ll use throughout his future medical career.

“Already, I’ve had experiences that range the full spectrum with patients. Some don’t want to talk at all, because they’re in pain, and others just want an ear to listen,” Hosobe said. “It’s very important to learn the best ways to communicate with patients when they need help the most.”

Interns will spend eight hours each week at the hospital. Success of the program will be determined by factors such as patient satisfaction and effective communication.

For more information about ASU clinical partnerships, visit https://clinicalpartnerships.asu.edu/phip.

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, located on the Banner Gateway campus, delivers cancer care to patients in Arizona through the collaboration of Banner Health and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner MD Anderson offers focused disease-specific expertise in the medical, radiation and surgical management of the cancer patient; an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to patient care; access to clinical trials and new investigative therapies; state-of-the-art technology for the diagnosis, staging and treatment of all types of cancer; oncology expertise in supportive care services. For more information, visit www.BannerMDAnderson.com.