Nursing Students Design 3D Printed Pill Boxes for HIV/AIDS Patients

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Pill-bottles-7-8-11-2Living with HIV/AIDS is significantly less difficult than it has ever been before, but that doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park. In addition to the health repercussions, there is still a strong social stigma attached to the disease that causes many of those living with it to be desirous of not announcing their status. For those looking to keep their treatment discrete, the necessity of taking a large number of pills throughout the day, sometimes as many as 30, can lead to unwanted questions or awkward conversations.

To address this problem of medication bottles, graduating nursing students from Caldwell University have developed a unique pillbox with these patients in mind. The students first were introduced to the problem as a part of Professor Aneesha Jean’s Community and Public Health course during this past spring semester. During the course, those enrolled spent their time working with patients receiving a wide variety of services offered by the Broadway House for Continuing Care in Newark, New Jersey. After reviewing data gathered from a poll of the facility’s clients, they recognized the stigma that many feel is associated with the traditional medicine bottle interferes with patient adherence to medication schedules. Rather than admonishing the patients or attempting to chide them into compliance, Professor Jean’s students decided that they would redesign the pill container to combat the issue.

pill-box-2Luckily, these students were also aware of the possibilities presented through 3D printing for iteration and execution of a design and their final product, a cylindrical, white container, was able to move from concept to creation without a hitch. This is a major accomplishment given that all too often the divide between those who know what is needed and those who are able to produce it works to prevent the creation of much needed simple solutions to everyday problems. The design was intended to be portable, neutral and peaceful, from the simplistic design to the white color (for peace).

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 10.47.32 PMDuring the course of their semester, the nursing students got to know the people at the clinic and their personal investment in these patients both helped them to remember why they chose nursing as a career path and how important it is to help people have dignity no matter the situation. This doesn’t necessarily come from doing everything for the other person but rather by helping them to see the ways in which they can accomplish things for themselves. As Professor Jean explained:

“[An important lesson lies] in patient empowerment. Learning how to give patients the tools to help themselves. It was a powerful experience for the students to be able to grow as nursing professionals.”

This is a lesson that was not lost on nursing student Jamie Tangredi who felt the course was a significant reminder of why they decided to invest in a nursing education in the first place:

“You may not be able to cure a patient’s situation, but you can make his or her day better and contribute to helping them look to the future with hope.”

pill-box-group

The nursing students who designed the pill boxes

Graduating seniors in the course included Charlotte Goyea, Jonaryis Reyna, Valentina Centeno, Corrine Dudas, Mario Lardizabal, Erica Malacas, Shannon Scariff, Jessica Scarpelli and Jamie Tangredi. Dr. Janet Chance-Hetzler was the Caldwell clinical faculty member for Broadway House, and the students worked on their design with interim director of Jennings LIbrary Ellen Johnston. Discuss further in the 3D Printed Pill Box forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Source/Images: Caldwell University]

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