The importance of improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education has become a popular topic in recent years. It is clear, however, that the STEM education that today’s high school students and some undergraduates’ programs receive rarely mirrors what individuals in STEM careers do. Students are focused more on memorization than in identifying problems and finding ways to solve them (Harland, 2011). In this case, we would focus on chronic diseases that could lead to end-stage renal disease, like diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. Nowadays, United States has an incidence rate of 350 cases per million (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). Therefore, this exposition pretends to report the outcomes of a one week STEM program focused on high school and undergraduate students. This STEM program is aimed at showing students all the components of a CKD patient’s care that has hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis as a modality treatment. The educational program includes a diversity of topics: bioethics, standard precautions, CDC guidelines, a dialysis perspective in United States and Puerto Rico, CKD preventives measures, importance of a complete blood count, stations rotations (dialysis machines, health fair and water system), pathophysiology of kidney disease, clinical manifestations of CKD, adequate nutrition, electrolytes imbalances in ESRD, hemodialysis related infections and basic concepts of bioinformatics related to CKD. This educational program promotes awareness of the epidemic rates of chronic diseases that could lead to end-stage renal disease, for example, Puerto Rico has 5,400 dialysis patients more compared to 27 other states (Kentucky, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona) (QIRN, 2014). We seek to create conscience of the harmful consequences that renal diseases can bring, with this clinical and theoretical program we expose future professionals to the reality that these patients live daily.
A non-experimental exploratory quantitative design will be used with a sample of 26 high school and undergraduates’ students selected through a non-probabilistic sampling of an accidental or convenience type. At the end of the course, all students were given an evaluative questionnaire to describe the effectiveness of the STEM program. All individuals had a maximum of 30 minutes to complete the evaluation. The researchers will then collect the questionnaires that will be identified by numerical coding.