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Knox Students Gain Skills at Pre-Medical Immersion Course

Knox Students Gain Skills at Pre-Medical Immersion Course

Six Knox College students who are aiming for careers in health care gained hands-on experiences in the medical field during a two-week summer immersion program at the Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center in Peoria.

The program, which is designed to give students an idea of what it would be like to attend medical school, taught them a variety of teamwork and clinical skills. For example, they learned how to read electrocardiograms, how to suture wounds, and how to conduct physical examinations.

"I have definitely improved on my ability to interact with patients," said Eric Stevens '18, a biology major who plans to apply to medical school. "Communication is key in this program because team effort is necessary for proper and effective health care."

Shortly before the two-week program ended, participants were tested on what they learned, and awards were given to the best performers. Alex Yee ‘20 and Eli Adams ‘19 received awards for technical performance on the skills portions of the examinations. They earned the highest scores as students read electrocardiograms (ECGs) and practiced suturing in a test of proficiency.

Michaela Kowalewski '20 won the overall award for performance across all domains as tested on the Objective Structured Clinical Examination, which evaluates multiple skills, such as clinical reasoning and reading ECGs. All students received certificates for successfully completing the pre-medical immersion course.

"I have had so many amazing hands-on experiences in the past two weeks," said Kowalewski, a neuroscience major. "I have learned to suture, how to communicate with patients, conduct physical exams, read electrocardiograms, respond in emergent situations and work in a health care team."

"My experiences have been astonishing in volume and versatility including observing open heart surgery on a cadaver, doing a coronary bypass surgery on a pig heart, and doing high-tech simulations to test and reinforce the skills we learned in the course," she added.

Yee, a biology major, said the Jump program provided her a great opportunity to explore the medical world.

"This experience has solidified my love for helping others, and devoting my life and career to that," she said. "We were able to watch mock surgeries on cadavers and experience different [virtual reality] modules. The technology and resources that they have at Jump are phenomenal."

Photos courtesy of OSF HealthCare

Adams, who is double-majoring in neuroscience and visual culture theory, said the hands-on experiences at Jump enable students to make mistakes and learn from them.

"I think the uniqueness and rigor of Jump are pretty one-of-a-kind, and the range of basic skills it provided us were helpful in starting to determine whether the medical field is really right for us," said Adams, who hopes to become a surgeon. "And if so, which is the best means of getting there and the best way of being part of the field once you make it."

The Jump simulation center is a collaboration of OSF HealthCare and the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.

Knox students who participated in the 2018 pre-medical immersion program were Eli Adams, Brittany Downer, Michaela Kowalewski, Eric Stevens, Walter Wood, and Alex Yee.

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Printed on Sunday, July 14, 2024