Simulation Inspires High School Students
High school students get hands-on experience with virtual dissection table, suturing and laproscopic box trainers featuring gaming technology.
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Over the summer of 2015, Eric Goreschak, 17, visited Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus several times to see his family member who was being treated for cancer.
“Seeing how kind and professional everyone was made me feel really good that he was treated here,” says Goreschak.
A senior at the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida, Goreschak recently had the opportunity to return to Mayo Clinic with 25 anatomy classmates for a hands-on visit. The students spent the day at the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Simulation Center learning about advanced technologies and innovations that help physicians, researchers and other medical employees.
Community outreach with schools is part of the mission of the Simulation Center, says Delaney La Rosa, Medical Education/Simulation Center.
Since it opened in 2013, the center has engaged nearly a dozen schools and education programs.
“Students need to be exposed to the universe of possibilities in medicine. We want to show them that there’s a bigger world than just being a doctor or nurse,” explains La Rosa. “We want them to learn about all aspects and find what fascinates them, whether it’s doing surgery or becoming the person who designs a scope.”
For Goreschak, who is considering a career in medicine, the virtual dissection table was the most fascinating. The $80,000 table enables users to make incisions and examine cross sections or reveal specific organs or isolated organ systems, muscle groups or skeletal structures by using an interactive touch screen.
Students also got hands-on experience doing sutures on a pig flank and used laproscopic box trainers featuring gaming technology that medical employees use to develop fine motor skills and surgical control.
The opportunity for students to visit Mayo Clinic is exciting, says Piper Moyer-Shad, director of Student Activities at Bolles and an anatomy teacher. “The esteem of this center enables students to connect with very busy doctors in the community in order to further their learning and interest in medicine.”
“Some of our students will come out of this visit and say, ‘I don’t want to be a doctor,’ but the technology makes them start thinking about doing something in biomedicine or biomedical engineering,” adds Moyer-Shad.
Following their visit, students can request to talk to or shadow a physician or other Florida employee to learn more about a specific technology or area of interest.
Though Goreschak isn’t sure what he wants to do in medicine yet, his visit certain spurred some ideas.
“I was very impressed with the center and its technology,” he says. “I am definitely thinking more about the technology and engineering side of medicine.”
Photo: Bollles School senior Eric Goreschak, second from right, participated in a visit to the Florida Simulation Center. He learns about the virtual dissection table with school nurse Linda Tyre, left, Chima Matthew, M.D., school pediatrician, Jesse Dove, Medical Education/Simulation Center, and Nancy Hazzar, chair of the science department.