Thirty area high school students, including seven from Brillion High School, visited Theda Clark Medical Center recently and spent the morning learning about various career opportunities in the surgical field. The students watched a video of a “lap choly,” which is short for a laparoscopic cholecystectomy or gallbladder removal. The procedure involves the surgeon making small incisions through the stomach and then a video camera and surgical tools are passed through the cuts. The camera allows the surgeon to manipulate instruments and remove the gallbladder without cutting the abdominal muscles. Dr. Patrick Brennan, a general surgeon, stopped by to further explain the procedure and talk with the group. Other Theda Clark staff that helped make the event possible included a staff development educator/RN, surgical RN, and a surgical technologist. The students also benefitted from hearing how each of the staff ended up in their chosen field and the education requirements of various roles.
Then the students tested their skills. They rotated through four stations that were very hands-on. One taught the basics of keeping a sterile field while applying a surgical gown and two pairs of gloves—it was a lot harder than it looked! The second station put surgical tools in the hands of the students as they tried to maneuver a camera and laparoscopic wand to pick up a piece of candy that was deep inside of a covered cardboard box. Another gave participants the opportunity to use instruments utilized in a neuro craniotomy and spine surgery, while the final station displayed many of the rods, plates and pins used to treat broken bones in the orthopedic field.
Judy Christianson, family and consumer education teacher at Brillion High, attended with her students and said, “The students received outstanding opportunities for hands-on experiences in the medical area with an emphasis on the surgical aspect. In the classroom, we can only talk about it or maybe show a video, but the Theda Clark seminar gave the students incredible experiences. Our students left so in awe and enriched.”
The event was held as part of the Fox Valley HealthCare Alliance (FVHCA) Career Experience Event program. For more information on the FVHCA or student experiences at ThedaCare, please contact Jen Meyer, ThedaCare Education Consultant, at email@example.com or visit www.fvhca.org.
By Jen Meyer, M.Ed.
ThedaCare Education Consultant