UA Medical School gives community a peek behind the scenes

An attendee of a Mini-Med event at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix learns about the medical assessment of pregnant women Nov. 1, 2017. (Nicole Neri/DD)

The University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix gave community members and future medical students an interactive peek behind the scenes of medical school Wednesday.

The event was modeled after the hands-on activities medical students do in the school’s stimulation lab. The lab opened in 2012 and models an actual hospital to allow students to use new medical technology to get stimulation practice managing real life medical scenarios.

“We are able to practice a lot of the skills that we need to use in a critical situation, under a simulated setting where we can’t actually hurt a patient,” second year medical student Dylan Sabb said. “It lets us practice things, work out kinks, learn what we did wrong, learn what we did right and then when we go interact with a patient, perhaps we got some more comfort or security because we’ve practiced it beforehand.”

Sabb ran the event and worked with guests as they rotated through the six different stations. There were tables for suturing, scrubbing in, surgical knots, cardiology, obstetrics and Q&A with current medical students.

Medical students staffed the event, demonstrating to community members how to do procedures and guiding them through completing it on their own.

“I think it’s pretty amazing because you get close to what the beginning of medical school is like,” college junior and pre-med student Eladio Albornoz said. “It’s a good entrance to what you can expect.”

An attendee of a Mini-Med event at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix learns to tie surgical knots Nov. 1, 2017. (Nicole Neri/DD)

Participants worked through the stimulation activities and had to overcome challenges similar to what medical students and actual doctors experience

Working through these challenging medical situations in simulations allows medical students to gain confidence and focus on important health practices, such as patient care, beyond just how to do the procedure.

“It’s important to recognize the potential of technology to help in the background, and let the patient-physician interaction really thrive,” Sabb said.

The university had over 300 people sign up, which is the most they have ever had for any of their monthly mini-med school event, according to Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Marian Frank.

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Sabb and other university officials accredited this to the new format the university used for the event. Previously, events were primarily lecture with an interactive portion at the end. Sabb had the idea to make the event even more interactive to give participants a medical school experience they probably cannot get elsewhere.

“This one we just kind of wanted to revamp it a little bit and give people a better chance to get some hands on practice,” Sabb said. “So, I pulled some different specialties and different skills that you learn in those specialties to give people a chance that they wouldn’t have gotten to do otherwise.”

The university’s program coordinator April Fischer said this event gave the school and medical students an opportunity to interact with the surrounding community.

“We do have some high-schoolers here, we do have some pre-med students here, so the idea is they can have access up close and personal to one, the medical school activities and two, the medical students,” Fischer said. “That really makes a huge difference to that audience.”

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