Apprentice Day introduces teens to careers related to medical school

The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) hosted its second Apprentice Day on Feb. 13 as part of the school’s “Loving Our Mission” week of events.

The program brought 40 high school students from 12 West Virginia counties to Lewisburg to explore careers associated with medical school. Students participated in hands-on demonstrations led by various WVSOM departments.

National Apprentice Day connects young people to their dream jobs regardless of income, race, gender, educational performance, impairment or disability. Christina Entenmann, executive director of the nonprofit organization’s West Virginia chapter, said the program aims to help close America’s skills gap by giving young people an early look at potential careers.

“It gets them out of the classroom and into a workforce setting,” Entenmann said. “We’re trying to get them thinking about this when they’re young so that they can go to a trade school or figure out what they want to study in college.”

As the day began, WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., spoke to participants, providing a brief history of osteopathic medicine. He explained that those who wish to pursue a medical career should begin preparing in high school. “It’s a long process, but it’s one of the greatest professions, because physicians make a difference in the lives of patients every day,” he said.

WVSOM’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs allowed students to gain experience in several areas of research. Led by Jandy Hanna, Ph.D., participants employed tools such as calipers and microscopes to investigate differences in anatomy related to function, blood-testing kits to learn about antigens, and an EKG machine to show how physiological monitoring illustrates differences in heart rate before and after exercise.

The school’s Clinical Evaluation Center staff demonstrated human-patient simulators, explaining that the interactive learning tools can be adjusted to mimic a variety of conditions and can be programmed to cry, perspire and produce different heart and vocal sounds. The simulators also can replicate sophisticated human actions such as reacting to medication, giving birth or experiencing a heart attack.

Staff from WVSOM’s Rural Health Initiative and Center for Rural and Community Health taught participants how to recognize an emergency, alert an emergency response team and perform hands-only CPR until responders arrive. Students also learned basic first aid skills such as cleaning wounds, administering first aid for basic burns, stabilizing possible fractures, recognizing symptoms of shock and managing hyperthermia.

Students had the opportunity to listen to the sounds of the heart through infrared stethoscopes and to learn about osteopathic manipulative treatment. Dr. Bob Foster, WVSOM’s associate dean for osteopathic medical education, and Dr. Robert Pepper, associate dean for predoctoral clinical education, led this session.

Employees in the school’s marketing and communications department divided students into teams focusing on photography, design and content. Together, the teams composed a postcard advertising Apprentice Day, with participants choosing photographs and textual content and writing an accompanying headline.

Jarron Chapman, a student at Charleston’s George Washington High School, said the event confirmed his interest in someday attending medical school. He particularly enjoyed learning about WVSOM’s human-patient simulators and said he plans to work harder in high school after experiencing Apprentice Day.

“I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, but at the same time I’ve had some doubts,” he said. “I came to this with the idea that seeing what I would have to do while I’m at school would help me decide, and so far it’s working. It’s given me more incentive to go to medical school.”

Date Added: 
Friday, March 8, 2019