When Ryan Hodge, a junior at Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, went to school April 24, he was not expecting to become a father.
But the Takoma Park student volunteered to play that role while Noel, an interactive mannequin at MedStar Health’s Simulation Training and Education Lab, in Washington, D.C. gave birth.
“I was terrified,” Ryan said, “I’m hoping I won’t be having a child for a long time.”
Ryan, who said he would like to become a nurse or a doctor, something that has to do with helping people in emergency situations, was one of 46 juniors and seniors from Blair who are planning to go into medical careers and spent the day at the training center. The group worked with interactive mannequins and other training tools to experience some of the techniques used by medical professionals.
“It enables them to get hands-on experience we couldn’t replicate in the classroom, “ said John Haigh, STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] lead teacher at the school. “It’s a wonderful experience for the kids. MedStar has been very gracious in letting us do this.”
In addition to watching Noel give birth, complete with cries of pain, “like on TV,” Ryan said, the students learned the basics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, (CPR), practiced suturing and knot tying and tested their eye-hand coordination with tools used in laparoscopic surgery within a patient’s body while viewing their movements on a monitor. For that the students had to use a device called Maryland Graspers to move plastic triangles they could only see on the monitor onto pegs they could also only see on the monitor.
“I really liked the peg transfer,” Naomi Tinkelman, a senior from Silver Spring, said. “It’s what I most imagine myself doing in the future.”
Naomi is planning to go to Boston University in the fall, majoring in biochemistry. She said she hopes to be a doctor specializing in sports medicine.
She said the day of practical experience was fun and informative.
“It is really cool, I’ve never actually experienced what its like to do any of these things before,” she said. “It’s what I’m hoping some of my life will be like.”
The clinical center is used to train medical professionals within the MedStar community, Stephen Hurst, operations manager said, not usually for high school students. Haigh said the day at the center was part of an ongoing partnership Blair has with MedStar.
“A panel of medical professionals came to the school to talk to the students,” he said. “The students took a field trip to the National Rehabilitation Center and some of them will do summer internships at National Rehab and here.”
Christen Phillips, a simulator specialist at the training center, said she likes having the students for a day.
“We love getting them in here. It gives them a taste of what they want to do and helps them decide,” she said. “They take it very seriously, having fun and learning at the same time.”