WESA Scholars Become Doctors for A Day

Doctors For A Day

WESA Scholars try their hand at suturing, intubations, and physical exams under the supervision of UW Medical school students and residents.

After a sleepy wake up on our first Saturday morning of the season (an hour and a half earlier than practice normally starts), WESA students gathered at the Meredith Mathews East Madison Branch of the YMCA to experience being a doctor for a day. This event is put on by a student group from the University of Washington Medical School who is “dedicated to increasing the numbers of people from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in the healthcare field.”

Our students began the day by suturing wounds (luckily for our new doctors, these were only wounds in the skin of banana). After being introduced to their instruments, students were instructed on how to properly suture a wound, one stitch at a time. Some patients fared better than others, but all (…nearly all) ended up in a better condition than they started in.

Our students then went on to learn about conducting patient interviews as well as performing physical exams. They took each others’ blood pressure and checked their teammates reflexes and cranial nerve health.

And shockingly, there is still more! Students were in the van by 8am on Saturday, giving them a full day to try out their white coat skills. Students were introduced to pathology and had the opportunity to see a number of human organs, some that were healthy and others that were nearly unrecognizable due to varying illnesses. They looked at kidneys, livers, brains, hearts, and more! They donned latex gloves and were able to handle these organs while learning about them from experts in the field. They learned about the importance of respecting organs that belonged to someone’s family member or loved one.

And finally, students put their skills to use by intubating dummies. In order to ensure the tube was placed correctly, students used a manual ventilator to get air to the lungs. When they could see the lungs inflating and deflating, they knew it had been a successful procedure.

Despite the initial sleep zombies who filled the van, we were all smiles leaving this event on Saturday. One student even commented that it was “lit”- high praise coming from a high school student! Thank you to the University of Washington and its dedicated medical students and residents for making this possible.