Doctors can never be certain what kind of cases lurk around the next corner. Members of A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) Clinical Simulation Club got a taste of that this week, with a holiday twist.
Patients at the Drabing Human Patient Simulation Center included a woman who was suffering abdominal pain after consuming too much figgy pudding, a man with chest pain who was accompanied by his reindeer, and a certain elf who was sure to ask student doctors for their favorite colors while complaining of an awful headache.
Students clearly enjoyed the festive cases, and the opportunity for hands-on learning.
“It’s very helpful and engaging,” Cody Blentlinger, OMS I, said. “We get a few clinical experiences spread out through the semester, but this is where we get to try to take some of the stuff we’ve learned in class and apply it to a clinical setting. It’s exciting.”
Some of those applications are successful. Others are not, and that’s part of the learning experience from which ATSU-KCOM students can benefit. Second-year students are just beginning to put into practice what they have learned. For first-year students, the simulations present situations they haven’t even begun to study.
“It’s a good chance to fail,” Jacob Speechley, OMS I, said. “Ninety percent of the time I have no idea what I’m doing in there, but this is what school is all about – learning. It’s fun to get your blood pumping a little bit, make some judgment calls, and see where it goes with a team.”
Special holiday events have become a Clinical Simulation Club staple.
“Sim Club hosts holiday-themed events throughout the year for students to learn in a hands-on fashion while having a bit of fun with their peers,” club officer Taylor Barthels, OMS II, said.
Ben Schrant, DO, ’08, serves as the club’s faculty advisor. Dr. Schrant was impressed by the turnout, with more than two dozen students partaking in the exercises on their own time and leaving with valuable experiences.
“It gives second-years a chance to test their wings,” Dr. Schrant said. “‘How have I progressed in my diagnostic acumen? Is this something I have learned, or something I haven’t learned?’
“The first-years, serious benefit for them. They’re really stepping outside their comfort zone. It takes some bravery, because they are in front of their peers. They’re here, and they’re trying, and it’s pretty impressive.”