Friday, May 13, 2016

Girl Scouts Experience Life as an EVMS Medical Student for a Day

The halls of the Center for Simulation and Immersive Learning at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) are typically quiet on Saturdays. The mock hospital rooms sit empty—medical equipment and manikins untouched until classes resume on Mondays. But, on Saturday, May 7, a group of teen Girl Scouts had a unique opportunity visit Lester Hall and experience life as medical students for the day.

The Girl Scouts were welcomed to the medical school by Sasha Edwards, senior simulation specialist at EVMS. With a background as an EMT, Edwards gave girls an overview of CPR, including its history and the current standards for administering the lifesaving technique. She also talked about the wide range of careers in the medical field, introducing two simulation assistants, Matthew Weaks, who has a degree in mechanical engineering, and Devan Gambo, who started working at EVMS as a standardized patient as a teenager.

The girls then separated into groups for some hands-on medical school experiences. In a classroom set up to look like an emergency room trauma bay, Girl Scouts learned about airways and breathing before trying their hands at intubating a manikin. Working with a physical teaching associate, the girls learned how to take a blood pressure reading and check for neurological function with a tuning fork and reflex hammer. In a darkened lab, girls used otoscopes and ophthalmoscopes to examine manikin ears and eyes. They also got to practice their CPR skills on manikin-based simulators that reported metrics on their chest compressions.

“In a way, it was a two-fold experience for the girls,” Edwards said. “They got to participate in some activities that our medical students complete, possibly leading them to a career in the medical field. They also got some insight into the growing field of medical simulation and learned that you don’t necessarily have to have a medical background to work in the field.”

While women do make up a majority of healthcare employees, they have yet to reach parity as key decision makers in the industry. Women are nurses, working in doctor’s offices and home healthcare workers, but just 38 percent of the full-time academic medicine workforce is female and less than one-third of practicing physicians are women. The event that EVMS hosted for Girl Scouts gave the girls an opportunity to learn about the wide variety of medical careers, as well as interact with female role models who work in healthcare. 

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is committed to working with community partners, such as EVMS, to provide girls of all ages with opportunities to explore and discover the world of science and technology. On September 17, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is partnering with Norfolk State University to host Science Alive, a day of hands-on learning in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. This event is open to all girls in grades two through 12, whether or not they are currently Girl Scouts.

View more photos from the day here.