Nevah Walker, along with more than 40 other fifth graders from Wolffarth Elementary School, had a lesson in what it is like to walk in the shoes of a medical student.
“I thought I wanted to be a firefighter, but I didn’t know you could do so much as a doctor,” Walker said. “We learned that when you eat it goes down to your intestines, where your body makes saliva. The best part was getting to work with the mannequins and the ultrasound.”
The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) Student National Medical Association (SNMA) hosted Walker and her classmates for the Doctors for a Day Mini Camp in efforts to inspire and inform the elementary students to experience a day in the life of a medical student. Briget Hyde, SNMA president and second-year TTUHSC medical student, said the organization created the event as an interactive and fun way to expose students to the field of medicine.
“Doctors for a Day gives the students opportunities to discover medicine in an engaging environment but most importantly, our hope is the experience will cultivate a student’s interest in medicine as a potential career path.”
Students received a hands-on experience at the TTUHSC F. Marie Hall SimLife Center by diagnosing patients with different medical scenarios, working with ultrasound equipment to learn how they are used by physicians, working with simulation mannequins in the simulation lab and seeing an emergency simulation act. Hyde said it is important to start sowing the seeds of higher education at these early and pivotal stages.
“We want to get students thinking about medicine as early as elementary school, especially underserved and underrepresented minorities,” Hyde said. “Many students never may have imagined they too can go into this profession. When minority students see medical students who look like them in white coats, our hope is that the students will walk away knowing they too can become a doctor. The experience is invaluable and immeasurable.”
Fifth grader Jakobe Deleon agreed Doctors for a Day was eye opening and fun. When asked what was the best part of the day, he responded, “All of it!”