Each year, the Prisma Health Medical Experience (MedEx) Academy provides immersive clinical observations for students at critical moments in their academic journeys. By allowing students to fully experience a variety of health careers across numerous fields, MedEx Academy can offer guidance and support for those who are uncertain during this process.
Tier II students (rising college sophomores) receive five full days of shadowing to help them determine their ideal career path and begin making necessary adjustments to their educational and extra-curricular pursuits. Tier IV students (rising college seniors) explore the hospital for 10 full days to finalize their post-collegiate plans and begin confirming their field of interest. Both groups receive the opportunity to journal about their time in the field and discuss the lessons they learned about patient care, about hospital operations and about themselves. Here is what a few of them had to say about their clinical experience:
Anand Mulji (Tier II, 2016)
My favorite experience throughout the MedEx program dealt with clinical experience in the hospital. Specifically, I was able to shadow two fourth-year interns, Dr. Mike Koerner and Dr. Aaron Creek, in the field of Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery. First and foremost, the opportunity to experience live surgery has always been a goal of mine. However, to experience three different surgeries in one day was a dream come true. To witness skin grafts, rod and screw placement to treat a double a fractured hip, and double hand surgery to repair bone structure was a perfect introduction to surgery, a field that truly intrigues me. Beyond the surgery aspect of the clinical experience, getting to know these two gentlemen was very eye-opening. When I thought of doctors, I thought of professionals that are very focused and efficient. The social aspect of their personal lives never really crossed my mind. However, throughout the day, they showed me that surgery, although demanding of pinpoint skill and unwavering focus, is enjoyable. The fact that they talked about their families and personal lives gave light to the realization that doctors are just as human as anyone out there. To be taught this directly by men who have gone through years of late nights and hours of studying accompanied with countless long surgeries was quite the experience.
Brooke Schmidt (Tier II, 2016)
Unending energy, smiles from healed patients, a large paycheck and complete job satisfaction were all things that came to my mind as I pondered my future in health care, until the day I shadowed Dr. Henry Schwartz. Walking through the hospital halls with a first-year resident in internal medicine quickly opened my eyes to the reality of medicine. His day began very early and consisted of running from patient to patient discussing treatment plans with the attending physician. I was especially touched by a patient in a persistent vegetative state, or partial brain death. As the doctors hopelessly discussed the future treatment options for the patient’s family I was quickly struck with the exhaustion, sorrow, and moral and legal dilemmas that permeate doctor’s lives. When we walked into the patient’s room, I was overwhelmed by the sight of a patient entirely reliant on machines with a family in denial that their loved one was gone. As we moved to the next patient, Dr. Vaughan, the attending pulmonologist, described to us the legal limitations he had regardless of his medical understanding and wisdom in such situations. Following that string of events, I recognized for the first time the hardships that healthcare providers face. So while physicians experience a wealth of satisfaction knowing they are helping patients, their most heartwarming stories are surrounded by heartbreaking, controversial and emotionally draining cases. I am blessed to have learned this lesson at the beginning of my journey into a medical career and will be ever grateful to MedEx Academy for this experience.
Ashley Marler (Tier II, 2016)
It is hard to choose a favorite experience when reflecting about my time at MedEx Academy, as I will remember each one for the rest of my life. Yet, there is one that crosses my mind most of all: my opportunity to shadow in the operating room. Most people my age only have seen the Hollywood version of the operating room. Being in a real operating room, as the audience, there are no words to describe viewing the surgeons’ dedication, the nurses’ attentiveness and the anesthesiologist’s comfort to the patient. Experiencing the OR was surreal, emotions that Hollywood cannot capture. As I stood there watching each person’s effort, I kept thinking about how a naturally chaotic situation was flawlessly calm through each individual’s pursuit to help the patient. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to see the raw passion from start to finish of multiple surgeries. Each time the alert patient entered the OR, a tear descended down the patient’s face, reflecting their human fear of the unknown. The nurses and the anesthesiologist swept in, holding the patients’ hands and wiping their tears, assuring their lives were in good hands. This moment I will never forget. As I continue my journey to become a physician, I will always remember the importance of patient care and establishing strong relationships with my patients.
EMT Simulation Day
Tier IV students (rising college seniors) had the opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves as they learned about the basics of emergency medicine and first responders. Between practicing splints, wraps and CPR, students had upbeat conversations with current medical students about the challenges facing medicine today.
Sam Cuffe (Tier IV, 2016)
The Medical Experience Academy opened doors for new opportunities, in-depth exposure to the medical field and fellowship amongst the other Tier IV students. Reflecting upon my summer, it seems inconceivable to select a “most meaningful experience” from the most meaningful summer of my life, but the EMT day definitely stuck out. EMT day served to be one of my favorite experiences with my classmates, interns and the medical students from the USC School of Medicine Greenville. On this day, we were thrust in into similar training exercises that the first-year medical students implement during the first few weeks of their EMT training.
I have always been privy to the kinesthetic style of learning and was eager to be involved in this hands-on day. I found myself immersed in a series of tasks like splinting legs, putting arms in a sling and allowing others to do the same to me. Our medical students served guidance and some kindhearted laughter at our multiple attempts. The medical students even brought out an emergency vehicle to serve as the next component of our adult playground. We took turns lifting and wheeling each other into the van, checked heart rhythms and prodded the medical students for their favorite EMT stories. Later in the day, I discovered intubation. I couldn’t help feeling a shred of excitement in doing such a serious task, even if it was on a plastic dummy. In the last station, in what I can only describe as a very serious trust exercise, we strapped and lifted each other on a backboard. No one was (seriously) injured and fun was had by all.
Having this experience was a wonderful way to preface what we can expect to be doing if we matriculate into the USC School of Medicine Greenville. This was a day I won’t soon forget. It offered a relaxed, safe environment to get hands on experience. Sometimes, as pre-medical students, we get so lost in the mess of schoolwork, applications and grades that we lose sight of the end goal. This day was a much needed reminder of what the hard work is all for. I am so thankful for opportunities like this EMT day that has served to reaffirm my desire to pursue a career in health care and offered an unforgettable experience.
Interested in applying to MedEx? Click here for application forms and deadlines.