Medical school students participate in workshop

Published 12:21 am Sunday, April 19, 2009

About 40 medical students visited Selma this weekend to learn about small-town healthcare and practice procedures they will use in their third and fourth years in medical school.

“Hopefully they will choose to come back and help rural areas in Alabama that are in need,” Dr. Monica Newton said.

UAB-Selma Family Medicine hosted the Procedure Workshop Saturday. Faculty and residents taught students how to do everything from cutting off a cast to performing an ultrasound. Newton said it is a huge benefit for the students to learn hands on from primary care physicians in a small-town setting.

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“They’ll know what life is like in rural areas and the advantages of small town practices,” she said.

About 200 students have participated in the program since it was started four years ago. Students jump at the chance to take a sneak peek at some procedures they will practice in hospitals in the near future. Mary Margaret Clapp, a student in The University of South Alabama’s College of Medicine, said the workshop gives those who attend a leg up on other students.

“It’s good to learn and get first exposure to it so I won’t be so nervous,” she said while taking a break from cutting off a cast.

Clapp, who is from Maplesville, said she has seen firsthand how important quality healthcare is to a small town. Her mother worked at Vaughan Regional Medical Center for 20 years.

“It’s definitely a consideration since I’m from a rural area,” she said.

Despite rising gas prices, students drove from around the Southeast to attend the workshop. Steven Moore and Jeremy Jones came from Tallahassee, Fla., where they attend Florida State University’s College of Medicine.

“These things are invaluable,” Jones said.

“It’s definitely nice to learn this stuff before clinicals,” Moore said.

Students spend their last two years of medical school mostly in a clinical setting. They learn and master their skills firsthand under the watchful eyes of medical professionals.

Dr. Boyd Bailey said along with teaching procedural skills, the workshop shows students that quality medicine is not just practiced in big cities like Birmingham.

“They get to see that in a setting like Selma there’s serious medicine going on,” he said. “It’s just a lot of fun.”