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Medical students train in Selma

By Chris Wasson

The Selma Times-Journal

First- and second-year medical students from across the Southeast came to Selma to get some early exposure to procedures in primary care over two days.

“This is the fifth annual Medical Students Procedure Workshop,” said Dr. Monica Newton. “The idea was not original, but it is original in the Southeast. It is something that I participated in Chicago.”

The workshop allowed the students to come in and gain valuable experience in primary health care, a skill that Newton hopes will bring more people into the field.

“With all that is going on with health care, there is a desperate need for primary care,” said Newton. “And a greater need in rural areas than metropolitan areas.”

According to Newton, studies have shown there is a much greater number of medical students that come from metropolitan areas than from rural areas.

“There have been initiatives throughout the years to try to and recruit students from rural areas to go to medical school and come back to their home towns,” said Newton.

The 50 students that participated in the event were able to take part in hands-on procedures most medical students do not get to do until their later years of medical school.

“When you go to a hospital in your third year, they throw you in a room and expect you to do everything you know,” said Ashley Weil, a second-year medical student at the University of South Alabama. “You are not only expected to know what is wrong with them, but how to treat them. So, if they need something, and you have already practiced it, you can actually do something.”

The students practiced procedures like inserting a central line and how to properly suture a patient using high-tech dummies and pigs feet.

“It’s so competitive,” said Weil, referring to medical school. “If you have done these procedures before on a dummy, you’re not as scared doing it on a live patient.”