It's no small undertaking to host 160 STEM/Health pathway students at your surgery center for a day of learning, but that's what Julie Adelchanow, Director of the Surgey Center of South Bay in Torrance, and her staff did! Spearheaded by Navjot Kaur, one of the physician assistants who has been a regular classroom presenter (see Not Your Momma's Needle and Thread and Blood, Guts, and Gallstones), students representing five schools in the Corona-Norco USD disembarked at the surgery center and were immediately greeted by staff. They had arranged an outdoor activity where students raced to (correctly) don surgical gloves, booties, gowns, hair caps, and protective eyewear.
Once inside, the center had set up ten activity stations with some truly unique experiences. Medical representatives from Covidien, Teleflex, Stryker, and DaVinci demonstrated and explained some of the high tech equipment like the Femto Laser used in cataract surgies, and the Stryker laparoscopes used for minimally invasive surgeries. Stations were also set up to help students understand the functions of pre-op, central services, the OR itself, and PACU (Patient Anesthesia Care Unit). In opthalmology they learned about Lasik and cataract surgeries and checked out the equipment used in these delicate procedures, like the YAG laser.
As each group moved from station to station, we caught some video of one demonstrator with a nice slab of raw carne asada. He quickly explained that the meat was actually a great way to demonstrate how bleeding is controlled on human tissue during surgery. After demonstrating how the electricity-generating cauterizing knife and machine is used, students were invited to give it a try, soon evoking smells of a bbq - not unusual in the operating room, the demonstrator said. We took pictures of the student's testing their dexterity with the various instruments (see gallery below)
The surgery center provided a full lunch for the students, as well as goody bags and notebooks to write questions and take down the information. By all accounts everyone had a good time and the students, who represented the intermediate schools of River Heights, Raney, and Auburndale, and the Roosevelt and Corona high schools, appreciated the chance to be part of a surgery center for a day.
Thank you to Julie, Navjot, and all the staff at the center as well as the medical reps who brought the simulation equipment that enhanced their experience. This was a day they will not forget!