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Students Get Medical School Experience At Immersion Camp
June 13, 2014

Eyewitness News Reporter Darrah Wilcox A group of students from colleges and universities throughout West Virginia and part of Virginia participated in a weeklong immersion experience at Marshall University's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

The lessons included suturing and wound care, MCAT preparation, traditional lectures and study skills. They also spent one day at Ritter Park learning about wilderness medicine.

"We're going to try to have some skills that we can use when we're in the neighborhood, when we're in the community, when we're with our friends," said Dr. Chuck Clements, instruction and family medicine physician at the School Of Medicine.

By learning a few important principles, he said, you can apply them to just about any situation.

"If you can take care of bleeding and fractures, you're going to take care of over 90 percent of what you're going to run into in the home, on the sports field, in the neighborhood, on the highway," he said.

Clements taught students about how to stop bleeding for different types of wounds, and use splints to stabilize fractures. He said you can carry around life-saving tools such as ACE bandages, a splint and gauze in a gallon-size bag to be prepared to treat about 90 percent of injuries you may encounter out of the doctor's office or hospital environment.

Students interested in a future in medicine said they learned a lot.

"You learn so much just hearing everybody's story," said Hunter Cutlip, who will be a sophomore at Shepherd University this fall. "Things you don't even think about as far as what you're going to do with residency, or what you might do through school or what to expect or how to manage time. It's been quite the experience."

The med school tried to to make the experience as authentic as possible. Jennifer Plymale, associate dean of admissions at the School of Medicine and director for the Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health said, they were "not lowering the barrier for these kids, we are actually giving them exactly what our medical students get."

Plymale said they also got experience suturing pig's feet, just like medical students do. She said the camp is not only wonderful recruitment effort, but possibly even a retention effort.

"If we can get these bright young people in the state of West Virginia to come and stay in West Virginia to do their medical school training, and then go on to participate in a West Virginia residency program, we are more likely to keep them in the state," she said.

It's the second year for the immersion camp.

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