For 10 minutes, Morgan Leslie was in agony.
For their “A Day in the Life” senior service project, Leslie (Rochester, Indiana) and Hunter Tucker (Burbank, California) had arranged for orthopedic surgeon Ira Richterman, members of his surgical team, and a representative of a medical device company to visit campus to meet with students and give them some simulated training on Saturday, Oct. 14.
All they needed were the students. They had 13 slots for Culver students and four other positions open for students from other schools. They had talked to their friends and classmates, who seemed enthusiastic, but signing up for a nearly four-hour session on a Saturday morning could put a damper on anyone’s interest.
“I posted it on Schoology (the in-house notification system) and after five minutes, nothing,” Leslie said. “I told Hunter, ‘This is going to be so bad.’”
But after 10 minutes, the first response came back. Then another. And another. Before it was over, 40 students had submitted a request to attend. Next came the hard part of paring down who got selected. Seniors were given priority. Of the four slots left for outside students, one was filled by a girl from Rochester.
Everyone was super-focused. They quickly fell into their roles.
Saturday’s session was conducted in Jackie Carrillo’s classroom and lab in the Roberts Hall of Science. It started with a suture and knot tying session. Students were given scrubs, disposable surgical gowns, hats, shoe covers, safety glasses, and gloves. Tucker said trying to tie the knots while wearing the gloves was no easy chore.
The students then moved back to the lab section to begin working with the “bones,” which were a specially compressed paper made to simulate the look and feel of bones. Leslie said they were so realistic that they were the same size as real bones. With help from the surgical nurses and medical company representative, they attached plates and screws on different size bones.
“Everyone was super-focused,” Leslie said. “They quickly fell into their roles.”
As they were doing the work, Leslie said the surgical nurses showed the students how to select the right instrument and what size screw to use. They also talked about how long it would take Dr. Richterman to perform the surgery and reminded students an actual bone would have muscles, ligaments, and cartilage either surrounding or connected to it.
Following the mock surgical session, Richterman, who is the father of Zach Richterman ’18, and his staff answered the students’ questions. They ranged from balancing family and work, how to pay for medical school, what career paths the nurses followed, and how does a business school graduate end up as a medical device representative.
Leslie, who made contact with Richterman through Culver Academies registrar Karen Rudd, started working on the idea last spring. It was partially self-serving, she admitted, because of her interest in pursuing a medical career. Tucker added he joined Leslie because he would like to enter the biomedical field, possibly on the manufacturing side.
They called the session “A Day in the Life,” hoping that future seniors will pick up on the theme and use it as a way to introduce other students to different careers. And they hope it goes just as well for them.
“Hunter and I were just in awe the entire time,” Leslie said. “There was a real desire to learn. It was really a great group.”