When I was in my high school anatomy class, we were given the opportunity to dissect several small animals, but never in much depth and very rarely. As a college junior I am so excited to be spending two hours of my week to examine a human donor with my peers and a former medical doctor. The best part? I am getting credit to conduct these studies! As a hopeful pre-health care student, this opportunity is incredibly rare at many universities and is a unique chance for students to gain surgical skills, and to develop dissection and professional skills.
Weekly, our professor meets with several small groups of students (about four of us or less) and we convene in a small room with our “patient.” Prior to this, we have communicated our goals for the week, what we plan to accomplish, as well as updates on our individual research projects. As we walk into the chilly room, all of us wash our hands, grab our respective lab coats, pull on our gloves, and grab our tools. While I consider this time to be my most enjoyable part of my week, I can never forget how lucky and humbling it is to participate in this course with my peers.
Our “patient” has given over 23 students a uniquely special opportunity to study techniques and skills that most don’t gain until graduate school or beyond. We have been challenged to academically push ourselves, take initiative and demonstrate our prowess in a field all of us are passionate about. Our instructor has illustrated his passion and compassion as a medical professional and academic professor and this love for learning has spread amongst us. After this semester, I am more excited than ever to see what Christopher Newport offers next!