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PHS Senior Ventures Into Operating Room For A Look At Medical Career

PHS Senior Ventures Into Operating Room For A Look At Medical Career

In her recent field visits to Firelands Regional Medical Center, Ava Walton has had the opportunity to explore the inner workings of the medical field and gain first-hand experience in different specialties. She has designed her senior-year Academy Experience to identify a specific field for her future career in medicine.

"I have always wanted to be a surgeon, so I had high expectations for the surgery floor visit," Ava said. "Overall, it lived up to my expectations, but I found myself more interested in gynecological surgeries compared to neurosurgeries."

Ava’s experiences are what make an Academy Experience so powerful – exposure to different specialties to help students discover their true passions. The field site visits are a crucial part of the students' learning journey. It helps them gain clarity on their future career paths.

"Through my Academy Experience, I have learned that no matter how amazing something sounds, it may not be the right fit," Ava said. "For me, gynecology and obstetrics seem to be the path that works." 

Another strength of the Academy Experience program is that students can learn from professionals in the community. Ava’s visits have been coordinated by registered nurse Monica Knupke and Dr. Chris Yontz, a PHS alum and anesthesiologist. By scheduling students to be in the operating room during surgery, students can experience the medical field directly and interact with professionals in ways that significantly enhance and influence a student’s understanding of the subject. While observing surgeries, Ava said she continually learned something new.

"Every time I visited, the nurses and physicians were eager to help me learn," she said. "One nurse even allowed me to touch and examine a uterus during a laparoscopic hysterectomy. It was an incredible first experience and I couldn't have asked for anything better."

The field visits also bridge the gap between theoretical concepts learned in the classroom and real-world applications. As the secondary part of her Academy Experience, Ava is completing an online medical terminology course through the University of Findlay. The secondary component is designed to deepen a student’s learning.

"The medical terminology course helped me understand the terminology used in real-world experiences," she said. "It was rewarding to recognize and connect the words I learned in class with what I witnessed at the field site."

When asked what advice she would share with students considering an Academy Experience, Ava offered, "it's important to embrace the learning process and not be afraid to dislike certain aspects. I encourage asking questions, taking notes, and relaying concerns to maximize the opportunity for personal and professional growth."

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