Abby Walke-St. George’s University Summer Medical Academy

ImageI have to be honest. Before my two-week trip to St. George’s University to attend their Summer Medical Academy, I had never heard of the island, Grenada. I soon learned though that it was a great little island located in the Caribbean. It had beautiful beaches and nice, but generally humid weather. In early June, I took three connecting flights to get there. Once I was in Miami, I met up with a couple others that were attending the Summer Medical and Vet Academy. Everyone became fast friends. The first official day on the island, we were taken to the beach and were allowed to explore the town.

The second day was completely different as we dived into the curriculum of a medical school student. We had lectures and lab in the morning where they taught us about the musculoskeletal system. After the first lecture, they introduced us to the cadavers. I was worried of how I would react to them since I knew if I went to medical school, I would have to deal with them everyday. Although the formaldehyde smell from them was awful, the cadavers were more interesting than disgusting to me. From the first day I could definitely see how they are essential in medical schools. The rest of lab consisted of quizzing us about muscles and bones, which was a little overwhelming for me because I hadn’t taken my anatomy course in college yet. After lunch, we returned to the science hall for clinicals where we split into groups. They had us interview patients to get a complete patient history and also gave us another small lecture about histology. They also taught us how to use ultrasound machines on patients and showed us the differences between nerves, blood vessels, and bones on the machine. At night we had even more lectures that dealt more with the social aspects of medicine. Overall, the first day was overwhelming, but showed me that there were so many aspects of medicine to learn about. This was the general routine that we had most days, in which we learned about different systems in the body at a medical school level.

Although on the first day I felt unprepared for the quizzing the professors did about anatomy, by the fourth or fifth day I felt more prepared answering their questions and was quickly learning. Along with the lectures, we also were taken to a nutmeg factory, an amazing waterfall, and of course to beach where we were given massages from blind massage therapists. So even though there was a lot of work involved in the trip, the people planning always made sure there was time for fun too. We even went to an underwater sculpture museum that we snorkeled through! One of my favorite parts of the trip was when they gave us white coats and stethoscopes before we visited the local hospital. We even were taught how to suture a wound and were able to practice on cadavers! Overall, the two weeks on the trip reaffirmed the fact that I want to go to medical school after college and eventually become a doctor. Medicine is fascinating to me and I couldn’t picture a better career choice. I’m so glad that I went to this academy and met some amazing people.

On another note, I’ll be heading to Costa Rica on Saturday for my study abroad experience. I’m very excited! I’ll be taking a class that involves medical terminology in Spanish and another that teaches alternative health approaches!

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