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UW Medical Education Students Learn from Local Practitioners

April 9, 2019
group of people around medical education mannequin
Cy Cass, from the Laramie Fire Department, demonstrates a procedure to University of Wyoming WWAMI Medical Education Program students. Observing, from left to right, are Ivinson Memorial Hospital Dr. Dave Kasarda and UW students Marcus Couldridge, from Casper; Allana Hall, from Rock River; Jesse Hinshaw, from Kemmerer; Aleksandra Zarzycka, from Cheyenne; and Trey Thompson, from Cheyenne. (UW Photo)

Learning clinical skills is a vital part of the University of Wyoming students’ medical education.

While exemplary faculty instructors in UW’s WWAMI Medical Education Program teach these skills as part of the students’ classroom instruction, the opportunity to provide additional training beyond the classroom is a clear benefit for a medical student’s learning experience.

WWAMI is the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho Medical Education Program.

“UW’s WWAMI program is fortunate to have local community support,” says Tim Robinson, WWAMI director.

Several physicians and other health care providers have helped facilitate learning in optional activities outside of the WWAMI classroom. In February, local physicians John Haeberle, David Kasarda and Ken Robertson met with the students at the Family Physicians of Laramie office to discuss the clinical concepts of sepsis, to further understand EKGs and to practice skin lesion biopsies and removal.

“The opportunity to interact with health care providers in the community is fantastic,” says Logan Taylor, a first-year WWAMI student from Sinclair. “It gives us a taste of the real world and a chance to step outside of the classroom.”

More recently, the students were joined by several members of the Laramie Fire Department as well as Kasarda for an airways skills lab, which took place in the clinical simulation laboratory located in UW’s Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing facility. The students were instructed on procedure and gained valuable practice in airway management, intubation and cricothryotomies.

person practicing a procedure on a medical mannequin
UW WWAMI Medical Education Program student Trey Thompson, of Cheyenne, and Ivinson Memorial Hospital Dr. Dave Kasarda observe Reed Ritterbusch, from Sheridan, performing a procedure during a recent clinical session. (UW Photo)

This is not the first time the students have worked with health care professionals in the community, Robinson says. Last December, Ivinson Memorial Hospital, in Laramie, hosted the students and Laramie fire personnel for an intravenous access skills lab.

The new curriculum offered through the WWAMI Medical Education Program provides students with more clinical training early in their educational experience, Robinson says.

Teaming up with local providers, who offer both time and clinical learning space, and giving UW faculty increased opportunity to work with students in a real-life clinical setting is a winning combination for the medical students, according to Yvette Haeberle, WWAMI Medical Education Program clinical director.

The support from local health care providers outside of the WWAMI curriculum is a vital part of the students’ education. Students appreciate the interprofessional aspect of medicine by working with nurses, emergency responders, community physicians and many other team members, Robinson says.

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