Transition: Orientation Week 2

The second week of the orientation process was proving to be busy, and one with great anticipation.

It began with advanced first aid instruction, focusing primarily on CPR/AEHD training, the Heimlich maneuver, and trauma. Upon completion of the two-day course, the new students would receive certification. They would be able to provide limited aid pending the arrival of emergency responders or medical personnel.

The students were broken into groups to facilitate the hands-on teaching. Each student had their own “patient” and automatic emergency heart defibrillator (AEHD). “A little stiff, a little silent,” Tara said very seriously. “Plenty creepy with the plastic wrap over his mouth.” Deborah and Elizabeth tried not to laugh; so did a few others in their group. Mike the nurse, their course instructor, teased even further. “We need a chaperone here. Anyone?”

demo: Mike showing how to perform CPR on “Stiff Steve” attached to an AEHD
photo credit: Deborah    camera: Blackberry Classic

While AEHD devices have a “PlaySkool” toy appearance, it is to convey its simplicity of design and ease of use. It has made their availability in public spaces more practical and widespread. However, the device is not a substitute for CPR, nor a substitute for CPR training. The device is used in combination with CPR for those in cardiac arrest. Should the device fail to detect a heart rhythm after discharging a shock, CPR is continued. “It’ll be awhile before you get to use one of those,” Mike said pointing at the crash cart.

at the ready: fully prepared crash cart
photo credit: Deborah    camera: Blackberry Classic

After lunch, attention was turned to “Casual Cal” to learn the Heimlich. Cal is a full-sized, male medical mannequin used in a variety of instructional settings. “Fortunately, Cal is much lighter in weight and can be handled much more easily than your typical adult male,” Mike said by way of introduction. “Cal’s redeeming quality, he won’t be spitting up any food or liquids while he’s with us for the afternoon. He had a very light lunch.”

The second day of class was learning about various trauma situations, especially shock and seizure type situations. In many instances, it is more about keeping the patient stable and still much as possible, and be more observant in detail. While observation is a key aspect of first aid, having more specific information on the patient for emergency responders and medical personnel is likely to lead to a better outcome.

The orientation week concluded with the White Coat Ceremony. At the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the ceremony is a formal recognition and acceptance of the new students as medical students. The new medical students received a waist-length white coat, with the embroidered University of Colorado Health logo. They also received a pair of pins, one from UC Health and the other from the University of Colorado.

What made the ceremony extra special, Andrea, was asked to offer her remarks to the new class. A senior-ranking nurse in the UC Health system, Andrea told them it is important to remember why they have chosen the medical profession. “It is to heal. First, last, always. Don’t have the solution, find it. Have the solution, share it. It defines who we are in the profession.” Not a sound could be heard in the quiet auditorium. “My last piece of advice, make sure you don’t spill anything on your white coats at the reception. May God bless you all.”

refreshment station: one of the cookie-and-brownie stations

With two and a half weeks to the first day of class, it is a few days of fun. For Deborah, Elizabeth and Tara, it is back on the saddle, and a new horse show.


3 thoughts on “Transition: Orientation Week 2

  1. This past month has been challenging for two people who are very close to me. The care that the doctors and nurses deliver, always with patience and dedication, are nothing short of miraculous. It’s a demanding, difficult, often frustrating and hopefully sometimes rewarding profession. I so admire your girls for their commitment.

    1. Thank you, Tina. Our girls have two outstanding role models in their moms, Laurie and Andrea. I hope your two loved ones recover quickly.

  2. Intersting week of orientation/training. Andrea’s remarks are wonderful. Seeing “Stiff Steve” reminds me that I have one of the original copies of the film “Breath of Life” filmed at Lovelace Hospital in 1965 which shows how to do mouth to mouth resuscitation using the full-size “Resusci Anne” doll. My dad worked at Lovelace as a medical electronics tech for over 25 years, and he was involved in the making of the film. My older brother is a live subject in the film. For some reason my dad had this copy, number 5, of the film. I found it cleaning out his radio room after he died in 2007. It’s in a mailing box and the address label has from Archer S. Gordon, M.D. to James O. Elam, M.D. Dr. Elam was one of three people who developed the “Resusci Anne” doll. I thought about getting the film transferred to DVD, but since it isn’t a priority, I haven’t had it done yeat. I contacted Lovelace to see if they were interested in it, but no one that I got a hold of was interested in the least. Lovelace was small, probably still a Methodist, hospital in 1965 that did a lot of imported research. Lovelace got right into the HMO Act in the early 1970’s, and grew into a large, bureaucratic health provider that isn’t interested in the early days.

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