In an ongoing effort to better prepare medical students for a career in emergency medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is offering an emergency medical services elective course for fourth year students. The School of Medicine is the first medical school in North Carolina and one of only a few nationwide to offer such a program.
During the four-week course, students will ride with paramedics and first responders from Iredell and Surry counties and observe their daily responsibilities and interactions with patients. They will learn how an EMS organization works, watch how patient care is provided, identify various means of patient transport and understand phases of disaster response and medical care.
“This is really a unique opportunity, both for our students and for first responders, to learn from each other,” Howard Mell, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, and emergency physician at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center said. “If we can understand and enhance the quality of care – from the prehospital setting to the emergency department – hopefully that will translate into an improved outcome for many of our patients.”
The students will also see firsthand the health disparities that are evident in people from different parts of the state and diverse socioeconomic classes. They will learn why emergency response times differ from one area to another and recognize the roles that diet, lifestyle and access to health care play in people’s medical conditions.
“We hope this course really opens the eyes of our students to the health issues that many of our neighbors face,” Jason Stopyra, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine and emergency physician at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center said. “Our goal is to provide our students with a wide array of real-life experiences, which we believe will increase their understanding and empathy and help to improve the treatment and outcomes for the patients we serve.”
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