“How many of you went through the stations and thought ‘Oh my gosh, I want to be a surgeon’?” Josh Kvinlaug, Institutional Research Manager, asks a group of high school students with a laugh.
He’s only a little bit surprised when half the crowd raises their hands. The students are enthusiastic participants in Health Careers Exploring Post 141, a co-ed health science career exploration group that Des Moines University administers. Two Tuesday evenings a month during the school year, high school students from across the metro come to campus and participate in hands-on workshops, hear guest speakers and get a sense of what a future in the field of medicine might involve. This particular meeting featured a workshop in DMU’s Surgery Skills Lab where they got to look the part, too.
Brenda Scovel, Surgery Lab Coordinator, and a group of DMU students led the Exploring Post 141 participants through stations that covered basic surgery skills. From the painstaking process of scrubbing in and dressing for the operating room to tying surgical knots and even learning laparoscopy in a simulated environment, the high school students got a taste of the rigors of the profession.
“We were doing (laparoscopy) in a 3-D setting, but the view on the monitor is only two-dimensional,” says Satya, a Valley High School junior who participated in the activity.
Kvinlaug, who serves as a volunteer advisor to the group with Henry Tolino, ITS Programming Specialist, got involved in Exploring Post because his background in scouting (Exploring Post is a co-ed program of the Boy Scouts of America) dovetailed with his desire to help close the ‘opportunity gap’ that often plagues students from disadvantaged backgrounds. He estimates hundreds of students from a wide variety of backgrounds have participated Exploring Post 141 since it started at DMU in 1988.
“The Post helps educate students about their options within healthcare and gives them advice and guidance on how to achieve those goals – often through interactions with current DMU students and faculty,” Kvinlaug says. “It is a fantastic opportunity for the Des Moines University community to share our collective expertise and knowledge while helping guide the next generation of healthcare providers.”
Leadership for the Post comes from current DMU students, staff and faculty advisors and volunteers and the DMU Community Relations Department. If you’d like to be involved, Exploring Post 141 is currently seeking additional advisors for the 2014-2015 school year. Contact Brianne Sanchez, Community Relations Manager, to learn more.
Know a local high school student who would be interested in participating? Invite them to check out the Exploring Post 141 Facebook page.