The atmosphere buzzed with excitement as M.D. students in the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) dropped their parents off in Ross Hall for their first and only day of medical school.
Day in the Life is a biennial event offering families and friends of students in all four years of medical school the opportunity to spend a day in their students’ scrubs.
After registration and a breakfast social, Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D. ’81, RESD ’85, vice president for health affairs, Walter A. Bloedorn Professor of Administrative Medicine, and dean of SMHS, welcomed the school’s newest class of “students” and explained the faculty’s high expectations for this class and their participation in the “revised one day curriculum.” He closed by joking that by graduation, later that day, the “students” would be able to perform a heart transplant.
After the brief orientation, the new students began their accelerated medical educations. They were given the choice of one of two lectures given by Mark Elliott, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine, and Kirsten Brown, Ph.D., assistant professor of anatomy and regenerative biology. The lectures ended with pop quizzes and characteristic groans from the class.
Following lunch at the Georgetown Waterfront with the actual M.D. students, the event’s participants had to beat the bell to get back to campus for their next class. The afternoon offered small, hands-on group sessions, where professors taught skills that the actual GW students have learned here at SMHS, including IV placement, intubation, checking vitals, CPR, and suturing.
David and Cheryl Wikner, parents of second-year Emily Wikner, enjoyed learning suturing at the All Stitched Up discussion, and CPR at the session, Code Blue. However, the real pleasure of the day was getting to see their daughter. “We wanted to see her; she’s been busy studying for her board exam. This was a good excuse to come down and see her.” David said; Cheryl added that it was also nice to see what their daughter goes through in medical school.
After class came the natural end to the speedy, curriculum: graduation. Following speeches and presentations, the new graduates toasted to making it through their day in medical school and received their diplomas, as well as a GW mug as a parting gift. However, on the expectation that they be able to successfully execute a heart transplant as suggested by Dean Akman during orientation that morning, David Wikner offered a quick and good-humored, “No way!”