BHS students spend summer break exploring medical field

July 23, 2009

Berlin, Wis. (July 23, 2009) –Six Berlin High School students joined 87 other high school students from Oshkosh, Little Chute, Waupaca, Appleton, Kimberly and Ripon as they gained experience in the medical field through Medical Mentoring. This year was Berlin's first time participating in the program, which started in 2006 by the Orthopedic & Sports Institute in partnership with Appleton East High School.

The Berlin students that participated included Austin Anzivino, Sabeen Cheema, Lynette Rossow, Katelyn Nitzke, Lindsey Bednarek, and Mirissa Bologna. Berlin High School science teacher Tim Cox told Berlin students about the program and invited them to participate this summer. There were certain pre-requisites the students had to complete in order to be eligible for Medical Mentoring, including taking a blood borne pathogens test.

"Medical Mentoring offers high school students hands-on experience and creates excitement about the health care field they're most interested in," said Dr. David Eggert, Orthopedic & Sports Institute surgeon and 2006 founder of the Institute's Medical Mentoring program. "The growth of this program is incredibly exciting!"

Each student mentee had his or her unique mentoring experience in a variety of different medical fields. Areas included working with professional physicians, nurses, physical therapists, radiologists, surgeons, dentists, and pharmacists, among others.

BHS senior Sabeen Cheema worked with a few different medical mentors in order to get a a flavor or a few different areas in medicine. While working with Dr. Paul Nelsen, a family practitioner and surgeon in Ripon, she had the opportunity to monitor a sleep study. "I really liked working with my mentor during procedures and office visits," she said.

Cheema also sat in on a lunch meeting that a doctor she was mentoring with had with pharmaceutical representatives. She saw a number of procedures, including mole and lesion removals for biopsies. "Everyday is different," she said. On another day, she went to a diabetic meeting, which, she said, gave her a "better understanding of what kind of care diabetics need."

Cheema, who has always like biology, became interested in pursuing a career in medicine because one of her uncles works in primary care and she always saw how he would be so happy about his job. He even let her go on call with him once in awhile. Cheema would like to become a family physician and said that she never realized how many different area family physicians can work in. "You can really pick and choose what you want to do," she said. "You really get to see the impact you have on people."


Junior Lynette Rossow echoed what Cheema stated about the impact you have on people while working in the medical field. "I think it's really rewarding," she said, commenting that when she was little she used to try to help her friends by diagnosing them. "I have always been interested in the health field," she said. Rossow worked with Nicole Olson at the pharmacy at Berlin Memorial Hospital. Rossow aspires to become a pharmacist and was able to gain hands-on experience through the Medical Mentoring program.


"I didn't realize this before, but the pharmacists actually go up and talk to the patients in the hospital and do things like put together IVs," said Rossow, who got to check over a patient that just had an IV put in. "I felt really important," she said. "It was really involved, more like on-the-job training."


Junior Mirissa Bologna also had a very interactive experience with her mentor, taking advantage of an opportunity to remove a patient's stitches. Bologna, who wants to become a family physician, worked with family doctor Timothy Roberts in Wautoma. With Dr. Roberts she not only observed what he did, but she got to check patients and help with an ultrasound as well.


Bologna commented that she enjoys the medical field because "you're really making a difference." She cited an example of a time when a pregnant patient asked if her mentor would be there for the delivery of the baby and how important that must make a doctor feel. "I like to help people," said Bologna.


Bologna is no stranger to the medical field, having nearly all of her female relatives involved in some field of medicine. She remembers when she was ten-years-old and going with her grandma to work one day as an x-ray technician and thinking how neat it was to work there.


Bologna's mentor gave her this advice: that medicine isn't always the answer and that it doesn't cure everything. He told her that it's easy for a patient to pop pills, but pills won't always get you to the root cause of the ailment.


Each of the students commented that sometimes when they were done job shadowing with their mentor it would feel as if they had just put in a full day of work.


"A lot of our students develop a relationship with them in the future," said Medical Mentoring coordinator Courtney Vosters, R.N. "It's fun to work with these students and get them excited about medicine."


All three students that we interviewed here have already gotten a head start with their medical professions. Cheema has already attained her CNA certification and works at Field Pharmacy, Rossow and Bologna are both currently enrolled in CNA classes.


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