News & Stories

Student inserting nose tube

Hands On, At Last!

The most fun day of med school—that’s how many rising third-year College of Medicine students describe technical skills day, one of the last days of the two-week ‘’boot camp’’ that provides a review of clinical skills and knowledge that they’ll need for their upcoming year of hospital rotations, known as clerkships.  More than 50 clinical faculty from a wide range of communities and specialties participate in the activities, demonstrations and lectures over the two-week program.

Moving around from labs to classrooms, it’s a golden chance for students to learn from professionals. Who knew that you would have to be able to suture not only using your hands but also holding instruments?  (What?!)

One demonstration was for the infamous NG (nasogastric) tube, nemesis of patients everywhere who dread having one stuck up their nose. Some might consider it as bad as the bowel obstruction that causes them to need it—but not if they were lucky enough to be a patient of Lauren Fredrickson, M.D., clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine. As the students learned from this experienced physician, it’s possible to tell a patient, and mean it, “This is going to be uncomfortable but you’re going to feel a whole lot better afterward.’’

“Need your tube, need your lube,’’ sang out the doctor as she picked up the lubricant that helps slide the tube up the nose. (Clearly, she’s demonstrated this procedure this a few times.) “Go too short with the tube and it’ll go into the esophagus,” she cautioned as she prepared to thread it into the mannequin’s nostril.

“What’s the best position to hold the head?’’ asked one student. Dr. Fredrickson tilted the mannequin’s head down slightly.

“When you’re in surgery, ask to watch the surgical nurse do this. They have their tricks—everyone does,’’ said Dr. Fredrickson, cheering the students on with the advice, ’’Watch, and then go do it yourself!’’