Biomed Alumna is Pre-Med Scholar

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Biomed Alumna Moves Up.

t. Luke's biomed alumnua, Taylor Jackson, Class of 2023, used the skills she learned in the Biomedical Science program to gain entry into a competitive pre-med scholars program. During the last class, Interventions of Biomedical Science, students are required to choose one field of interest to research and immerse themselves in for the entire year. They conduct extensive research and write a 25-page APA paper while shadowing mentors who allow them to participate in patient care under their supervision. The class culminates with a Capstone Presentation.

Taylor’s chosen field of interest was general surgery. She job shadowed different surgeries: skin cancer removal, total laparoscopic hysterectomy/bilateral salpingectomy, c-section, dilation and curettage (D&C), skin grafts, and a bilateral ovarian cystectomy with dermoid cells. She presented her Capstone Presentation, a seven-minute speech on the Davinci Surgical System, to more than 200 people.

To learn about the Davinci Surgical System, Taylor arrived at the hospital at 7:00 a.m. to sit in on Dr. Trammel’s surgery, a bilateral ovarian cystectomy with dermoid cells. The robotic technology was used to ensure extreme accuracy regarding removing the cyst and keeping the viable parts of the ovaries.

While watching the procedure, Taylor learned that this type of surgery is minimally invasive, can reduce surgery time, offer fewer risks, and helps patients recover faster than other surgical methods. The robotic arms allow for better movement because the instruments can bend and turn in more ways than human hands and operate in spaces where the human hand would not fit, allowing the surgeon more control, precision, and flexibility. The tiny 3D camera attached to a robotic arm magnifies the surgical site about 10 times more than the human eye allowing surgeons to see brighter, sharper images.

Dr. Trammell sat in the corner of the room after putting the precision tools in the abdomen as she worked on the surgeon console while the robot was over the patient, following her commands. One arm of the robot holds a camera (the laparoscope), and the surgeon operates the hands on the other three arms by inserting their fingers into rings and using foot controls. They use hand movements and foot pedals to control the camera, adjust focus and reposition the robotic arms. The robotic arms control the endoscopic instruments instead of direct manipulation by the surgeon’s hands. The arm remains steady at all times, unlike a human hand. Taylor had a front-row seat, sitting within arm's reach of the robot as it operated, and also watched the big screen to see inside of the uterus. She stated, “I saw everything that Dr. Trammel was doing during the surgery. It was a very educational and amazing experience for someone my age.”

Taylor found job shadowing priceless and said, “Job shadowing has been one of the most powerful tools in finding my love for medicine. By observing and learning from some of the best mentors in the medical field, I have gained a deeper understanding of the various roles and responsibilities within the operating room and the challenges and rewards that come with working in the OR.”

Due to her positive experiences in the Biomedical Science Program, Taylor decided to continue her education as a Pre-Medical Scholar at Spring Hill College. She is the first St. Luke’s student to be accepted into Spring Hill’s selective Pre-Medical Scholars Program. Applications are invitation-only to entering freshmen who are proven high achieving and committed to pursuing a career in medicine. Students submit an application and interview with a panel of Spring Hill College employees, with only six students selected each year.

Selected students are in the program for all four years of undergraduate study and are given opportunities to maximize their competitiveness for medical school. Pre Medical Scholars are provided with opportunities to acquire health care service hours, medical shadowing hours, a guaranteed spot in the shadowing course beginning spring of the sophomore year, scientific research opportunities that are reserved for scholars only, and given the opportunity to apply to Saint Louis University School of Medicine during the spring of their sophomore year, without taking the MCAT and receive provisional admission into Saint Louis University’s Medical School.

Taylor says the dynamic Biomedical Sciences curriculum, real-world experiences, and hands-on learning truly prepared her for college and life, she says, “I also have more confidence in my research abilities and public speaking, which is something that I didn’t know I would grasp from the program. I have built connections from this class that I will be able to hold throughout my undergrad as a premedical student at SHC.”