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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

This Little Piggy Went To…Lab

February 26, 2013

CAMA PICTUREWhen students at the Lancaster campus walked into Ms. Beneby’s classroom last Wednesday, a feeling of nervousness and excitement was in the air. Medical Assisting (MA) students were told that this week they would assist a medical provider in applying and removing sutures (stitches) from a healing laceration. In preparation for this lab, students were to bring in a pig’s foot, the specimen selected to receive the procedure. Although, a pig’s foot may seem unconventional, it is actually the perfect material for students to use in training because the skin is extremely similar to that of a human. Students would be able to test their skills on material that closely replicates the properties of human skin. MA students jumped at the chance to have this real-life experience and practice this valuable skill.

Just as they would when at work in a medical office, students performed a surgical scrub and ‘gowned-up’, ensuring physical protection with surgical masks, gowns, caps, and gloves. The class learned the importance of sterilization and protection from transferred contaminants, for both patient and medical provider safety. Protective gear and sterilized instruments  are a large part of that safety precaution. With the students professionally outfitted and poised with proper tools, the wound treatment and suturing began.

Under their supervising instructor’s watchful eyes and instructive voice, students kept steady hands, as they exercised and explored different techniques for this procedure. In this simulation, one student assisted a student-doctor who applied sutures to the specimen, while another student dabbed the bleeding laceration with gauze. What began at the start of the lab as many nervous students uncertain about what to do, ended with many who had gained a great deal of confidence in their new-found abilities. Ms. Beneby’s calm instruction put the students at ease and helped them to become comfortable with the ins and outs of suturing. (A little stitching pun.) At the end of the procedure, students were reluctant to get rid of their little lab subjects that had become a symbol of this medical milestone and their fun at its mastering.

“Excitement with a side of fear,” is how one student described her feelings going in to this lab. Students were up for the challenge of the assignment and knew that one day soon they would be doing this as a common service of their chosen profession. Keeping up their skills now will only make working in a medical office easier when they eventually step into that role. Student’s know that the training they receive in class will benefit them in the work place and give them a huge advantage when competing for top medical assisting positions once they graduate.


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