Future Doctors Learn The Basics of Medicine in Clinicals

Haley Derdiger, Staff Writer

The clinical rotation class has been one of the largest assets to future doctors and medical graduates in all of Plano Independent School District. With the first semester coming to a close, some students are sharing their experiences and the most interesting things they have learned so far in this life-changing program.

Junior Avery DeWolf explained why she made the decision to take clinicals for the 2018-2019 school year.

“I decided to take clinicals because I want to become a doctor since I love science and helping people,” DeWolf said. “I thought this class would be a good way for me to be exposed to all different specialties and areas in the field of medicine.”

DeWolf is planning on pursuing a medical degree after earning her undergraduate degree in college. She is already being educated on tips and skills to succeed as not only a doctor but as a person.

“This class has taught me how to be patient and even more compassionate towards others,” DeWolf said. “We have been at the nursing home every morning for clinicals and being there has taught me so many life skills and helped me to become more caring and understanding.”

Clinicals teachers Amanda Hellmann and Sherry McLaughlin have taught this class for 17 and 22 years, respectively. McLaughlin taught at Williams and Plano Senior High, and then opened the program at West.

“I choose to teach because being a part of a students’ exploration of various medical career choices is incredibly rewarding,” Hellmann said. “Watching our students’ faces light up when they experience something for the first time, whether it be watching the birth of a baby, or assisting an elderly resident to eat a meal, there is such joy in connecting with another person, and I get to be a part of that connection every day.”

Hellmann is a registered nurse. Her specialty is pediatrics, and she has her Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing from Texas Woman’s University. She loves teaching and thanks her degree for such.

“My favorite part of teaching is the moment when a “lightbulb” goes on and a student truly grasps a concept,” Hellmann said. “I also love watching our students grow in sympathy and empathy for others as they experience real-world patient care in our local nursing homes, hospitals and other medical facilities.”

Senior Danya Aldhahir is in her second year of clinicals and loves the program. She explained why she took the class the previous year.

“I decided to take clinicals my junior year so I could see for myself if the medical field was something that interested me to make it into a career for the future,” Aldhahir said.

Because of clinicals, she now knows how she wants to pursue her future and expressed her goals.

“After being given many opportunities to shadow different medical offices,” Aldhahir said. “I have decided that I would like to pursue my recently discovered passion and obtain a medical degree working as a pediatrician.”

Even for the new students, some may head into the program knowing what they want to study and become. They take pride in clinicals and the opportunities it gives to get more insight on the career and take a step closer to their future.

“I am looking forward to going to sites, especially cardiology and orthopedics, because those are the two specialties that interest me the most,” DeWolf said.

Aldhadir has experienced incredible things because of clinicals that will help shape her into an intelligent doctor.

“ I have had to help translate Spanish for a woman in labor at one of my sites,” Aldhahir said. “Additionally I was able to observe a C section up close alongside the surgeon.”

The skills she has learned from this program are like no other. She has been able to grow, learn and experience like a true medical student. She has been rewarded for her commitment and hard work in the class.

“I am so grateful to have been able to be a part of this class for the past two years,” Aldhahir said. “I was offered an internship by JP Morgan&Chase in the summer at a clinic to work as a certified nurse aide. I am currently working as an assistant at a dermatology office as well.”

The difficulties the clinical class had for the students was able to be overcome during their rotations.

“My biggest struggle was getting used to the environment of the nursing home and getting up really early,” DeWolf said. “But once I got used to it, I realized how much fun it actually is to help the people.”

School is almost halfway through the year, and yet there is still so much to be learned in the class. Hellmann expressed what she is looking forward to next semester..

“ I am looking forward to hearing about which colleges our seniors choose this year,” Hellmann said. “I am also looking forward to our students taking the Texas Nurse Aide and National Pharmacy Technician Exams in the spring.”

DeWolf and Aldhahir take pride in what they have learned from clinicals.

“I’ve learned how to communicate a lot better and show sympathy,” DeWolf said. “I feel like those are the most applicable in my life and can help me be a better person as a whole.”

This class educates students on real life doctoral experiences and gives them countless opportunities to be in the field practicing medicine.

“What I have learned overall from taking clinicals is that to be successful in the medical field, you have to be passionate about your goals and never let anyone get in the way of achieving it,” Aldhahir said.