Spreading the enthusiasm with surgery simulations and sawbones

You know what’s awesome?

Watching 50 5th graders go nuts over getting to do arthroscopic surgery on joint models with actually arthroscopic cameras and instruments. Oh, and then getting to repeat “don’t touch your [face/hair/friend/juice box that you somehow snuck into the cadaver lab] with your gloves, they’re germy!” 50^2 times. But seriously, the enthusiasm was even more contagious than whatever nasty microbes the kids were trying to rub all over themselves from the surgical skills lab[1].

We hosted 3 sets of lab tours and I got to be a tour leader, which meant no technical talking but plenty of 5th-grader herding and keeping their excitement at high levels while also keeping the students relatively quiet and engaged with the tour station (i.e. technical presentations) leaders. The questions that they asked were brilliantly off-the-wall and I actually ended up learning some stuff myself after googling some of the tougher questions after they left (fyi, broken ribs are usually treated with pain meds and not much else unless you manage to break an entire section of ribs, develop flail chest, and get some shiny hardware put in. Remind me to never break my ribs…). The day was a fun throwback to my days leading elementary school camps at the zoo the summer after high school – kids are so amazingly curious, and frequently inadvertently hilarious 😉

Quote of the day:

Robotics engineer: “Can any of you define force for us?”

5th grader, excitedly: “Ooh, it’s like Darth Vader!”

Yes, that sounds about right kid 😉 Hurrah for little future nerds!

[1]We cleaned the lab floor but there’s only so much you can do with the instruments & other surfaces. All the cadavers are screened so it’s at least relatively safe, but still not a great place to drink a juice box after touching it all over with contaminated gloves. *ugh*


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