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Vt. tweens school future doctors - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. tweens school future doctors

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

From reserved and studious to loud and rambunctious, bagged lunch to liquid lunch; there are many differences between medical students and seventh-graders. But they share one thing in common-- school-- and it might surprise you who is schooling who today.

Vergennes Union High School 12 and 13-year-olds taught second year University of Vermont Medical School students about something they know a lot about-- being young adults.

Reporter Gina Bullard: What is it like to be an adolescent?

Malcolm Donovan-Cook/12: Oh, it's not great.

Public speaking can be nerve-racking, but these kids decided to step up to help make better doctors. This is a mandatory class-- part of the goal is to teach med students about life from birth to death. Now, they are on those tricky teen years.

"You tell them what you've experienced and that will help them become better doctors," said Ally Atkins, 12.

"We spend a lot of time in lecture halls sitting and passively absorbing information as opposed to trying to understand where someone is coming from," said Darrell Nettlow, a second-year med student.

This all started with an idea to bring in a panel of six adolescents to come in and talk about life. That quickly changed into much more. Now, five years later, they bring in about 80 kids each year.

No topic was off limits, like acne.

"It's like the star of the football team ran over your skin with cleats," Donovan-Cook said.

Even menstruation was covered; health issues kids want to know about, but might have a hard time opening up about. Their tip to these future doctors: build a relationship and talk to patients about the process.

"It's a little unnerving and I don't like the smell of an over-sterile environment and they ask you questions and they don't tell you why," Donovan-Cook said.

Kids schooling med students by bringing them back to their own awkward years.

"It's all the same stuff," Nettlow said. "I was having flashbacks during the whole thing."

The med school course is seven weeks long. The adolescent day is said to be students' favorite.

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