By Capt. Jason WelchJanuary 30, 2017
"What's wrong in this one? Can anyone not see the break?"
Capt. Jason Auchincloss, U.S. Army Africa physician assistant, prompts students from the Vicenza High School anatomy class to identify the fractures in digital X-rays during a visit to the Vicenza Army Health Clinic, Jan. 24, 2017.
11 students from VHS toured the radiology and orthopedic wings of VAHC to experience and work alongside U.S. Army medical professionals as part of their human anatomy class.
Auchincloss, who previously visited the anatomy class to teach them how to suture a wound, organized the visit to give the students more real world experience.
He began the tour by asking the students if they had ever seen an x-ray before.
Two students raised their hands.
The class of anatomy students recently completed a section on the human skeleton and made the trip to experience firsthand what they had been studying.
"Experiential learning opportunities help to improve knowledge retention in a couple of ways," said Auchincloss.
"It's accomplished by providing hands on, practical experiences and developing that experience by exposing the students to the real world application of what they learned," said Auchincloss.
Kelly York, Vicenza High School human anatomy teacher, said this was the first trip her students made to the clinic as a class.
"The students really like it and even their parents can see the benefit at home when the students talk about the hands on experience they had," said York.
"The students get very excited, especially for those already interested in that career field," said York.
During a stop in the radiology department, students saw and learned about equipment used to take x-ray imagery.
Then they walked across the hall to another room where an x-ray technician waited with computer monitors that displayed a series of x-rays taken of previous patients, personal information obscured on each to protect patient identity.
Each image contained a break or fracture and the students used their knowledge of the human skeleton to identify the bones and what was wrong with each.
They asked questions and discussed the images among themselves as they tried to find what was wrong in each image before calling out their answers.
The highlight of the tour and final stop was the orthopedic wing where they were introduced to cast making.
"They actually get to do authentic work based on what they learned in class. They get to apply a cast after studying the skeleton in a classroom," said York.
Staff Sgt. Steven Fike, orthopedic non-commissioned officer in charge, first demonstrated how to set a cast on one of the students before they took turns applying a forearm cast on each other.
"It gives them insight into this field," said Fike. "Most people in general really don't know what we do. They don't know that orthopedic is even a career choice, especially in the Army."
For the soldiers that hosted the visit, it was also an opportunity to step outside their daily routine and take on a new role.
"The soldiers get to showcase the fact that there is more to the army than 'just being a soldier," said Auchincloss. "They have the opportunity to demonstrate their valuable job skills, interact with the students and hopefully stimulate interest in the field of medicine."
"Teaching is an integral aspect of any field of medicine and imparting knowledge and experience on members of future generations ensures a constant supply of medical professions for the future - ones that may one day take care of us," said Auchincloss.
For the visiting students, applying what they learned in class was important, but they also experienced something new, said Fike.
"Most of these students are familiar with the Army lifestyle, but this exposes them to something they may not be familiar with," said Fike.
"And I love to teach," he added.