Medical Staff Pulse Newsletter

High Schoolers Get Hands-On Surgical Experience


Students Marcelo Piedra (left) and Vasilij Shikunov (center) from Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School perform a simulated laparoscopic surgery at the Women's Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills at Cedars-Sinai under the watchful eye of James Williams, media services coordinator.

Twenty-nine students from the Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School in south Los Angeles got a chance to perform surgery, intubation and CPR and use virtual surgical instruments during a recent visit to Cedars-Sinai. Fortunately, they were working with patient simulators, not actual patients.

"It's OK. You're not going to kill him," Joshua Schultz, simulation program specialist, teased students as they struggled to accurately place intubation tubes into high-tech mannequins laid out on tables at the Women's Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills.

The center is an important resource for healthcare professionals from around the world, training an average of 2,000 people per month in surgery as well as disease containment and crisis management. Through periodic tours, the center also provides hands-on medical and surgical experiences for students from local schools who want to learn what it's like to be a real doctor, nurse or other clinical professional.

Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School, nicknamed "Ortho High," focuses on providing students with exposure to medical and biotechnical fields. The graduation rate is nearly 100%. The school has 96% minority enrollment, with nearly 90% of its student body considered to be economically disadvantaged.

"Through our outreach to schools, we provide a unique opportunity for students from all backgrounds to experience a real-life surgical environment," said Russell Metcalfe Smith, associate director of the Women's Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills, who helped lead the student visit. "We hope we can inspire many of them to pursue productive, satisfying careers in medicine." He assisted students during the visit, which was organized by Arleen Orozco, coordinator of the Healthcare Immersion Program.