Barry McNamara  |   Published July 01, 2019

Aspiring Physicians

Pre-med students Taylor Coffman and Jake McCrery attend OSF HealthCare program for aspiring doctors.
  • Biochemistry majors Taylor Coffman ’21, left, and Jake McCrery ’20, right, participated in the Pre-Med Immersion Experience, part of OSF HealthCare’s Jump Simulation program. They are joined by Dr. Ralph Velazquez Jr. ’79, OSF senior vice president of care management and vice chairman of the Monmouth College Board of Trustees.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Two Monmouth College students used the summer camp season to attend an intensive learning experience for aspiring physicians.

Biochemistry majors Taylor Coffman ’21 of Carpentersville, Ill., and Jake McCrery ’20 of Galesburg, Ill., participated in the Pre-Med Immersion Experience, part of OSF HealthCare’s Jump Simulation program. Offered to college students who plan to attend medical school, the two-week program exposed the 12 participants to a range of clinical roles within OSF HealthCare and gave them a taste of the medical school experience.

McCrery said that taste confirmed his career plans.

“If I had any doubts about the medical field, this definitely took those doubts away,” he said. “I woke up every morning in a state of euphoria, just wanting to go to the hospital and start the day. Everything we did is something physicians would do. I was disappointed when it ended.”

Coffman was also impressed with the program.

“They have clearly put a lot of time and effort into preparing this program, and they exposed us to a lot of new things, people and ideas,” she said. “This is an experience that I think will give Jake and me a definite leg up in the future as well as making us very, very excited for what’s to come.”

Coffman said that “every day was different,” and she also appreciated learning about the diverse backgrounds of people in the profession.

“We met a lot of people in the medical field, and we asked a lot of questions,” she said. “One of the main things I took away is that not everyone’s experience is going to be the same, like the pathologist who actually started out on a surgery track but realized after two months it wasn’t for her, so she was able to change. It really gave me a better understanding of how it all works.”

Coffman said one of the highlights for her was working with the program’s “high-tech mannequins.”

“We did simulations with the mannequins,” she said. “In one, we broke up into teams – boys vs. girls – and they threw us to the wolves, having one of the mannequins dying. We had to quickly diagnose what was happening. It was a really fascinating experience.”

That was just one element of a wide-ranging list of items covered during the two weeks.

“We went over a lot of topics,” said Coffman. “CPR, the use of an AED, learning to read EKGs, medicine administration, venipuncture, suturing, physical exams and history taking, VICU simulations, scrubbing/gowning up and more. We helped unpack a cadaver, we shadowed doctors in the ED, PICU and MICU, we talked to medical residents and medical students of UICOMP, we met with a neurologist, a pharmacist, the head of anatomy for Jump and others.”

“We went over most of the things you’d do in med school,” said McCrery. “We touched on the surface of just about everything.”

“I could go on and on about this program,” said Coffman. “I am very grateful for this opportunity and would do it 100 times over.”

And McCrery said he plans to be an advocate for the program, which completed its third year.

“Now that I’ve gone, I want to advocate for other people to go and have this experience,” said McCrery. “I hope they can work it out so that students from Monmouth are able to go every year.”

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