About a dozen students were in attendance for the suture training, which began with Clarke-Pearson reviewing the contents of the suture kits, explaining what each item is and what it’s used for. Each one includes synthetic skin, scalpels, clamps and thread that are similar to professional surgical tools.
After talking through how to open sterile equipment and materials, Clarke-Pearson reviewed basic suture technique, including which hand to hold the instrument in, at what angle, and where to grasp the nylon. She also explained the different types of sutures. And then she went step by step through the process of putting in a suture.
At each step, she would pause and the students would work independently, with some trying sutures for the very first time and other members using this session to get in more practice. Clarke-Pearson observed each student as they worked, offering tips for adjustments and overall encouragement.
“I practiced this for decades,” she said, as she rounded the room, showing students how to change their hand positioning, tie off the nylon and generally offering encouraging words. “Once you get used to it, suturing becomes second-nature,” she said to another member.
“I really enjoyed working with the students,” said Clarke-Pearson. “I was very impressed with how quickly they picked up on various techniques. I hope I can do more of this type of hands-on teaching this spring.”
Julia Hlousek ‘24, co-president of the Introduction to Medical Studies Club, helped set up this event and thought it was a great success. “Everyone definitely learned something,” she said. “The setup worked really well because after Dr. Emily talked us through a step, everyone could work on their own with their own suture kit while she went around and gave us feedback.”
Clarke-Pearson is a Board-Certified plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic surgeries. She earned her Doctor of Medicine from Brown University Medical School and then went on to complete a plastic surgery residency at Harvard Medical School and a microsurgery fellowship with Johns Hopkins Hospital. She now runs Charm City Plastic Surgery in Baltimore, MD.
About the Introduction to Medical Studies Club
Members of the Introduction to Medical Studies Club explore various fields in medicine, including surgical, healthcare, and first aid. The focus of this student-led club is to expand interest in medical fields within Severn by offering hands-on learning, hosting guest speakers, and visiting local doctors to continually learn about medicine and how we can help others.
“Our main goal is really just to increase opportunities for exposure in the field to any Severn student who has an interest in medicine,” said Hlousek, who plans to study pre-med and eventually become a surgeon. “This includes traditional fields of study, like going on to become a doctor, dentist, nurse or other healthcare practitioner, but it’s also open to someone who might want to become a first-responder, or get into sports medicine, or even the business and administrative side of medicine.”
In fact, the only requirement for membership is some level of interest in medicine.
Rohan Lakhanpal ’22, co-president with Hlousek, has been a member of the Intro to Med Studies club for several years and has been instrumental in helping it evolve from a teaching club to one that focuses on hands-on learning experiences – like the suture training – and opportunities to be exposed to a wider variety of career paths. “We really wanted to club to offer more engagement,” he said, explaining that in previous years the format was centered more around in-class presentations delivered via Power Point.
Like Hlousek, Lakhanpal has already decided on a career in medicine, planning to specialize in oral maxillofacial surgery. He sees the club as a great way to learn more about all the different career pathways available in medicine, allowing students to gain exposure early – something that is beneficial when it comes to applying to medical school later on.
Other activities and initiatives that have been organized by the Intro to Med Studies club include offering CPR Certification, a field trip to a dental office where they observed a crown being molded, purchasing the suture kits to practice with and lining up guest speakers to talk about everything from what med school is like to the business of medicine.
They are also planning to arrange a field trip to a hospital, more guest speakers, and the purchase of both IV and blood draw kits for members.
The club currently has about 10-15 active members, and meets weekly. Mr. Nick DeMarte serves as the faculty advisor.