Anatomy & Physiology Medical Class Allows for Experiential Learning
Thursday, April 21, 2016

For nearly 20 years, Lincoln-Way District 210 has supported a motivating and experiential Anatomy & Physiology Medical class. This class has worked closely with the Lincoln-Way community by fostering relationships with nearby hospitals, including Presence St. Joseph, St. James Olympia Fields, and Silver Cross.

"As someone who has always wanted to join the medical field, this class allowed me to experience every part of the field first hand. Whether it be at the hospital, or in class talking with an actual professional, I have never been so motivated to pursue my dreams," says senior Justin Gianares.

At all Lincoln-Way campuses, the Anatomy & Physiology teachers work with professionals in the medical field, who serve as guest speakers in their classrooms. Teaching students how their studies are applicable in their professions, guest speakers span a wide variety of medical professions, including doctors, orthodontists, optometrists, physical therapists, athletic trainers, pharmacists, chiropractors, and nurses in various fields. Speakers don't always simply speak to the class and offer Q&A sessions, but oftentimes go above and beyond their responsibilities. For instance, last Friday, one class's guest speaker brought in specimens for the students to interact with.

Aside from guest speakers and specimen examination, Presence St. Joseph, St. James Olympia Fields, and Silver Cross also allow field experience to the students of Lincoln-Way. Shannon Morgan-Jermal, manager of volunteer services at Presence St. Joseph Hospital, comments, "Part of our mission at Presence Health is to build communities, so providing shadowing experiences to the students allows us to educate and inform the community of all the various health career opportunities. It truly takes an interdisciplinary team to provide excellent patient outcomes, and we want to showcase that to those who are planning to pursue healthcare. Our staff very much enjoys teaching the students about their careers and day-to-day job functions." While visiting the hospitals, the students are able to see their learnings from the classroom put into action by speaking with medical professionals in the facility, shadowing staff and interacting with patients.

Teacher Samantha Taylor is one of the Anatomy & Physiology Medical instructors, and her students at Lincoln-Way Central are able to visit Presence St. Joseph Hospital as part of their class experience. Of the District-hospital partnership, she says, "My students are getting hands-on experience that I could never give them in the classroom. I really feel that this shadowing experience gives them an edge over their peers, as they have already been in the hospital working with staff and interacting with patients. We are very grateful for the relationship we have with Presence St. Joseph Hospital, and for the opportunity that they are giving our kids."

Anatomy & Physiology Medical classes are only offered to seniors through an application process, and the experiential learning aspects of the class draw the interest of many. The class meets for two periods per day, giving students time to examine and study each topic in-depth. During the first semester, students complete the course-work, and during the second semester, students travel to the hospital during class to complete the observations.

In regards to classroom guest speakers and his experiences in the hospital, senior Jeremy Wasowicz says, "This serves as an invaluable tool when deciding what to pursue in my future endeavors. I am very grateful that Lincoln-Way offers this program to its students, as it allows us an opportunity to explore a field of interest like no other class or program available."