El Segundo High School Biomedical Students ‘Get Real’ at UCLA Simulation Lab

“We took everything we’ve learned so far in the Biomedical Pathway and applied this knowledge to what would actually be used in a real-world setting,” said ESHS student Audrey Butler, who is interested in becoming a labor and delivery nurse.

In early 2018, the ESHS Biomedical Science Pathway established a partnership, through Project Lead the Way (PLTW), with UCLA and the California Society of Anesthesiologists that offers educational enrichment to its PLTW program. This project brings together specially trained teachers, students and physician residents from UCLA to help deliver real world biomedical skills and application to the ESHS pathway classroom.

ESHS’ curriculum is so comprehensive that students who participate in all four years of the Biomedical Science Pathway will actually complete seven to eight years of science courses, which is double the amount normally completed in high school. “This pathway is so beneficial, especially for students interested in careers in the healthcare field,” said ESHS student Alisa Flores, who hopes to one day be a pediatrician. “This coursework puts students at such an advantage, my parents think it is amazing that this opportunity is available to ESHS students!”

The group of ESHS students spent a day at UCLA’s Department of Anesthesiology Simulation Center. First, they received a tour of the hospital and then convened in a conference room for a presentation on anesthesiology by Dr. John S. Shin. Additionally, Dr. Karen Sibert shared her background and educational journey in medical school and eventual career path. The students then moved to the Simulation Center’s viewing room where they could watch and listen to the doctor go through various scenarios with a physician resident acting as a patient and also with a simulation mannequin. The anesthesiologist explained what she was doing throughout the procedures. Finally, the students were instructed on how ultrasound technology works and had the opportunity to perform ultrasounds on each other. “I found my fellow student’s main artery and looked at her intestines through ultrasound,” explained Flores.

“Enabling students to receive hands-on application from anesthesiology residents at UCLA is an excellent example of the type of meaningful and relevant educational experiences this partnership extends to ESHS students, said Donna Turner, ESHS Biomedical Science Pathway teacher. “This is a most engaging learning opportunity that can be applied across disciplines. Working with the same tools used by professionals in hospitals and labs enables the next generation of care providers to engage in compelling, hands-on activities and work together to find solutions problems.”

This real-world application builds upon everything the students learn in the pathway. The students also credit the ESHS Biomedical Science teachers for bringing the curriculum to life. “It takes a special teacher to teach this class,” said Tia Valentino, an ESHS student who hopes to pursue a career as a physicians’ assistant. “If they were not as excited about the new technology being introduced in medical science, it just would not work as well for us. This course is constantly building in new ways and that keeps it exciting.”