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Medical students practice drawing blood from classmates at workshop

October 26, 2000

Count Dracula isn’t the only one drawing blood this Halloween - first- and second-year osteopathic medicine students were after that red liquid too.

The College of Osteopathic Medicine held its annual blood drawing workshop Wednesday in Fee Hall. And Mia Wimberley, president of the MSU chapter of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians, which sponsored the event, said it’s no coincidence the event is so close to Halloween.

“We thought it would be fun to have it around Halloween,” said Wimberley, a second-year osteopathic medicine student. “In previous years, students used to wear costumes until we realized the costumes were causing problems with drawing blood.”

This year, students were told not to don costumes.

Wimberley lectured the group of about 50 students on techniques and safety procedures for drawing blood. Students received further instructions in smaller groups from College of Osteopathic Medicine teaching assistants who acted as “team leaders” and supervised as the students drew each other’s blood.

Wimberley said there were no plans for the blood once it was drawn, and the event was designed only to teach medical students the proper procedure.

“The main point is not to get a good sample, but to get experience,” Wimberley said. “A lot of students are scared about drawing blood from somebody else.”

Jennifer Bardenhagen, a first-year osteopathic medical student, admitted she was a little nervous about drawing blood from her classmates as she awaited her turn.

“This is our first experience with any of this before we go into the hospitals,” she said. “Yeah it’s nerve-racking, but it’s a skill you’ll be grateful to have.”

Dr. Carol Monson, a clinical skills professor, said the practice was extremely valuable for the students.

The clinic is held for students once a year.

“One of the main problems with drawing blood is you can miss the vein,” said Monson, a faculty adviser for the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

“That’s why we want them to practice. But not only that, we want them to practice on each other so they know how the patient feels as well as the person drawing the blood.”

Monson said practicing drawing blood can be complex for students. But having blood drawn and then drawing blood can help students learn how doctors and patients feel during normal procedures.

“It’s not an easy experience for the students, but it’s not always easy for the patient either,” she said. “This teaches them empathy and gives them a chance to practice in an accepting environment with some of their potential colleagues.”

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