First Year Students Express Gratitude for ‘First Patient’November 24, 2015
Completion of the course “Structural Principles of Osteopathic Medicine” or SPOM is
a rite of passage for first year medical students at Georgia Campus - Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM). The 13-week course, which covers anatomy
and development of the human body, is foundational for medical education and clinical
“It was a break that really humanized everything we spent hours learning in classroom
lectures,” said student Iza Jordan.
Ending just before Thanksgiving, the course included working with cadavers, which
serve as each student’s “first patient.” In addition, plastinated specimens, X-rays,
CT scans, MRI images, bones and models are available for students to fully understand
the structure of the human body. Led by Dr. Vlad Stanescu and Dr. Keith Brown, seven
other physicians and Anatomy Lab Coordinator Jeff Seiple assist the students with
First year student Ethan McBrayer expressed the feeling of gratitude shared by many
of his fellow classmates when asked about the course.
“As a first year medical student, you are excited and a little anxious about meeting
your patient. A thousand questions run through your mind! What did they do for a living?
What was their family like? How did they pass?” he said. “I remember the day we finally
got to meet her ... When I learned that she was a nurse, this confirmed even more
how special she was. She spent her whole life taking care of other people. Even in
death, she continued to help people. She was willing to donate her body to science
so that students like me would have an opportunity to learn things you could never
learn through a textbook.”
While working with his patient, McBrayer thought about the love she had for her family,
her patients and others.
“I realized we shared something in common,” he said. "We both had a passion to help
people. We both chose medicine in order to make a difference in people’s lives.”
“She has been a blessing to me through her teachings," McBrayer added. "It’s kind
of sad that we are nearing the end of our journey, but she has done so much to help
me and other first year medical students with the lessons on anatomy and more ...
I will always remember the knowledge that she taught me and will carry that knowledge
into my journey of life as a doctor.”
For additional information about the body donor program at GA-PCOM, view our frequently asked questions or contact the program coordinator.
About PCOM Georgia
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center,
an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment.
For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500.
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