Dissecting a pig’s heart teaches students about the human heart too
Cherry Hill, NJ – No one said that getting medical assistant training was easy. From learning about complicated medical terminology and insurance practices, to undertaking the clinical tasks such as drawing blood and administering injections, medical assistant students are expected to rise to many challenges.
One of these challenges came earlier this month when students were instructed on how to dissect a pig’s heart. A pig’s heart is similar to the human heart in its size, function, and structure. This makes it a very effective tool for understanding the anatomy and physiology of the human heart.
Darlene Anderson, Instructor for the Professional Medical Assistant Plus program, was enthusiastic about providing this opportunity for her students. She worked with the company that provided the pig hearts, and then guided the students throughout the dissection process. Students were excited to have the chance to gain a deeper understanding of heart anatomy through this process.
“We learn anatomy and physiology from our textbooks, but there is nothing that replaces the experience of seeing an actual heart. This helps students visually connect what we study in the classroom with actual human anatomy,” explains Tabbatha Moye-Little, Director of Medical Education at the Cherry Hill location.
Ms. Moye-Little has been a part of the Harris team for about seven years, and brings over 20 years’ experience in the healthcare field.
Hands-on experiences like the dissection lesson are a hallmark of the Harris education process. Students enrolled in the Professional Medical Assistant Plus program receive numerous opportunities to roll up their sleeves and experience learning. Some of the other hands-on opportunities include:
- Learning to measure blood pressure
- Practicing venipuncture and blood draws
- Performing intramuscular and intravenous injections
- Administering EKGs and learning to read the printouts
- Practicing CPR and basic first aid practices
Once students have completed their coursework and labwork, they are ready for the most hands-on experience of all: the externship. Students who successfully complete their program courses are placed in unpaid externships in real healthcare environments, such as medical offices, specialty offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and more.
The externships give students the opportunity to practice their new skills in a real-world setting, under the guidance of supervisors. They also can observe more experienced practitioners on the job, and learn by shadowing. Students are expected to treat their externships like a job, and may include it on their resumes when they begin their job search.
The Medical Assistant training program is offered at seven different Harris campuses, throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Most programs can be completed in less than one year’s time. If you are interested in learning more this program, or any of the other career-focused programs offered at the Harris School, please complete our simple information form, and we will be in touch with you.