Students Get Graduate-Level Experience Stitching Wounds

Tanner Young, a senior exercise science major, practices his stitching technique during a suturing lab in Dr. Cori Thompson's general medical conditions course. The course offers students instruction that is normally only given at the graduate level.Using the same tools and sutures as surgeons, Dr. Cori Thompson’s students practiced stitching up cuts last week.

Athletic training and health and human performance students watched Thompson sew shut deep wounds before they replicated the technique on artificial skin. They learned how to drive the needle through both sides of the skin and tie suture knots.

“It prepares students for patient care in the future,” Thompson said.

Thompson, an assistant professor of athletic training, prepared the lab for students in her general medical conditions course, which is required for athletic training majors. Students aspire to be physician assistants, physical therapists or paramedics, among other fields.

“We’re giving them a head start,” Thompson said. “They’re getting advanced skills that you would normally see at the graduate level in the bachelor’s program, which is really unique.”

Suturing abilities prove useful working in pediatrics or in the operating room or emergency room, Thompson said. Medical professionals in the military often close up cuts in the field or in boot camp. During Thompson’s clinical practice, soccer players with cleat slices above their eyebrows would get fixed up at halftime or when they’d come to the sideline.

Athletic training major Don Castellon, a sophomore, said he didn’t know such a serious procedure was within his field until he got to Thompson’s class. He’d never done anything like it, but he began to get the hang of it by the third or fourth stitch.

“It was a great learning experience,” he said.

Photo: Tanner Young, a senior exercise science major, practices his stitching technique during a suturing lab in Dr. Cori Thompson's general medical conditions course. The course offers students instruction that is normally only given at the graduate level.