If you ask senior biology major Keaton Allison how he would describe his experience as a Guthrie Scholar, he quotes Greek physician Hippocrates: “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is a love of humanity.” The Guthrie program allows Wilkes students to gain first-hand knowledge of the life of a physician via shadowing doctors and other health-care professionals.
“No matter who I have shadowed, I have received medical school-like teaching and experiences like no other,” Allison says. “All while seeing amazing things such as heart surgery on a weekly basis. These doctors are not only teaching us, but showing us how to properly care for a patient.”
In addition to Keaton, other Wilkes senior biology majors participating in the program in fall 2018 are Harrison Eckert, Leah Thomas and Ashley Wojciechowski.
The Guthrie Scholars program gives qualified Wilkes juniors and seniors who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine the opportunity to earn 15 credits while getting an introduction to healthcare in a variety of settings. The selected students participate in a research project, attend medical and surgical grand rounds and teaching rounds, hear lectures, and shadow physicians, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, allied health care providers and administrators in the Guthrie Healthcare System in Sayre, Pa. They also spend one week at the Guthrie regional clinic, two days with Guthrie Hospice and Guthrie Home Health care, a day with the Greater Valley Ambulance Service and a day with the Guthrie Air Flight Team.
Eckert notes that the Guthrie program is unique and offers them insight into medical school. “This semester has definitely solidified my passion for both medicine and specifically surgery,” Eckert says. The experience also provides an opportunity to complete research related to some aspect of medical care or treatment. Completing his senior research project with a physician, a Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine student and other researchers has further propelled his interests. “My research on alcohol withdrawal syndrome is with a current trauma surgeon, and getting to see what he does and the life-saving treatment that can be administered is surreal,” he says. Eckert hopes that he will be able to publish his findings in the future.
Working with the cardiology department at Guthrie has left a lasting impact on Wojciechowski. “I was exposed to many different aspects of it and observed multiple procedures,” she explains. “The exposure to various parts of the healthcare field and the experiences that I’ve had are unmatched by any shadowing opportunity that I have encountered. I’ve also formed relationships with physicians, nurses, mid-level providers and other Guthrie staff that will last long after this semester is over.”
Exposure to various fields of medicine has been life changing for Thomas. “My time thus far at Guthrie has given me more exposure to the medical field in one semester than I have had in any other independent shadowing and volunteering experiences. I have been able to create connections with providers in the Guthrie system and gain a more comprehensive understanding of what it means to be a physician,” Thomas says. “Having transferred to Wilkes University after my freshman year, the many experiences and opportunities I have been able to take advantage of have reaffirmed me in my decision to transfer to Wilkes.”
Applicants for the Guthrie Clinical Scholars program must be in their sophomore year at Wilkes University to apply. Applicants must have a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 and have shadowing and community service experience. An application must be submitted through the Center for Health Sciences and Student Success at Wilkes. After the application review process, Guthrie interviews the top applicants.