September Session Recap: A Doctor’s Toolkit

"We are all the Ladder!"

“We are all the Ladder!”

At September’s session of the Ladder, medical scholars of all ages had the opportunity to not only learn about but also to try out some of the core tools physicians use in patient care, including: stethoscopes (<– one of the universally recognized tools of a physician!) sphygmomanometers, tuning forks, reflex hammers (carpenters aren’t the only ones who have hammers!), and not to be overlooked – one of a physician’s greatest tools: hands!

Before getting their mitts on medical tools, scholars first took the opportunity to meet each other over lunch, and share a bit about themselves and where they each are on the path to their respective goals and dreams (we’ve dubbed this part of the meeting “Value & Appreciation”). One way of helping scholars break the conversational ice each month is asking scholars for their thoughts and perspectives on meaningful quotes and words-of-wisdom. This month’s quotes to reflect and share on were:

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. – Viktor E. Frankl

When inspiration does not come to meet me, I go halfway to meet it. – Sigmund Freud

After lunch and conversation, scholars got right to the hands-on learning of some of the tools in doctors’ and nurses’ toolkits. At one station, medical scholars learned about ways to test some functions of the nervous system, including how to use reflex hammers:

Medical scholars learning about tools like reflex hammers for checking reflexes, part of nervous system function

Medical scholars using reflex hammers to test reflexes

At another station scholars used portable vital sign monitors to check blood pressure, temperature, pulse and oxygen levels. They learned what the concept and measurements of blood pressure actually mean, the difference between systolic and diastolic pressure, and what normal as well as abnormal ranges are for blood pressure numbers.

Medical scholars learning about function and use of vital signs monitors

At yet another station, medical scholars had the opportunity to use stethoscopes in various ways. Most everyone is probably familiar with the use of stethoscopes for listening to the heart, but scholars learned that stethoscopes are powerful tools for listening to what’s happening in the lungs and digestive/gastrointestinal system as well.

Medical scholars learning about the various utilities of stethoscopes

Medical scholars learning about the various utilities of stethoscopes

Tell the young scholars in your life, family, school, class and neighborhood about The Ladder – where they can not only develop goals for the future, but be actively supported and challenged to pursue those goals by mentors and resources from the University of MN Medical School, the North Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program, and Broadway Family Medicine. In addition, young scholars will be learning along side and supported by peers from their own communities and neighborhoods in North Minneapolis.

The next meeting of the Ladder is Saturday, October 11th (always the second Saturday of the month) at 12:30pm and open to scholars, parents and supporters agers 9 and older. There’s always learning AND fun – plus free lunch! The Ladder meets at the UROC building (2001 Plymouth Ave N) in North Minneapolis.

“Lift as you Climb, Build as you Grow”


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