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Medical Students Prepare to Enter a Health Care System Being Pushed to its Limits

Coronavirus Impacting Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  As medical staff works hard in the field, medical students are working hard studying it. Because of the pandemic, medical schools have had to make some changes this year.

“When I was younger, I grew up basically in the anatomy lab as my dad as a faculty at Des Moines University and so I’ve been very accustomed to that environment,” Olivia Matz said.

Olivia Matz is a second-year Doctor of Osteopathic Medical Student and Masters of Anatomy Student at Des Moines University. When going into the medical field, she never expected a worldwide pandemic to happen in the middle of her studies.

“Definitely not. It’s been quite the experience especially as a second year, so I had my first normal year of medical school, and then the pandemic hit last semester and so we had a lot of changes,” Matz said.

Instead of in the classroom, she listens to lectures at her kitchen table

“Which I’m a very big fan of attending lectures in-person so that’s been kind of an adjustment for me,” Matz said.

Even her labs were moved online, so studying at home, she’s had to improvise.

“My parents are my practice students, and they get to experience all of my practice standardized patient exams. I get to practice my OMM on them. And I think they appreciate the fact they get a free workup and everything,” Matz said.

Matz said these changes have taught her how to adapt.

“And be resilient to the circumstances that the world has given us, and that’s something that you really learn in like a clinic or in the hospital and we’re getting that very early on in our training, so I think it’s for the best,” Matz said.

But even as COVID-19 hospitalizations increase and medical staff grow exhausted, Matz said this is what she signed up for when she applied to medical school.

“If we aren’t mentally prepared for the pandemic then this is kind of not really a good field to be in just because we are the frontline, the people out there that are going to be helping those that are in need in those that are sick.,” Matz said.

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