MERIDIAN — Every time a new school year comes around, it may feel like just another year - but this year is special for 162 students wanting to pursue a career in medicine.
They're the first class enrolled at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, and getting hands-on experience is the top priority.
They use high- and low-fidelity SIM manikins that are extremely realistic.
"The students are going to be able to do CPR on her, start IV's, they can push medications and push fluids," said Casi Myers, director of Clinical Simulations.
Lucina is a high-fidelity manikin that students studying obstetrics will use.
"She can have a regular delivery, a breached delivery, she can have a postpartum hemorrhage where she bleeds out about two liters," said Myers.
Faculty members sit behind a glass wall to watch the simulation and monitor the manikins.
"They'll come in and they'll start their scenario, they'll assess their scenario, they'll assess their patient, get a little bit of report and then they'll work through their algorithms for patient care," Myers said.
In order for these simulations to serve a real purpose, ICOM makes sure they're as realistic as possible.
"We've had several doctors who have gone through this," said Myers. "One of our OB doctors has come in here and practiced the delivery and he felt it was really realistic and it was going to be pretty beneficial to the students."
It's all to make sure medical students like Eric Latorre have a safe space to learn.
"Your decisions are very important so practicing and being able to make those mistakes now it's going to make us better physicians and make our patient outcomes that much better," Latorre said. "You can study and read and write as many notes as you can but until you're actually in that situation you don't really know how to utilize that information that you're learning."
Latorre is an Idaho native and one of 42 Idahoans enrolled int he first class at ICOM.
"Being from Idaho I know that we need doctors," said Latorre.
She plans to stay in the place she calls home when she's done at ICOM. That's exactly what Dr. Robert Hasty, ICOM's founding dean, hopes will be the case for the other 161 students.
Dr. Hasty says Idaho currently ranks 49th in the nation in terms of physicians per capita.
"By having these folks that are from Idaho that come here to Idaho's first medical school to train here, they'll stick around to practice and it'll be a big game changer for the region," Dr. Hasty said.
ICOM will have a ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, September 5. All are welcome to tour the facility.