Aspiring doctors ready to enter workforce during COVID-19 pandemic

Greenbrier County

LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) –Doctors, nurses, EMS workers, and researchers continue to fight COVID-19. They are learning along the way the effects this virus can have on people. Medical students are right there beside them, ready to become those people on the front lines.

59News first spoke with Andrew Colebank and Haley Craig in August of 2020. Both are second year students at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. They are gaining all the knowledge they can before beginning rotations in hospitals and doctor’s offices.

Throughout the last year, Craig explained they adapted to all the new safety precautions, and practiced treating people during student clinics.

“A lot of our patients are who are coming into student clinic, older adults, adults with chronic illness, who are a lot more susceptible to this virus,” Craig said.

West Virginia is setting the bar high when it comes to vaccination efforts. Governor Jim Justice said the mountain state leads the nation getting people inoculated against COVID-19. The leadership throughout this public health crisis and giving the state a great name is something these future doctors, like Andrew Colebank, want to be a part of.

“We really should be applauding our healthcare professionals. I want to be a part of that. Where there is disparity, there is always potential. When something is broke, there is always a solution. That’s where I want to be,” Colebank said.

While vaccines are rolling out, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for this virus. However,  there could still be lingering effects. Colebank said our doctors and nurses will still be just as important even when COVID-19 is behind us.

“What we learned this year has changed our view of public health forever. It’s changed our view of perpetration and prevention forever,” Colebank said.

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