Studying a urinalysis or taking someones temperature wouldnt be a lot of fun to most high school football players, but for Wakefield High wide receiver Wesley Neal its fascinating.
Neal plans to study medicine in college next year and through an intern program available at Wakefield, he is shadowing Dr. Daniel Sicking, and learning about internal medicine for about 90 minutes a day during the fall semester.
You can take courses and ask questions, but there is nothing like really seeing what a doctor does, Neal said. You wont know that unless you move outside of a classroom setting.
Neal thought hed observe throughout the internship and was surprised on the first day when he was presented a doctors white coat. He has been allowed, with the patients permission, to take weights and temperatures, ask preliminary questions and watch some examinations.
Weve had an occasional intern before, but never a high school student, Sicking said. He is very eager to learn. He has an interest in seeing what we do. He is learning the ropes of the things that we generally do.
Neal has spent time watching in the lab, learning how doctors evaluate test results. He has gotten insights in electrocardiograms and other tests.
The most fascinating part of the experience has been observing how Sicking interacts with patients, asking questions, getting clarifications, asking more questions, Neal said.
Getting people to talk to you is a big part of it, Neal said.
Neal has a 4.75 overall grade point average on a 4.0 scale with extra credit for advanced courses and is taking advance placement English, advance placement chemistry, literature as film and the internship this fall. Hell have a major writing assignment as part of the internship and will be graded on his attendance, attitude and meeting his learning objectives.
His afternoons are devoted to football. Wakefield is 6-1 following a 52-24 loss to Leesville Road on Friday and will try to bounce back this week against neighboring rival Wake Forest-Rolesville.
Neal has caught 23 passes for 343 yards.