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Medical students find ways to help during the COVID-19 pandemic

University of Utah students collect medical supplies during a donation drive in Salt Lake City over the weekend. Medical students are finding ways to help outside the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Kelli Pierce)

SALT LAKE CITY – Claire Bensard is a third-year medical student at the University of Utah, and she hopes to become a vascular surgeon one day. But things have changed because of COVID-19.

Including in the classroom or, in this case, the clinic.

“We were in the clinical learning environment where we’re supposed to be getting our hands-on skills. Since [COVID-19] became a big risk in terms of risk to patients, as well as risks to our own safety, we were removed from the clinical learning environment and transitioned to an online forum for a couple of weeks,” Bensard said.

Bensard said medical students like her might not be back there until July.

She misses and worries about the patients she has seen.

“I think about how a lot of people are in the hospital and feel very alone and very isolated, and that really pulls at my heart about why I wanted to be in medicine. I wanted people to not feel like they were alone,” Bensard said.

But Bensard and other medical students across the country have not been sitting on their hands during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have been finding ways to help.

Bensard organized a drive over the weekend for masks, gloves, and other personal protective gear for medical workers, and she’s been inspired by what others have been doing.

“A lot of folks around the nation have found different ways to help out. Some medical students have been helping out with childcare. Others have been organizing these donation drives from the community. Even others are trying to push for finding ways to be able to help out on the front lines themselves,” Bensard said.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States