National medical speaker visits Mehlville

National speaker on patient care visits Mehlville students
Posted on 09/28/2018
Marcus Engel VisitMarcus Engel, a national speaker on patient care, brought his message of compassion to Mehlville and Oakville high students interested in medical careers. St. Louis Centers for Advanced Professional Studies (STLCAPS) students in medicine, health care and bioscience were also invited to the presentation on Thursday, Sept. 27.

"I had heard about Marcus for 15 years before I ever met him," said John DeWalle, director of college and career readiness for Mehlville School District. "He was a patient of my mom's who was blinded by a drunk driver. Since his recovery, he has become an author, national speaker and an adjunct professor at University of Notre Dame. He primarily speaks at medical schools and hospitals all across the country, where some of his books are required texts, but I wanted our students to hear his message about patient care, too."

Engel's message: The cornerstone of caring is presence. Engel shared the story of the trauma he endured from the car accident and the health care professionals who saved his life.

"The two most compassionate words are: I'm here," Engel said to a few hundred students. These two words were what Engel heard repeatedly from a patient care tech in the hours following the accident, and words that sparked an "I'm Here" movement to change the culture of patient care. 

In the audience at Nottelmann Auditorium on Thursday was Barb DeWalle, one of several healthcare professionals who were present and cared for Engel during his 6-week hospital admission. Barb is John DeWalle's mother and a registered nurse at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

"Marcus had a way of communicating at the level that really connected with the students," said Kristin Wheatley, science teacher at Mehlville High School. "He tells his story very well with emotion, and no matter who was in the audience, every person walked away with something that they needed to hear."

This speaker represents just one of several opportunities Mehlville School District students have to explore careers in the medical field. At Mehlville schools, students can take traditional courses, such as anatomy and physiology, Advanced Placement courses including chemistry and biology, Project Lead the Way Courses (Human Body Systems, Biomedical Innovations, Medical Interventions, Principles of Biomedical Science) and participate in STLCAPS. Students may choose to design their own course of study through MyPath or access one of the many health-service related programs offered by South Tech High School.

Pictured (L-R): Don DeWalle; Barb DeWalle, Engel’s intensive care unit nurse; Marcus Engel, national expert on patient care; Elliott, Engel’s seeing eye dog; and John DeWalle, Mehlville’s director of college and career readiness and son of Barb and Don DeWalle. 
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