Mayo Clinic offers hands-on experience in orthopedic surgery

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Mayo Clinic hosted 32 female students from local high schools on Saturday, offering a hands-on experience in orthopedic surgery.

The girls wore scrubs, but this was more than "dress up and watch." They used surgical drills, plates and screws to repair hard foam bones.

The female students also used medical needles to stitch fake wounds.

Dr. Mary O'Connor is the chair of the department of Orthopedic surgery at Mayo. She says this field isn't even close to achieving gender balance.

"By making these kinds of workshops and exposing daughters to opportunities, we can broaden horizons that they wouldn't have otherwise," said O'Conner.

In 2009, women accounted for 13 percent of all residents in orthopedic surgery; 20 percent of residents in internal medicine were female.

"Some women prefer a female physician, and gender bias in treatment may be an issue in orthopedic surgery," said O'Conner.

This was the second year for this type of forum.