Local Anesthesiologist Brings Text to Life for High School Students

Paul Hoell, president of the medical staff and an anesthesiologist at New London Family Medical Center, has always had an interest in teaching.

For the last five years, he has had an opportunity to be in the front of the classroom for students in Advanced Anatomy and Physiology. “It’s always been a passion of mine and this is an outlet to allow me to teach,” said Dr. Hoell, who will be presenting for the sixth year later in January.

When Dr. Hoell’s daughter, now 22, was a student at New London High School, he was asked if he could talk to students about his role as an anesthesiologist. He jumped at the chance because he said it is important students in the class understand how anesthesiology affects everyone. “Not only do I use what the students are learning about every day, for example, where a nerve lies and functions, but I also like to relate it to how medications work,” he said.

He uses real life examples to bring their text books to life. For instance, he can explain how an epidural works not only for labor but also chronic pain. “It’s to educate them not only as a potential healthcare provider but also as a healthcare consumer,” said Dr. Hoell. 

He also shares his long journey. “As a high school senior I didn’t know what I wanted to do the rest of my life,” he said.

Dr. Hoell received a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing, which he did for seven years. He went back to medical school and became an anesthesiologist. He likes to say he graduated from 26th grade. “That’s how many years I went to school,” he said.

But his story also shows how it can be done, how by achieving a goal can be rewarding. “You have to find something that at 5 in the morning, you want to jump out of bed,” said Dr. Hoell. “You want to find something that really excites you.”

Jennifer Doran, who teaches the class, said her students really respond to Dr. Hoell’s visits. She said they are interactive and his information is relevant to her classes. “What I love about his talks is that he asks my students questions about what they have been learning in the classroom and he then relates the question and answer to how he uses that information in his practice,” she said. “He makes the students realize that what they are learning in the classroom is relevant information that they will continue to use in the medical profession if that is where they are headed.”

Dr. Hoell is also serving on the advisory board of the health and human services academy at New London High School. “He has attended student presentations and provided feedback for students on their presentations,” said Doran. “Students present medical mysteries and public health campaigns and we rely on the expertise of Dr. Hoell to question and critique the students. Dr. Hoell is an essential member of the community that has supported the school's programs and provided valuable feedback to our students.”