From saving lives to changing them, Virts helps guide medical students at CMR


Mackenzie George, Editor In Chief

Christi Virts didn’t plan on staying at CMR long.

Approached by former athletic trainer Wiley Kendall in need of an athletic trainer, Virts decided that she could stay for a year, serving as both trainer and PE teacher. She was already working full-time as an EMT and applying for physician assistant schools.

“I said, ‘That’s fine, but I’m only going to do this one year,’ and now look what happened,” Virts said.

Seventeen years later, Virts continues to inspire students in the five medical classes she teaches.

“From the start, I’ve always enjoyed being in her room,” senior Erynn Murphy said.

With two anatomy classes, an EMT course, online medical terminology, advanced health science, and putting together internships for students, Virts’ plate is always full. But she continues to learn alongside her advanced health science class, in which students drive the curriculum.

“When we’re not doing case studies, they are telling me things they want to know more about,” Virts said. “So recently we did some brain stuff and some amygdala stuff because we didn’t do that in my anatomy classes.”

Murphy is one student benefiting from the internships Virts helps set up. She is currently part of a program at the Intensive Care Unit at Benefis.

“I get to spend 45 hours following around nurses and seeing exactly what it is that they do every day,” Murphy said. “Not an experience a lot of high schoolers get to have.”

A co-president of the Health Occupations Students of America club, Murphy has spent two years in Virts’ classroom. She describes her teacher as “devoted to her job, loving to her students.”

Virts, who has also taught college EMT courses, loves working with high schoolers.

“They get excited easier [than adult learners],” Virts said. “You can get them to be passionate about something. They have so much still to experience and to learn, so it’s so fun to watch them go through that and be like, ‘This is awesome!’ where adults have a little more life experience.”

Most of Virts’ students end up pursuing a career in the medical field, and many keep in touch. A former student recently sent Virts a text thanking her for her in-depth instruction of the heart and EKG readings. The student is now excelling in her anatomy classes.

“Knowing that it’s easier for her is amazing. That’s all I want to do, is kind of lay a foundation for them and make what is a challenging career field just a little bit easier.”