Day 50: A Day in the OR

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“It’s a beautiful day to save lives” – Derek Shepherd

Today has been quite the day, I was able to scrub in on a couple of surgeries! Tuesdays are great because they’re half days. Lectures in the afternoon mean I have my mornings to sleep in, catch up on work, etc. At my school, we also have the chance to use our free mornings to do preceptorships (basically just a fancy word for shadowing), which is pretty neat since it gives us the chance to explore what we want to go into. One of the most common question I probably get asked is “What kind of doctor do you want to be?”. Short answer: I don’t know. Long answer: I’m planning on going in with an open mind. But I’m interested in surgery, emergency medicine, OB/GYN, and pediatrics. So anything could happen. 

My day started with waking up at 6AM and getting to the hospital at 7AM. By 7:30AM, I was changed into scrubs,  learning how to scrub myself to decrease the risk of passing on infectious agents to the patient, and we were ready for our first procedure. Over the next 6 hours, I got to observe 4 additional procedures and interact with the patients and their family.

During undergrad, I actually had the chance to shadow an orthopedic surgeon and it was a great experience. Something about taking a drill and hammer to the bones is exciting. But shadowing this time felt a little different than my initial experience. It was the same in the sense that I was captivated by what was going on. But different because I wasn’t lost (or I should say, I wasn’t completely lost). When I first shadowed orthopedic procedures, all I knew was that a patient presented with a problem and then the surgeon was able to fix that problem by cutting/going in and manipulating the bone. This time, I knew stuff. I was able to read the X-rays posted, understand how muscle/bone malignancy presents as pain in patients, talk with the surgeon about what it is he’s doing and why he’s doing it, and survive getting quizzed. So I guess you can say that I’ve learned a bit of stuff these past 2 months of med school.

Aside from the surgery aspect of this preceptorship, I got to witness how a (great) physician interacts with their patients and colleagues. In between procedures, he would take the time to thank the staff that assisted him in the operating room and was very intentional when asking about their weekend. He was very keen on making sure the patient was comfortable before and after anesthesia. He was able to connect and kid around with the patient’s family members and explain the procedure in a way they understood it. All of these qualities I aspire to develop, not just as a physician but as a person.

Progress Test 3 on Thursday, White Coat ceremony around the corner, and OB/GYN preceptorship coming up.

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