Pre Departure (Ariel)

Today marks the end of spring semester, which is bittersweet. However, I am extremely excited for the summer to come. I am very grateful to the Brandeis Summer Shadowing Program for allowing me the invaluable opportunity to shadow Dr. Cataldo, a renowned colon rectal surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

I am most excited to shadow in the OR this summer, as it will be my first exposure to surgery here in the U.S. This is a perfectly timed opportunity, as I have just taken the Anatomy course with Professor Jim Morris at Brandeis. During the course, I dissected many organisms, including fetal pigs, perch, and frogs, and studied the various anatomical features of the organisms firsthand.Therefore, I expect to apply many of the things I learned to my observations in the OR.

I am most nervous about making the most of my experience in the shadowing program, as well as doing my part to be a good representative of Brandeis. I am worried that the program will not meet my expectations or that I will not meet the expectations of my project site. I have, however, already spoken with Dr. Cataldo a few weeks prior and he was unbelievably nice and accommodating so I am not nervous about meeting him in person.

My expectations are simple. I expect to be exposed to the inner workings of the hospital environment as well as to learn more about not only the technical aspect of clinical care, but also the human aspect of patient-doctor communication. I have already had a few shadowing experiences abroad, so I look forward to drawing comparisons between my experiences abroad and my shadowing experience at Beth Israel.

My goals for this summer are to:
– Network and develop good relations with Dr. Cataldo and all of the hospital staff
– Apply skills and knowledge from my college courses to my observations in the clinic and OR
– Compare and contrast American and foreign healthcare systems
– Identify gaps or areas for improvement in the American healthcare system
– Learn more about patient-doctor interaction and the anthropological aspect of treatment of illness
– Most importantly: as an aspiring doctor, to learn from Dr. Cataldo about what it truly means to be a healthcare practitioner and to better prepare myself for a future career in medicine

That’s it for now, and I will check back in with you once I have settled into the program. I wish you all a lovely summer!

Ariel – Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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As a senior in high school, I was fortunate enough to have been placed in a program at my school called the Allied Health Academy. This program was designed to provide to high school students with aspirations to pursue careers in the health field the opportunity to experience being in a hospital setting. Through this program, I was placed on the surgical floor at the Whidden Hospital where I shadowed many outstanding surgeons. It was a very enriching experience even though I was only able to do it for a couple of hours per week. Thinking back about how I felt three years before I began my shadowing experience, and comparing it to how I feel now, the parallels are astonishing. Though I now have prior experience with shadowing and volunteering in a hospital, which I did not have three years ago, I am still incredibly nervous about this summer.

Although I have a general idea of what to expect now, I realize that no two shadowing experiences are the same and therefore no prior experience can truly prepare me for it. Both three years ago and now, I find myself being most nervous about getting used to the new hospital setting. However, while I may be nervous, I am also beyond excited in anticipation of what I will be learning this summer. Knowing how much I’ve gained from my shadowing experience from three years ago, I am certain that I will come out of this experience with yet more knowledge in medicine and on what it means to be a doctor, and with a renewed passion for medicine.


Taisha Joseph – Cambridge Health Alliance

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Pre Departure

This summer shadowing program is one of the biggest things I’ve ever done for a summer, and one of the more important things. I’ve never taken my future into account this heavily before, so I’m incredibly nervous and excited. I’m most excited to finally see what exactly goes on “behind-the-scenes” in the medical field. I’m also excited to gain experience with talking to professionals and learning more about the field; I’m not 100% set on doing pre-med, but hopefully after shadowing, it’ll help me figure out my future better. Maybe I’ll go into pharmacy, or physical therapy, who knows.

I’m super nervous about actually going into the hospital. I’m extremely squeamish, it’s pretty bad, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it out of whatever I see alive. I’m also a bit nervous about just networking. There’s no way to practice networking in a class or online; you’re thrust into the situation and have to learn from there. I’m hoping this experience will help me out after, but for now, I’m still nervous.

My expectations for this experience are basically to just figure out how I want to go about my future, whether I want to go through pre-med or switch gears. I hope I’ll be able to see what makes doctors willing to go through all the years of medical school, and if the commitment is worth it.

The primary goal is just to figure out if I want to continue on the pre-med track, or diverge off into something related. Becoming a doctor was something my father always pushed on me, so I’ve never been sure of whether or not I actually would like it. My biggest hope is that I’ll come out of the program with a better understanding of what I want to do with my future.

~ Alice G.

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On behalf of the Pre-Health Advising staff, we’d like to congratulate the students who will be participating in this year’s Summer Shadowing Program! Take a look at the 2017 Shadows page to learn more about them.

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