The first day of shadowing didn’t happen too long ago, but after that first day, I felt pretty put off. The doctor that I’m shadowing is a colorectal doctor, so there wasn’t much I could do to prepare myself for what I was going to see that first day. They jumped right into having me follow them around, without needing to sit around and do paperwork for them or anything, which was pretty exciting. I was pretty surprised by how open the patients were since it’s an extremely private area that the patients come here for. Most of the time, there wasn’t much when it came to bodily fluids, besides occasionally smelling the stool when they emptied out coloscopy bags, but for the final patient, they decided to cut open an infection and sew it back close, and that’s what really put me off. I knew I was kind of weak to blood before, but seeing that much really startled me. Thankfully, no fainting occurred, but that was probably the weakest I felt in a while. I remember going home and not feeling the appetite or energy to do anything.
The second day of shadowing came and it was a lot better. We got to sit in on colonoscopies, and at first I was a bit nervous, thinking about watching the tube disappear into someone and examine their insides, but when I finally saw it happening, it was actually pretty incredible. The doctor even described it as “playing video games”, which didn’t sound too inaccurate, seeing the device used to control the camera. Each colonoscopy was cooler than the last, seeing the doctor remove polyps was really interesting.
As the time went on, I started to really realize how much work doctors truly needed to do. Don’t get me wrong, I always knew it was a big job, but I didn’t know just how much was done. In their offices, there was always leftover paperwork needed to be done and calls to other doctors needed to be made. They didn’t just focus on their own field, they needed to analyze test results from other doctors, call and make sure medications were correct, and much more. In university, I just needed to focus on whatever I was learning, but doctors need to check everything for their patients’ safety, it was pretty incredible.
By shadowing and following the doctors, I’m learning about how I need to properly interact with others to build good relationships, not only for friendship’s sake or anything, but also for the sake of their lives. I also realized how much more focused I need to be in everything. If they’re distracted for one second, they begin falling behind schedule or falling behind more paperwork. I’ve definitely learned a lot more on etiquette in studying and learning.
Next week, I’ll be allowed to actually join them in the operating room, which I’m pretty excited and extremely nervous about, seeing how my adverse reaction to blood was on the first day, I can’t really imagine how bad I would be in the future.
All in all, I’ve become more firm on my decision to join the health field, which is what I wanted to achieve with this program, which is great. Hopefully after visiting the operating room, I can see what I want to do specifically.
~ Alice G. – North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center