Pictured above is Trevor Lee with Dr. Yosef Nasseri of The Surgery Group of Los Angeles.
This experience definitely exceeded my expectations! While I was not able to shadow most of the procedures due to restricted hospital privileges, I learned about the culture of a private practice. At my office, each staff member is assigned specific duties, and we needed to clearly communicate with each other. For instance, if there were patients waiting in the lobby, the front desk receptionist needed to inform the medical assistants to room them.
This experience helped me to better understand careers in the medical field and what type of work that I might be interested in. Before shadowing, I thought that the staff in the operating room consisted mainly of surgeons. For more minor procedures, there were only a few doctors — (sometimes) the anesthesiologist and one or two surgeons (the second assisting the main one). There were a lot of nurses and a few surgical technicians that floated in the room because much preparation is required before and after the procedure. Even if you decide to not become a surgeon, you can still largely observe and understand these surgeries and procedures. My colorectal surgeon jokingly asked for a nurse in the room to watch the colonoscopy screens for polyps due to her sharp eyes, and she did point out a polyp! No role in the medical field, especially in the OR, is unimportant.
In terms of specific work, I would like to explore the realm of primary care. Surgeons certainly see patients in the office, and although that sort of work may not be as intriguing or challenging as surgery, it is essential. Furthermore, surgeons’ schedules can be overly demanding (let alone any doctor!), and I’m not sure if those specialties would be the right fit for me as a future doctor.
For a student interested in shadowing, I would encourage them to take risks. If you don’t understand a procedure, read about it and ask your doctor questions. You can even ask the staff as well since they likely know how to answer them. In my host organization, ask for responsibilities! Interact with everyone (unless they’re occupied and the conditions certainly are inappropriate) and develop relationships, even if they might not “benefit” you in terms of landing another internship. At SGLA, everyone is very friendly and patient.
I’m most proud of all the relationships that I’ve built both in the medical field and outside! Aside from the skills and knowledge that you acquire, you develop bonds with others that you can hopefully cherish onward.
Trevor Lee – The Surgery Group of Los Angeles