Reflecting on my shadowing experience with Dr. Denoya at Stony Brook University Hospital, I genuinely believe that I will not have another experience quite like this one. Shadowing Dr. Denoya gave me the opportunity to witness what I am interested in being part of as a future Pediatric Surgeon. Going into my experience at Stony Brook, I had three main goals:
- To better understand the medical jargon specific to colorectal surgery.
- To gain a better understanding of what it looks like to be a surgeon.
- To challenge myself to apply what I already know and expand my knowledge.
I am happy to say that I have met each of these goals through asking Dr. Denoya and her colleague, Dr. Smithy, questions. I also reached these goals through shadowing in several surgeries from hemorrhoidectomies to colon resections, all of which helped me to better visualize the true anatomy and planes of dissection in relation to the diagrams of the body we see in textbooks.
Ultimately, there were two things that stood out to me during my shadowing experience:
The first thing being my attendance at the Department of Surgery’s Research Day. At Research Day, I listened to residents and an undergraduate student present their findings on different projects they worked on throughout the year. My favorite part of Research Day 2018 was listening to Dr. Jeffrey Matthews on “Truth and Truthiness of Surgery”. He spoke about the flaws of Evidence Based Medicine and the importance of how medical education equips you with the decision making skills and experience to rely on your individual clinical judgment. This one-day conference exposed me to the benefits of partaking in different fields of research from sociological research to clinical research. In addition to the amazing presentations, I was also able to network with current medical students at SBU and other physicians in the SBUH network.
The second thing that stood out to me was the accurate representation of an Inter-Professional Model for delivering patient care. An Inter-Professional Model shows that all health care professionals/providers must work together in order to deliver the best care to a patient. At SBUH, you could see how everyone from nurses to anesthesiologists worked very closely together to ensure they could deliver care to the best of each of their abilities.
Because of my experience at Stony Brook, I feel that I have more of an accurate perception as to what the life of a surgeon is like. Dr. Denoya was extremely helpful in explaining to me that there is not one path to medicine because everyone’s journey is special. She spoke with me about her experience from being a medical student to becoming an attending and how those experiences have shaped who she is as a physician today.
Thank you to Brandeis Pre-Health Advising, Maryann Reiss, and Dr. Paula Denoya for making this opportunity possible and for allowing me to further engage with my passion for medicine. This experience has been so integral for me in figuring out my next steps before medical school, and words cannot explain how grateful I am.