It’s been about 3 weeks ever since my internship started, and to be honest, this has been a much more valuable experience than I ever thought it would!
My main task has been to populate a RedCap database with patient information concerning vaginal lacerations during childbirth. Ultimately, our goal is to find out what sort of factors correlate with severe lacerations, along with any “breakdowns” of the surgical laceration repairs – which means that somehow, the repair might break and the wound would rupture. In order to enter data, I’ve been reading previous notes on the patient’s condition concerning their pregnancy. Even though this is a retrospective study, reading those notes has actually been very interesting because it’s almost as if I’m reading along with the patient’s journey! I get to read how the patient has been doing health wise concerning their pregnancy, their pregnancy details, and how both they and the baby have been doing after the pregnancy. It’s a little silly to say, but it always makes me happy whenever the mother and the baby are doing well postpartum! I have also been learning so much about obstetrics – for example, different surgical procedures for laceration repairs, details about childbirth, potential factors that correlate with difficult pregnancies – and even though I’m not intending to go into this field, it’s been quite interesting nonetheless.
In addition to my database entry responsibilities, I am also shadowing OB / GYNs during their consultations and surgeries. Even though I didn’t think I would be that interested in obstetrics or gynecology, it’s been so wonderful and heartwarming to watch how doctors treat their patients – how kind and patient the doctors are, how they make the patients comfortable by talking about other things in life, and how talented the doctors are at teaching patients about their health conditions and treatment options, especially in such a field as this where patients may feel embarrassed or ashamed of themselves. It’s also been incredible watching surgeries – so far I’ve only seen surgeries related to prolapses and urinary incontinence – but they have been laparoscopic surgeries, which means the doctor makes a small incision in the abdomen, inserts a camera, and does all their surgery work inside while looking at a monitor. It seems so difficult, making small stitches while only looking at a 2D monitor! But the attending doctors and fellows have all been so great at it! And during the surgeries, more experienced physicians will often be teaching residents and medical students as well. It’s a wonderful relationship to see, and it makes me a bit happy too because it feels more personable when you see interactions between people in all stages of their health careers.
Overall, even though it’s only been 3 weeks (and I pretty much only go 2 – 3 days a week), I’ve been learning and experiencing so much that I find meaningful to me, regardless of whatever profession I’m interested in! I think something especially wonderful that I’ve been able to see is the patient to doctor interaction; how in this clinical space where we’re talking about the patient’s health, there is no judgement or blame – it’s all about how we can help you do better and feel better, and how we can help you feel more comfortable. To me, that’s something so valuable and precious; the trust between a patient and a doctor – and I would love to become someone like that in the future! All in all, I am incredibly thankful to all the faculty at MGH and the prehealth department at Brandeis for being so considerate, and for helping me grow and learn!