My summer has been filled with so many new experiences. I shadowed in the OR for the first time, sat in on resident meetings about patient rounds, learned how to design surveys in REDCap, and entered too many patient charts to remember.
Reflecting on my time at MGH, I tried to think of a central theme that sums up my experiences. While I could say “surgery”, “research”, or “working in a hospital”, I think my summer experiences are best unified by the phrase: “making connections”.
Asking a doctor why she decided to specialize in general surgery on the way back from the OR. Talking to a scrub nurse about why she loves her job. Hearing a resident explain why he switched his career trajectory from veterinary medicine to human medicine partway through undergrad, and telling him that I was considering the same. Listening to patients talk about their struggles and pain, and the long-awaited relief weeks after surgery.
Listening to patients and having discussions with healthcare providers — making connections —, was truly the highlight of my summer. Since MGH is such a large teaching hospital, I had the pleasure of working with nurses, nurse practitioners, medical students, residents, research residents, fellows, and surgeons. All of them were willing to explain their journey to patient care, and happy to offer advice about my own.
At the beginning of the summer I gave a quote: “When the fireflies are gone, the ponds have dried up and the plants are wilted, weary from being so green. It’s no longer really summer but the air is still too warm and heavy to be fall. It’s the season between the seasons” (Dry by Augusten Burroughs, 74).
Perhaps June was too early, but now the timing seems just right — it is the season between seasons. Summer’s coming to an end, and with the earlier sunsets comes the familiarity of another academic semester. I’m lucky enough to be continuing research at MGH over the school year, so while this is technically my final thoughts post, in a way it’s another midway point post. Again, I’m being thrust into a new season, and again I’m excited to see what this new season of fall has in store for me.