Cynthia, Pre-Departure

This summer I have been given the opportunity to shadow Dr. Thomas Cataldo at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Cataldo is an Assistant Professor in Surgery at Harvard Medical School and is on staff in the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Beth Israel. I am excited to shadow Dr. Cataldo as he meets with, examines, and performs surgery on his patients.

Ever since I was eleven, I have wanted to be a doctor. It all stemmed from the fact that I was sick all the time when I was child. Each time I was ill, I would look in a medical book that my parents had to diagnose myself. In middle school and high school, I watched Grey’s Anatomy. Although that show glamorized the medical profession, it furthered my desire to be a doctor and made me curious about what it’s like to be a surgeon. In high school, I attended multiple summer camps helping high school students explore the medical profession. The summer before coming to Brandeis, I interned in a lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. While there, I was able to shadow two oncologists who specialized in leukemia. I was able to watch how these doctors interacted with their patients and was even able to interact with a few patients myself. This shadowing reaffirmed my goal of working in the medical profession.

This will be my third shadowing experience but the most substantial because it won’t just be two or three days of shadowing. I am excited to watch the surgeries and see how the doctor interacts with his patients in the clinic. I hope that I am able to watch the surgeries without becoming nauseous. I have never watched a surgery being performed on a patient and am excited to learn about the process of what exactly goes into it. For example, I want to understand the pre-surgery preparations, the actual surgery, and the post-surgery preparations. I wonder if this process will be as it is portrayed in television and the movies.

I also am interested in learning how Dr. Cataldo interacts with other medical professionals in and outside of the operating room. I know that there is a lot of teamwork in medicine and I want to watch this teamwork happening live. I hope to learn about Dr. Cataldo’s journey in becoming a surgeon and the lessons he has learned along the way. I also want to learn what skills are needed in the medical profession.

I believe this shadowing opportunity will show me what it means to be a doctor in the twenty-first century. I also believe it will reaffirm my goal of helping people through the medical profession by one day becoming a doctor myself.  

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