I have learned a lot from the past few weeks at Mass General. So far, my time there has been divided up between research and observing in the clinic and OR. The research consists of going through the medical records of several women who suffered third or fourth degree perineal tears during childbirth and adding their information to a database. This project has allowed me to become much more familiar with EPIC, as well as learn more about perineal tears through answering the questions in the database. Although I don’t understand many of the things that happen during surgery, observing in the OR has also been incredibly informative and interesting. It was most exciting to see a case that I had observed in clinic, as I knew more about the patient’s background and could better understand the reasoning behind the procedure.
This experience reinforced the importance of continuity of care, as I saw how things the patient said during the appointment affected various decisions made during surgery. Prior to shadowing in this department, I knew almost nothing about urogynecology, in part because it is a relatively niche field, but largely because people do not talk about women’s health issues, particularly when the affected population is middle-aged or older. It has been extremely inspiring to observe the doctors in this department using their vast knowledge to treat patients non-judgmentally. Because of the embarrassing nature of many of the problems that people come in with, the doctors have to make them feel safe and understood, a difficult task in a society with so many taboos surrounding women’s health. By providing good care, the urogynecologists are able to greatly improve their patients emotional, as well as physical well-being.
During the coming weeks, I would like to ask the doctors in the clinic why they chose to specialize in urogynecology. I am curious at what point in their medical education they decided to go this route and what influenced them to do so. In the coming weeks, I am excited to continue working on the database and learning more about patient care through observation.