Kate Wetzel, Final Thoughts

The second half of my shadowing internship was just as rewarding and inspiring as the first. During the second half of my shadowing, I spent more time in the surgery group’s office than I did in the operating room. While the operating room can be more thrilling, I still learn a lot in the office as I get to see more cases and more patients. Most days, I was in the office 9:00am – 5:00pm shadowing all of the doctors throughout the day as patient after patient came in with their various concerns, pre-op appointments or post-op appointments. As stated in my previous reflection, there are a variety of surgeons and surgical oncologists who work in the office, so I was able to see things from anal fissures to breast cancer to skin cancer to hernias. I have learned a lot through this experience, and I was able to make many connections between the anatomy course that I took last semester. 

I spent a good amount of my time shadowing a doctor that had not been around the office during the first half of my internship. Dr. Ellenhorn is a general surgeon and surgical oncologist. I was able to observe him in the operating room as he repaired hernias and I also was able to see many different cases in the office, as he is a general surgeon. It was interesting being able to shadow him alongside the other doctors because he is relatively older. This means that he had different perspectives on not only medicine but on his journey to become a surgeon. 

My favorite aspects of this internship were my ability to connect with the doctors, their willingness to teach and share information, and most of all the advice that I received about the long road that I have ahead of me as a premedical student. Hearing their stories gave me a better perspective on how I should approach my future including medical school and every step that lies beyond that. This was the most valuable information that I got out of the internship as earlier in the summer I was feeling overwhelmed by everything that was coming my way. The only aspect that could have been improved was that I wish I was given more tasks. For the most part, I was always on my feet observing the doctors and absorbing knowledge but every once in a while, in between patients I would have some downtime and I wish that I could have at least been given some small tasks so that I could help out in any way possible. 

I am extremely grateful that I was able to achieve the three goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the internship in my first reflection. I have definitely come out of my shell and learned not to be scared to talk to the surgeons in the office, I learned more than I ever expected I would, and I believe I made connections with healthcare professionals that could help me in the future. Through this experience I not only grew as a student, but I grew as an individual. I gained so much insight on the responsibilities, difficulties, advantages, and lives that doctors experience every day. Throughout my first two years of college, my determination to become a doctor dwindled slightly as I was not able to experience healthcare first-hand through opportunities such as this one due to COVID-19. However, this experience truly renewed my passion for the field and while I am very aware of the work I have ahead of me, I am ready for it.  

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