At the beginning of the summer, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from my internship at Boston Children’s Hospital. I wasn’t 100% set on whether a career in the medical profession was what I wanted to pursue or whether this opportunity was going to teach me things beyond what Brandeis had already given me. Upon entering Children’s on my first day back in early June, all doubts I’d had vanished as I was immediately submerged into the hustle and bustle of a hospital work environment. There was never a dull moment over the summer, but rather a constant stream of interesting work to be done and knowledge to be gained.
From my work on the Female Athlete Triad screening survey to analyzing data in the retrospective chart review, working at Boston Children’s Hospital enabled me to fulfill all my anticipated goals. Although most of my work was centered primarily around research, I was still able to participate in patient care and even serve as a test dummy for a few clinical tasks that needed to be done. Being able to experience multiple facets of the medical career not only helped me visualize my future goals and dreams but provided me with a deepened view of how research can be conducted. Although my main supervisor was a doctor, I made connections with nurses, physician assistants and research coordinators, all of whom aided in my success over the summer. Working with all these different types of people allowed me to get many different prospectives on how the medical system works and how it requires a great deal of coordination and balance between each sector for things to run smoothly. All the tasks I had to complete this summer broadened the knowledge I’d gained from Brandeis as I finally got to put theory into practice.
I believe that my experiences at Boston Children’s Hospital will directly translate into furthering my Brandeis education. I now have a grasp on research in a clinical setting and can begin to explore my own ideas for research in the future. At the midpoint this summer I had begun working on my own project to get the Female Athlete Triad into the forefront of Brandeis Athletics and have since been in contact with the athletic director to get the gears in motion. Using Brandeis as a launch site, I hope to be able to expand awareness of the Triad into other colleges and athletic programs in the area.
My biggest advice to a future Boston Children’s intern is to never be afraid to ask questions and always have a notebook available to jot down notes. When I first began my internship, I was always nervous to ask questions but I slowly became more comfortable with my supervisors and the questions began to naturally flow. Having a notebook was also a large component to my success as I would typically review what I had learned that day every night just to make sure there wasn’t anything I needed to get clarified.
I absolutely loved every minute of working at Boston Children’s Hospital. The staff I worked with and the patients I got to meet made a huge impact on me and my future aspirations. I hope to continue with the connections I made and thank Brandeis and Hiatt for the amazing opportunity I was given.
Having reached the halfway point of my internship at Boston Children’s Hospital, I have successfully completed the patient survey and have begun to work on implementing it into a clinical setting. Through the use of this survey, patients will be prescreened for Female Athlete Triad, enabling doctors to provide better care to their patients. Having completed the survey, I have progressed into seeking IRB approval for a retrospective chart review study on female dancers to see how Female Athlete Triad affects their health. In gaining approval, I have had to use a great deal of my Brandeis knowledge, as being able to write scientifically plays a vital role in the process. Although my scientific background has provided me a firm basis for a lot of the work I’ve done at Children’s, my internship has taught me so much to this point. I have become much more comfortable interacting with professional medical staff through asking lots of questions and by taking their feedback on the projects I work on. I also have learned a great deal about doctor-patient interaction and how to best serve individuals in a professional manner. Many of the experiences I have had at Children’s are unlike anything I would be able to have on my own, so each day is a learning opportunity. I’m proud of my ability to use the knowledge I’ve gained at Brandeis in a real-world hospital setting. Compared to the other interns who work with me, it’s clear that Brandeis has given me a step up in many aspects including the efficiency and quality of my work as well as my ability to work in a professional setting.
My internship at Boston Children’s Hospital has thus far solidified my interests in pursing a career in the medical field that encompasses both patient interaction and research. Through working with my supervisor I’ve begun to develop my own ideas on research that I could pursue on my own after my internship at Children’s is over. I’ve also started a discussion with my supervisor on trying to implement a Female Athlete Triad program within the Brandeis Athletic Program to educate athletes on the issue and hopefully aid in prevention.
After spending my last summer swamped in organic chemistry, I decided I needed a summer to test my Brandeis education in the medical world. Having gained a great deal of experience in a lab setting already, I was very interested in expanding that knowledge into a clinical setting. Through my participation in a research trial on female athletes, I had the pleasure of meeting my current supervisor, a physician and clinical researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital. She offered me a position as a research intern, helping to continue the work being done towards preventing injuries in female athletes.
Ranked as one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country, Boston Children’s Hospital has a long-standing history of advancing medicine into the future. Their values include excellence, sensitivity, leadership, and community with a mission of providing quality care, progression in research, and teaching future leaders in pediatric care. Boston Children’s Hospital is not-for-profit so all resources go towards fulfilling and maintaining the values and mission of the hospital. Children’s also is home to the world’s largest research enterprise as leaders in uncovering the cause of diseases from autism to juvenile leukemia. I will be stationed at the Waltham campus with some work being conducted in Boston.
Along with my supervisor, I also get to work with another sports medicine physician who does a great deal of work with the Boston Ballet and has a strong interest in conducting more research on dancers and the injuries they sustain. With the guidance of both doctors I have begun working on a patient survey that will be used in the hospital to help find patients with high risks for injury. I have also begun the process of gaining International Review Board approval to perform a retrospective chart review on dancers to see if a specific BMI correlates to certain injuries.
All of the research I will get to do this summer will help improve the knowledge of the Female Athlete Triad. The Female Athlete Triad is a syndrome that affects the health of active women and girls who participate in sports. The triad is comprised of three distinct and interrelated conditions: Energy Deficiency with or without Disordered Eating/Eating Disorder, Menstrual Problems and weak bones. Many female athletes are affected by this syndrome but the extent to which it affects each individual ranges along a continuum of severity. Menstrual problems include irregular or missed periods. Bone problems can include stress fractures and reduced bone density for an individual’s age and activity level. Being affected by any aspect of the Triad can have detrimental effects on the health of female athletes, so when an athlete presents with multiple afflictions it is important to treat them quickly. Luckily those affected by the Female Athlete Triad can turn their health around by supplying their bodies with enough calories to fuel them while in motion and at rest. However, many female athletes participate in sports where physical aesthetics are a large factor in the competition or are so driven to win that they disregard the potential harm they place on their bodies. For these athletes it is important to introduce guidelines at a young age to prevent and insure that their bodies will never suffer the consequences of the Triad.
Over the course of the summer I hope to familiarize myself with clinical research. So far I have gotten to see many different angles of the medical field as I am continuously surrounded with doctors, physician assistants, nurses and researchers all working together in different ways to improve the lives of the people they serve. I also hope to take away information that I could use to directly impact my peers in the athletic community, as preventing injury is one of the most important aspects of being an athlete.