This one’s gonna be brief.
6 weeks of various subspecialties is difficult to sum up. Especially since my experiences on otolaryngology, pediatric cardiac surgery, and orthopedic surgery were different from nearly everyone. For the non-med readers, there are a total of eight specialties that the med students are required to know about, but we only have the opportunity to see three. Studying the scope of 5 specialties that you don’t even glimpse as well as trying to absorb 3 you see every day is difficult to say the least.
But I wouldn’t be Atalanta if I didn’t attempt to entertain you for a few minutes. And by God, I need some entertaining, too. (Plus I may or may not be procrastinating from doing writing that actually needs doing.)
The where: pick a hospital, I was there.
The good: Variety. So much variety. The breadth of medicine you witness on this rotation is pretty incredible, and mine perhaps more than most. I got to see a lot more pediatric surgery than I’d ever hoped to see, and very cool surgery at that. There’s nothing quite so remarkable as having the preceptor say, “Here, here’s the heart, remember what that feels like.” (In case you wondered, it’s pretty awe-inspiring to gently rest your hand on a child’s heart. To know that it’s safe under your care and that the faulty valve, which would otherwise restrict their life, will not exist to them.) In particular, I quite enjoyed ENT (or, as they prefer, otolaryngology and head & neck surgery), as I got to attend a whole lot of clinic. The whole “clinic = good times” thing is becoming a pattern…
The not-so-good: I found myself bored an awful lot, especially since the preceptors tend to be less interested in teaching than in other rotations (I’m generalizing hugely here). They’re very busy and what they’re doing requires a lot of concentration. Even the residents are usually tied up in the technicalities and minutiae. That being said, there were five other whole fields of medicine to study so having a bit of downtime to study is not necessarily a bad thing. And it’s funny, while I was often tired and yawning, I was also run off my feet. Ortho in particular is a very busy service with a high turnover. I lucked out with my preceptor, but that easily could have been overwhelming.
The verdict: Nah. I’m glad I got to see what I did, especially ortho and ENT (ultra relevant, yes?), and I’m glad I got a sense of when to refer to what, but I could have been happy with 3 weeks instead of 6.
Soon to come, physiatry…
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