HSF ended, I had 2.5 weeks off, and as of August 3 I have been back in school! This semester I’m taking 24 credit hours, not including clinic one morning per week. My main classes are Neuroscience and Pathology I; I’ll give an update later in the semester on my current classes. Suffice it to say, I am loving this semester so far. 😉 ALSO — White Coat Ceremony was this past weekend! After 2 years of practically year-round classes, I am officially part of the medical school — even though I’ve been taking medical classes interspersed since Year 1 and solely since January.
On my 2.5 week break I had the opportunity to shadow a neurosurgeon for 4 days. This was a great experience; I got to see some very intricate surgeries, was questioned over the relevant anatomy, and was reminded of my ultimate goal and why I must push through the long hours of studying — even when I would like to call it a day. I was interested in neurosurgery when I entered the 6 year program, and this interest was confirmed at the beginning of Year 2 when I shadowed a neurosurgeon for the first time. The neuroanatomy is so intriguing, and I enjoy the surgical aspect in that you have a defined problem, work to fix it, and soon after have a result (whether good or bad).
I used some of my break time to study and prepare for shadowing — I wanted to know as much as I could so I would 1) have a better idea of what was happening in the surgeries, and 2) be more likely to know the answer to any question that I may be asked. The content we learned in HSF (Human Structure Function I-IV) really prepared me the most, and was incredibly useful — I was able to follow along with most of the anatomy they discussed, and knew some answers to questions I was asked. Let me tell you, it is great motivation to study even harder when you’re asked a question to which you don’t remember the answer. 😉 My shadowing experience was also nice in the sense that it helped demonstrate how the information we are learning in class is clinically relevant.
I got to see several different surgeries, some in part and others in entirety. I learned that I am able to stand up for 9 hours straight and still remain enthralled with the surgery that I am observing. I got to see several surgeries on the brain (in my previous shadowing experience I had observed spinal and peripheral nerve surgeries). The following is a short list of my favorite surgeries that I got to observe, with links to YouTube videos with descriptions of the surgeries:
- cerebral aneurysm clipping
- removal of an acoustic neuroma/vestibular schwannoma via a translabyrinthine approach
- laser ablation surgery
Overall, it was a wonderful experience. I was able to meet some neurosurgery residents, and to view how a neurosurgery program (which has residents) is run. After observing several additional surgeries, neurosurgery is definitely the field to which I am aspiring (as has been the case for over a year now). I am very glad I had the opportunity to shadow over break, as it renewed my energy and placed my end goal at the forefront of my mind as I am beginning classes for the fall semester.
Disclaimer: I do realize that interests can change throughout medical school, particularly once you start clinical rotations.