My first time on hospital rounds!

It’s been an exhausting school (and life) week, topped off by getting up at 4 a.m. this morning to finish a physics lab report that took me more than 8 hours in total. And no, I am not joking. These lab reports are killing me!

In spite of my exhaustion, I can barely contain my excitement … which is what’s getting me through.

Here’s the reason for my excitement: I had the most amazing shadowing experience yesterday. But let me start from the beginning …

Earlier this week, I met a pulmonologist at the free clinic where I volunteer as a Spanish medical translator. It was a slow night, so we talked for a good while. When he heard I was a non-trad pre-med interested in critical care medicine, his immediate response was, “Well, I work in the ICU. Why don’t you come to work with me sometime?” (And of course, my immediate response was … “YES!”)

Turns out this doc not only works in the ICU, he’s the DIRECTOR of the ICU at a hospital that is within walking distance from my house. Can’t get much better than that.

I spent Thursday morning rounding with him and the residents on the ICU (my first time on hospital rounds!), then the early afternoon seeing patients just with him on other hospital units.

Wow. That’s all I can say. I literally saw a bit of everything – bilateral pneumonia, COPD, emphysema, acute asthma, metastatic lung cancer, and so much more. I stood in on two end-of-life issue discussions with patient’s families regarding DNRs, comfort care, hospice, etc. I asked at one point (right before a rather emotional discussion) whether I should stand off to the side, and he told me no, that I should see it all. So I really got exposed to EVERYTHING. Which was exactly what I wanted. And while of course I don’t want people to be critically ill, I loved being in the ICU and in that milieu. The experience confirmed for me what I’ve been thinking for some time – that I really like the hospital environment, and that (at least for now), that’s what I’m interested in.

And the best part is, I’ve got an open invitation to come back any time I want. To shadow the director of an ICU. The ICU being where I think I want to work (eventually). And all this at a hospital within walking distance from my house. I keep thinking that maybe I should pinch myself, that it’s just a happy dream … but I have to remind myself that sometimes things do converge in that way. And I’m just thrilled.

OK, I’ve been exuberant enough for one post. Just wanted to share some of my excitement.

That’s wonderful! Good for you! Keep notes so you can talk about it when you interview.

It seems that you are having fun (despite some delicate issues when it comes to patients and treatment). It probably means that if you are all excited about your experience after the first day, you are doing what’s right for you and being a doctor will suit you.

It looks like you can get a good letter (that may carry some serious weight in your app)

Good luck and keep enjoying.

That’s incredible! You SHOULD be excited, and I am excited FOR you!

Thanks so much for sharing that. It has to feel like such a confirmation. While you know that every day won’t be great, and some will be downright unbearable…you’ll always have moments like today to make you remember why you love it and how you know that you know that you know that this is what you’re supposed to be doing.

What an incredible opportunity! Keep us posted on your experiences!

Good for you.