Shadowing Again

I just got back from shadowing Dr. Groom, an ER doc who’s a recent grad from TCOM. We didn’t get to talk much because he was surprisingly busy. I couldn’t believe the number of people sitting in the waiting area. But I did get to see quite a number of patients with him.
The most interesting patient was a drug-seeker who came in via ambulance. He claimed he’d had a migraine for two weeks solid. Dr. Groom asked this man several questions and examined him. Groom asked the man to lift his arms up, and the man said, “Take me, Jesus.” We promptly left, and Dr. Groom looked up his record, and sure enough, he’d been in several times. He wasn’t officially listed as a drug-seeker, but he suspect.
Another woman came in. Two days ago, she’d had gall-bladder surgery, and she came to the ER because of pain that she rated as an 8. Dr. Groom “scanned” her, and he found a tumor on her kidney. Her white count was 17,000. He didn’t let me go in with him to tell her the bad news, and I was glad. I was going to decline if he asked me to accompany him.
Other than those two, it was mostly people with hurting knees and such. A woman came in who was vomiting blood, but I had to leave.
Dr. Groom said I could come back and shadow anytime he was working.
Interesting things I noticed:
Doctors are pretty spoiled at this hospital. If they want a phone number, they just say, “I need the number to X.” Somebody looks it up for them and calls it out. And these weren’t times when the docs were doing anything. One doc there waited until a nurse came back to look up a number instead of just looking the number up himself.
Also, the ER docs here work 8-hour shifts. I was surprised by that. I assumed everyone was 12-hours these days.

Wow, Ash. That sounds like an awesome experience. How did you find this shadowing opportunity? I really want to get some shadowing experience, in part because I don't have time to commit to a regular volunteer position and in part because I'd really like to see what their work day is like. I haven't figured out how to go about it with all the new HIPAA rules, though.
Sad to hear that docs are no better about doing things for themselves that they are perfectly capable of than their peers in the business world. I sit next to my managing director and his assistant and listen to him all day yell out for phone numbers (which would take him less time to look up himself), coffee, copies, etc. He's not rude about it, but expects that she is there to be his personal assistant, not just his professional assistant. As she calls her position - adult babysitter. Seems that the higher up they get, the more common sense gets shoved out of the brain. I was hoping medicine wasn't so much that way!

I got hooked up with this doctor after he came in to the chiropractic office where my SO works. She asked him if he could dig on some pre-med student shadowing him, and he said for me to call him when he was on duty.
When I called, I had to deal with a bulldog secretary who wouldn’t let me talk to Dr. Groom. She said she would take a message. I said that he told me to call him about a possible time to shadow. Then the secretary lightened up and said, “Oh, you want to shadow. Okay. I’ll give him the message and get back in touch with you.” She called back in about ten minutes and said I could come between 7 and 3.
I was afraid, too, that HIPAA would stop shadowing. But none of the patients balked at my being there. Dr. Groom introduced me as “Somone trying to learn how to be a doctor,” and that pretty much satisfied everyone.

Ah… connections. I’m having trouble here in Boston, but I do have some in NH. My mom worked for a family practitioner for quite a while and he’s known me since I was a kid (I used to go to the office once a week after school to wait for my mom to take me to dance class and he’d sometimes find little tasks for me to do after I finished my homework), so he might be willing to let me shadow. My best friend’s dad is in internal medicine, so he’s another possibility. If nothing else they may be able to help me network to find someone who will be willing to help out. I guess part of what is holding me back is fear of being told “no”! Then again, I’ll never get a yes if I don’t ask!
Thanks again for posting your experience, Ash! It was great to read about.

Very cool! Your experiences sound really interesting. I desperately need to shadow some docs. I really need to get some clinical experience. I do volunteer at a hospital and interact with patients in that I discharge them (wheel them out) and I do errands (blood runs/lab runs), but I’m so worried that I’ll be “attacked” by an adcom someday for not having shadowed to see what it’s really like. I will do this…I’ve just been lazy about it.