Shadowing in the OR for the 1st time...


I got the chance to shadow a general surgeon today, and it was my first time in an OR (as a ‘non-patient.’)

I literally felt like a kid in a candy store. I loved everything about it. Loved the team dynamic, loved the dance between the surgeon and her ‘2nd in command’…loved the way the surgeon is this sweet, almost timid woman who took COMPLETE and total charge of that room the moment she walked through the door…loved the artwork of the procedures she did…loved the respect everyone had for one another…loved all the sights, sounds, smells (yes, I know…) Loved seeing the entire abdominal cavity wide open from 3 feet away and realizing that I was not even CLOSE to passing out (LOL)…Even loved getting scrubs out of a vending machine.


Saw a ventral hernia repair that had complications from prior surgeries, a port removal, and a port insertion. Saw a VERY interesting interaction between an older surgeon and my surgeon…he walks into my surgeon’s OR because he was waiting for his case to be fully sedated 2 doors down…has a little small talk…then basically starts telling my surgeon how she’s doing everything wrong and if he were doing it, he’d do it “this way.” Got to see how she handled that (with respect and diplomacy, but still intimated that it was her call…thanked him for his advice, even though he was a total jerk to both her and the surgical team)…

I feel like I learned so much in 6 little hours. She’s invited me back any time. Literally said I can come every week if I want… What an incredible gift!

Since I get my MCAT scores tomorrow night, it was a wonderful distraction and a much needed motivator. I didn’t have a second to sit and wonder about that silly exam.

For what it’s worth… both my friend who is a very successful oncologist and this surgeon I shadowed today basically said the same thing about the MCAT. “Eh…everyone I knew took it at least twice.” The oncologist is in his late 40’s, has had an extremely busy solo practice for over a decade, and he actually told me he made a 26 on his first try. I was so relieved!!! It’s just comforting to know that I’m in good company if I end up doing this retake in July.

Seriously, folks–if you have the chance to get into a hospital during this pre-med phase, please do it! It is so motivating…so encouraging…and such a confirmation of the path you are on!

Have a good evening, friends!

That is awesome. I first saw a knee surgery a few months after my own dislocation (in highschool, a bit of a while ago) and spent the whole time alternating between “Omygosh, that’s AMAZING” and “Oh no, that is a knee, ughhhh, my knee hurts. Don’t pass out.”

Years later, I was the nerd who asked my knee surgeon if I could have a video of my surgery. He took it in stride, but told me no. In post-opp appointment he gave me photos from during surgery and spent the time explaining it in detail. We find mentors in lots of small moments like this.

I put in 40+ hours shadowing 7 different Anesthesiologists at the end of last year and I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment. I was able to see 20+ surgeries and get as many questions as I could think of answered by surgeons, anesthesia techs, nurses, orderlies, and obviously the physicians I was specifically shadowing.

The surgical services has always been where most of my interest seems to focus, and that experience just increased it. The more I learned the more I was sure that was what I wanted to do in life.

The doctors I asked about the MCAT all told me it was the hardest part of getting in, and for some of them it had been a lot of years. I too should be getting my scores tomorrow and while I feel fairly confidant about my performance, as the day gets closer I find myself more anxious about it.

And now back to making another pass on the latest revision of my PS…


I know your exact feeling! I had all of these expectations when I joined the Trauma Surgery service last year and boy it was the best thing that ever happened. I spent the day running around the hospital with a trauma pager, going to surgical clinic, observing surgeries; other days, I sat around talking with the residents and getting TONS of encouragement to continue on the journey.

Although I have some time to make a decision about which specialty I will pursue, getting glimpse into the life of a surgeon has been the best part of the pre-med journey.

BTW-you are going to get a great score tomorrow…I just know it!