Yesterday I had the opportunity to shadow one of my professors in the local neurology clinic. We entered the hospital in our white coats and patients left and right were greeting us. “Hello Doctor!” “Good afternoon, Doc!” It was the first time I’ve ever had this kind of raw exposure to the community as a medical student. The level of respect that these patients had towards us “doctors” was incredible. I felt such respect watching my professor interact with patients and also appreciated him taking the time to explain to me the different diagnoses. It was awesome to also be able to understand all the “medical talk” and made me realize that I’m learning SO MUCH in school.
The “white coat” is just another article of clothing to most people. A fashion statement. To me, it is a symbol of what I am working towards. It made me feel useful and wanting to do everything I can to make a difference in people’s lives. The level of pride I felt in putting on the coat and the respect that people had really motivated me to do my absolute best, so I can someday benefit many people with my education and make a difference.
As I shadowed my professor, hearing the diagnoses and medications, I saw my medical education coming alive right in front of me. Seeing Guillian-Barre, Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, bitemportal hemaniopsia right in front of me…You hear about all these things in your classes but never really grasp the reality of it until you see it right in front of you.
Our professors are a great resource that is right in front of us. Take advantage when they offer opportunities to shadow or assist with research. I was only shadowing for three hours but I learned and saw so much! I’ll never forget this opportunity, which I know is the first of many. It refreshed me in the sense that it showed me why I was here in the first place, and showed me what I had to look forward to in the future!