Third year is flying by. Surgery was exhausting, but much more exciting that pediatrics. Here is what I learned during my surgery and neurology rotations:
1) I am a better fit for surgery than pediatrics. I rotated through general surgery, vascular surgery, acute care surgery, and orthopaedic surgery over the past 2 months. It is interesting how different specialties, even subspecialties, attract various personalities. The vascular attendings were laid-back, the general surgeons were straight-to-the-point, the trauma surgeons were straightER-to-the-point. I felt like I ‘fit in’ better with the surgeons than the pediatricians.
2) I want to do procedures. In clinic, my mind wanders and time crawls by. And then my mind slows down. Then I fall asleep. During procedures, I am attentive and don’t even think to check the time. I had to do two 24 hour shifts on acute care surgery. My first shift was relatively uneventful, minus midnight pizza house delivery. The sleep deprivation made it a miserable experience from 2-6AM. The second shift went by too quickly. We had a couple emergency procedures that I scrubbed in for and I had to be told to leave in the morning. I didn’t realize how late (or early) it was.
3) Support is everything. Okay, this one applies to some random things. Get a good pair of shoes! Your feet, legs, and lower back will thank you for it. Also, find some support from other medical students. We are going through a unique, mentally-exhausting experience that is hard for others to relate to. Just think, we pay ridiculous amounts of money to work hard, long hours in the hospital. Our free time is largely devoted towards studying for an NMBE shelf that ultimately determines our grades. And we are often reminded of our junior status on the wards. Other med students are one of the few groups of people that truly understand our whining. This brings comfort.
4) Cafeteria food gets old. The VA has the kind of food you’d expect for a VA–greasy, homestyle food cooked in grease and topped with lard. Just kidding, it isn’t that bad, but it does remind me of my great grandmother’s nursing home cafeteria without the cool soft-serve ice cream machine. The food at the U is amazing in comparison to the VA and most other hospital cafeterias, but the choices are limited (and sugar-free).
5) Neurology is not for me! I think that localizing lesions and relying upon the physical exam for diagnosing neurological diseases is fascinating, but the outcomes are too disheartening. Part of the reason I want to become an orthopaedic surgeon is because the outcomes are so great. Much of neurology is focused on preventing progression or recurrence of disease.
6) They say most med students change which specialty they want to go into 2 or 3 times during med school. I haven’t changed yet, but my number two choice has changed from EM to derm to sports medicine in a matter of 6 months. I don’t think internal medicine, psych or Ob will be too appealing to me, but you never know!
7) Took a weekend off to head home to celebrate the newly wed Mr. and Mrs. Brandon Kliesen in Pueblo and had more fun than I could have ever imagined. Congratulations Brandon and Jenna!