Shadowing a Surgeon…again

Hi friends! I haven’t posted at all during this semester, I’ve been more active on my Instagram page, but I wanted to write a bit about my experience shadowing another surgeon last week. Quick “get to know me”: I’m a pre-med student at Albion College, major: exercise science, future plans: pediatric surgeon!

I shadowed quite a few health care providers in high school from doctors to PAs to nurses. I wrote about all of them as well…go check it out!

So this surgeon is a friend of my mom’s from her camp counselor days. I shadowed him one other time about a year and a half ago. Now that I’m in college, I decided to shadow him again so that I could actually observe in the OR as well as office hours. I got to the hospital at 6am, and we immediately started the day.

I got to wear scrubs! They are hospital issued scrubs, and I couldn’t find the right size so they weren’t the most comfortable things to wear all day, but it was worth it.

We started by rounding on his post-op patients and seeing some new consults. One of the chief general surgery residents rounded with us! She was so smart and gave her opinion/asking him questions. He wanted to know her opinion on lots of things. There were several times where he took her advice and changed his plan. It was interesting to see that dynamic and to know that one day I’ll have all of that knowledge and be able to make those decisions!

*One thing that stood out to me was the male-female ratio. I didn’t see any female surgeons. There were female surgery residents, and female surgeons in other specialties (Ob/Gyn), but not general. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I was still surprised.*

Then, he started surgery. I got to see two operations. He was the head surgeon and the same resident was his first assist. He talked to me during the operations, showed me the anatomy, and made sure that I understood what he was doing. The scrub nurse talked to me too. Of course, she was trying to convince me why nursing is the better option…which I’m used to. More on that later in the post:)

Then we did office hours. I was able to see a lot of variety. I saw two in office procedures, several post-op patients, and several new patients. It was a long day, 19 office patients in total. I was exhausted at the end, but I absolutely loved it. I loved the comraderie and collaboration among the surgical attendings and residents. It was an amazing atmosphere that I can see myself thriving in.

After talking to the scrub nurse, though, I really took the time to think why I want to be a doctor instead of a nurse. Something that the surgeon told me at the end of the day really helped me put my feelings into words. He said, “There isn’t a day that goes by that I feel insignificant. When I sit here and think about what I did just today, that’s incredible. I can walk around here (the hospital) and have all of this knowledge and know that I make a real difference in someone’s life.”

That being said, I know that nurses are incredible health care providers, and they have the most direct patient care in relation to doctors. I know that they are very smart, and make real differences in patients’ lives. However, my view of my future life lines up more with being a doctor. I want to be the person that sees a patient and is able to diagnose and then treat that person. I want to be able to collaborate with other providers and advocate for what I think my patient needs. I think that surgery, whether that’s pediatric, general, Ob/Gyn, neuro, etc. is really for me. I would get that mix of OR time where I have to think on my feet and put all of my knowledge to work and office visits where I get to put patients at ease and create a personal connection with them.

A huge consideration that I need to think about though is work-life balance. I want to be a surgeon. I want to be married and have kids. I think I can have it all. Sure, there will be sacrifices and long hours away from a family, but it can be done.

I’ve spent some time thinking about advice I would have for people looking to shadow, a surgeon specifically.

Tips:

  • Get a good night of sleep the night before
  • Know where you are going before you get there or give yourself plenty of time to figure it out
  • Are you going to be able to change into scrubs? Then wear comfy clothes there so that you can be comfortable at the end of a long day. Or no scrubs? Then wear the appropriate business type clothes. Ask the person you are following to be sure!
  • ASK QUESTIONS. And then ask a few more. Typically, if a doctor or nurse is letting you shadow them, they are going to be more than willing to answer any question that you have. That being said, know when to ask the question. Unless your doctor specifically asks if you have a question during a direct patient encounter, I would say keep your mouth shut. But when it’s just the two of you, go ahead and speak up. You will have a much better experience if you do this…not to mention you’ll make a better impression on the person that you’re following. At the end of my day, my surgeon told me that he would be happy to write any letter that I need, and I’m welcome back anytime. Interact with your doctor! It will be more fun; I promise.
  • In the OR, don’t be too sensitive. If they tell you to move here, do this, or stop doing that, just listen to them. They aren’t mad at you, but they do have a person’s life in their hands, and they are responsible for you. Just listen to them and move on.
  • In the OR, if you start to feel sick or worried about anything, please step back from the table or go sit down. It is better to miss something than to pass out onto the sterile field. I promise you that the doctors and nurses aren’t going to think any less of you. They know it is one of your first times in the OR and seeing a surgery. They remember how they felt in your position. Also, don’t get discouraged if you get sick or something. I know from other experiences that I get nauseous fairly easily just watching something (which didn’t happen this time!!). But when I am hands on and doing it myself, everything else just disappears and I’m completely focused. I talked to my surgeon about this later after surgery, and he said the same thing. The 2nd surgery he had that morning was a 3 and a half hour surgery. He told me that he wasn’t tired, hungry, or sore during surgery. As soon as he was done, his back started to hurt, he was starving, and really needed to go to the bathroom.
  • Remember that basically everything you see is confidential. One doctor I shadowed told me that anything about the doctors or nurses was open for discussion. Anything with a patient though is off limits.
  • Have so much fun! It’s an honor to shadow doctors/nurses/etc. Treat it as such!

Now. I didn’t go home after I was done at the hospital. I had planned on it, but lo and behold a snow storm hit and hit hard! I drove for about 20 minutes before I had to stop. I called my mom, and she said that the roads at our house (about 2 hours away) were even worse than where I was. So I stopped at a hotel, but they told me I had to be 21 to get a room. I went to get dinner, and my mom called around to other hotels to see if there was a place that I could check in as an 18 year old. She finally found one, thank goodness. So she reserved the room for me. BUT then my phone died! So I was stuck in a hotel in Columbus, no phone, no charger *note to self: always take a charger with you everywhere*.

It was fine though. I took a shower and crashed at about 9:00. The next morning, I went out to my car and tried to turn on my GPS…but it wouldn’t turn on for more than 30 seconds at a time. My phone wasn’t charging enough for me to use it either. So, I got myself home with no GPS and no phone. Now, coming from a very directionally challenged person, I was very proud of myself!

One more note: my waitress at the restaurant that night and the manager of the hotel the next morning really made my trip better. At the end of the day, I was exhausted. Then this whole thing happened, and I just wanted to go home. I was on the verge of tears probably from being tired and hungry and a little scared. But the waitress was so nice to me. I ordered a mocha, and then she offered to bring me another free one. She did a lot to make sure that I was okay, and she was so sweet. Then, the manager the next morning, as I was checking out, acted like a grandmother, and made sure that I was okay and told me to be careful on the way home. This is just a reminder to remember to be kind to everyone you meet. Those two women probably have no idea that they helped me that much. We probably don’t realize the impact we have on people either.

So there you have my first solo adventure. It was a success:) If you made it this far, thanks for reading!! Have an amazing day and a Merry Christmas. If you have any questions, email me or DM on Instagram!! I’d love to hear from you.

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Home from Camp

Hi friends. It’s been awhile. Over a month in fact since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been away at camp as a camp counselor! We have limited access to internet so there was really no way for a blog post to happen. But that’s okay.

This summer was one of the best summer’s I’ve had at camp. It was also one of the hardest. Camp is such a special place that I can’t really put it into words. I’ll try anyway:) I decided to collect some of my favorite camp counselor quotes and create a few of my own to try to express how amazing and unique this experience is.

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“Three and a half weeks flew by. I already miss being called Elf, the basically non-existent water pressure in the showers, laughing with my co (counselor) until we cried by the end of the week because our children were just that crazy, fighting to get my girls to sleep, carrying my sleeping campers back from campfire, starting one match (more likely one box) fires in the rain. I miss the family I have at camp and pigtail Thursdays. Now it’s back to real life where socks with crocs aren’t actually fashionable and sleep is  an actual thing (until college starts).”

“My backpack could rival Mary Poppins magic carpet bag.”

“Silent conversations across the table with my co are the key to survival.”

“Chocolate and Jesus get me through most of my days.”

“Camp has taught me more than I could learn from anywhere else.”

“Camp breaks you down farther than you ever thought you could go, but somehow you always leave refreshed.”

_____________________________________________________________________

This summer, I was a mother, a teacher, a cook, a firefighter, a nurse and a doctor, a friend, a confidant, a cleaning lady, a horse wrangler, a student, a singer and an actor, an author, and so much more. Where else could I go to get the same experience? And why would I want to?

 

Music Monday *All the Feels*

It is still Monday for 12 more minutes so I’m taking advantage of it! I wanted to give you a look into the music that I listen to. I decided to start with one of my Spotify playlists called “all the feels:)” Weird name? Maybe. But it perfectly describes the type of songs I have on it. Enjoy!

*Update: my internet decided to take a nap and it posted literally right as it turned June 6th. I’m still going with Music Monday though*

Paint the Town Green- The Script

Castle on the Hill- Ed Sheeran

Lord, I Need you- Matt Maher

Hall of Fame- The Script

Hey Pretty Girl- Kip Moore

Hallelujah- Pentatonix

One Call Away- Charlie Puth

All of Me- John Legend

Story of My Life- One Direction

Messiah/You’re Beautiful- Phil Wickham

CCP- Senioritis

First of all, I changed my site tagline from “high school senior” to “college freshman”. !!!! So if you’re reading this in your email then head on over to the actual website and check it out! (It’s the little things that make me happy.)


sen·ior·i·tis
ˌsēnyəˈrīdəs/
noun

humorous
 1. A supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.

2. A crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. Also features a lack of studying, repeated absences, and a generally dismissive attitude. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as Graduation. -Urban Dictionary


 

Senioritis is real. Even for good students. And it is awful. However, I am convinced that something similar happens to everyone at the end of the school year. The difference here (I am sure that is is worse for college seniors) is that seniors are at the end of something. They don’t have next year to come back to. They have something new coming, huge changes, they get to/have to leave. And that’s hard for most people. They have been working HARD for the past 4 years to get into “that” college or get “that” job, and now that they are accepted to “that” college. Do the last few months of senior year even matter?? It is hard to find motivation to finish out the school year when it has hardly any impact on their future plans. Cue the Pinterest and Instagram..


 

And then once we realize the quotes aren’t really helping we decide to open our books to study.

HA actually that’s not how it works.

Once we finally close that Pinterest app, we probably go and annoy our friends/family or whatever unfortunate soul happens to be around us by complaining about all of the work we have to do. Once they banish us from their presence, this is where the tears come in. Or the chocolate. OR BOTH.

If we ever finally sit down with our work, we’ll probably proceed to make at least 10 to-do lists about the things that we have to do and two separate count downs to the end of the year. Now, to outsiders, this may look like we are being productive and organized. Au contraire. This is the oldest trick in the book for a procrastinator, which all seniors seem to be.

Once we realize that there are no more to-do lists to be made *gasp* we’ll tackle that first (and probably easiest) item on our list. After finishing that, we’ll think “YOU ARE AN AMAZING PERSON. YOU DESERVE MORE CHOCOLATE AND A NICE LOOONNG BREAK FROM THE WORK THAT YOU JUST CONQUERED.” When, in reality, we just set out our notes and made our desk look pretty and took a picture of it all.

Okay, okay this may (or may not) be an exaggeration of the events that actually take place during one’s senior year. But now that I have lived through this (that makes it sound like the worst thing ever, which I’m sure it’s not:D) I have a few tips to give soon-to-be seniors.

  1. Get the “Forest” app for studying. It works wonders. You basically set a timer for how long you want to study. If you close out of the app, you get a dead tree. But if you stay in the app for the entire time, you get a healthy tree added to your forest. They also have white rain sounds (city, rainforest, etc.) for you to use. *Tip- don’t answer phone calls because it will kill your tree:D* You can also set a “break timer” so that you can get in that Pinterest time in order that you don’t go crazy. This was the biggest way for me to stay focused during finals week.
  2. Take study breaks to exercise or eat (good food). Don’t try to eat while studying. You’ll just get distracted, trust me.
  3. When you’re hard core studying, don’t listen to music that you could sing along with. Keep the throw-back songs (:D) for when you’re just copying notes or making flashcards. Pandora has study music stations. I’m sure youtube and Spotify do as well. Or use a white-noise app. (OR THE FOREST APP). My favorite way to study though is with The Strive Studies on YouTube. Go check her out,. It’s amazing how helpful it can be to “study with another person”.
  4. Enjoy life. You only get high school senior year once. Go to homecoming and prom. Go see your last sports games. Hang out with friends and do absolutely nothing or go out for a fancy-ish dinner on Saturday night. Eat pizza. Wear sweatpants to school. This is your last year.
  5. But do say no to some fun things. If you know that you have a big test the next day, don’t go out with friends that particular night/don’t watch the newest episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

Everyone is going to find ways that work for them. But you have to work to find those ways. My biggest tip for any student is this: TREAT EVERY TEST OR HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT LIKE IT MATTERS TO YOUR FINAL GRADE. Because it really does. The first test at the beginning of the semester will set the tone for the rest of the class. If you do well on it, you’ll give yourself a cushion for when the material becomes harder. Start each semester with a good work ethic, and you’ll do fine. But don’t slack just because the material is easy now, because (especially for you CCP students) it will get 10x harder within the next week. Trust me.

Okay, longer post than normal, but those are some of my thoughts on senioritis. It can be a challenging time for most people, it definitely was for me. Please, please, please don’t beat yourself up about it. This goes for you straight-A students. Don’t feel like you’re a failure for not wanting to do the work anymore. But even if you don’t want to do it, do it anyway.

The last few months of senior year still matter. Your college gets to see your final transcript.  Show them that you are the student they think you are. Work hard, and then enjoy your summer. Time does pass. Before you know it, you’ll be graduated and at college. Don’t waste senior year complaining about it. Enjoy it.

Life Flies By

Happy late Friday night! Well, I am FINISHED with my classes. I have finished high school. Eep!! I took my last final (Econ, bleh) yesterday *I had a window seat, and it was raining, and the curtain was open, and it was great* I think my finals went pretty well, but I will get all of my grades by next Wednesday.

I can’t even put into words how happy I am to be done with this part of my schooling career. Just…well…15 more years minimum. >4 years undergrad (at Albion College!), 4 years of med school, 5 years of general surgery residency, and 2 years of pediatric surgery fellowship< That’s my plan for now at least.

So here’s a picture from the beginning of finals week…

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If I look exhausted…it’s because I was

And a picture from the end of finals…

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#treatyourself

 

This morning, I was super lazy and watched TV all morning before I had to venture out into the down pour to go volunteer at the hospital. But it’s okay because I haven’t done that (well at least guilt free) for awhile. Starting Monday, I have A LOT to do, at least it feels that way.

Let’s see…finish Albion placement tests, schedule out some blog posts and *hopefully* get some written, clean my room, organize all my school stuff from the last four years, clean out my clothes and see what I need to get, make a college supply list…

Okay, okay that’s not all happening on Monday, thank goodness. But I do feel like I need to get it all down on paper and really organize it in my mind to see what I need to get done this summer. I am also really excited to be able to workout consistently now that school is done. That should feel good.

Even though I have finished my classes, I have to wait until June 3rd to graduate. Oh! That brings a whole other list of things I have to work on: plan decorations for grad party, find dress for graduation, plan food for party, finish learning my piano pieces for my senior recital.

So yes, I will probably be just as busy if not more than when I was in school, but I love, love, love this kind of stuff so I am ready to get started!! Also, it has been raining almost nonstop for the last two days and is supposed to keep raining the entire weekend. IT’S PERFECT!!!

Also (final “also”, I promise), I wanted to say congratulations to my cousin who graduated from college today!! (Even though he doesn’t read this:D)

Have a safe weekend, friends ❤

 

DSP- Part 3: My final college decision!

 

Hi friends and happy Friday! Today, I have my final college decision for you. I wrote about my weekend at Albion college this week. Monday I posted about my day in general and Wednesday, I posted about the other sessions I went to. Go check them out!

That day was one of the biggest factors in my final decision. Everyone made me feel so welcome and at home. I learned about all of the amazing opportunities offered to me, and I feel like I will fit right in.

Needless to say, I have officially committed to Albion College! Class of 2021.

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#Albion2021

 

Here are the areas that I want to get involved in:

  • Honors program
  • Gerstacker institute
  • Healthcare institute
  • Equestrian team (either western or hunt seat)
  • Christian campus ministry
  • Greek life (sorority)
  • and other student organizations/clubs

 

My major: exercise science

My minor: ???

My track: premed, with plans of going to medical school and becoming a physician (right now, I want to be a pediatric surgeon, neonatologist, or Ob/Gyn)

I’ve been talking to a lot of people in my class, making friends and finding potential roommates. I have 9 weeks left of high school. Eep! I want to enjoy this as much as I can and get the best grades possible.

Senioritis is a real thing guys:p

But it’s Friday, I’m finishing up my Spring Break, so I’ll be back at it again come Monday.

#GoBrits!

Distinguished Honors Program- Part 1

Hi all:)

Last weekend I made the trip with my momma to Albion College in Michigan. I went up there to compete in their Distinguished Honors Program (DSP). You can read more about it by following the link, but basically I was invited up there to present on a topic of my choosing for 15 minutes in front of a couple faculty members. The faculty then had 15 minutes to ask me questions about my presentation, why I chose the topic I did, and other questions about me personally (present and future plans).

I chose to present on SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). I talked about the historical significance of SIDS, the official definition, common factors and precautions, first responders, how it affects parents, and why I chose to present on this.

I was SO nervous. I was sick to my stomach and dizzy and had a dry mouth leading up to my presentation, but I had to sit through several sessions and an informal interview before I could present. It was a long day of waiting:)

When I first got invited to participate, I absolutely did not want to do it. I didn’t want to speak in front of professors and I didn’t want to take that much time to prepare for it. I am glad that I did it though. I had so much fun that day during the other sessions and especially during my presentation.

I was competing for a full tuition scholarship. Sadly, I just found out today that I didn’t win the scholarship, but I did receive a money voucher called an “experience voucher” that I can use on studying abroad, conferences, and other Albion related expenses that aren’t necessarily a college expense. I wish that I had won, but it’s okay, I had fun doing it and that day was important.

I have more to say, but I decided to break it up into three different posts. SO, I’ll talk more about those sessions that I went to later this week! Happy Monday, friends:)

 

Model UN 2017

Good Saturday evening!

Last weekend, I had my Model UN convention. I think I said this, but I represented the Kingdom of Norway on the Committee on Narcotic Drugs. Last year, I was Spain on the Simulation Security Council. I wrote a post with some tips for Model UN delegates then too!

This year was just as amazing, if not more. We had 5 delegates on our team this year. There was only one other person, besides me, who had gone last year which means the other three were kind of lost for the first little bit. But, I have to be honest, I felt way out of my league too! The other delegates just knew so much and knew how to talk and write the position papers and negotiate.

I was able to actually write several clauses in a few papers, which was something I hadn’t done last year, so I was proud of that. But if I do it again, I know that I will research my country better. For example…I had been working on this one paper (in support of  the decriminalization of certain drugs, mainly for the decriminalization of women and girls who were forced into the drug trade through drug trafficking.) After about five hours of work on it, I was researching Norway’s views on a particular law, and realized that Norway wasn’t exactly in support of most of the paper…I had just thought that they were. I went with it, and made sure that I got some of our policy in there, but it wasn’t a very good feeling! Long story short, I’ll do better next time.

Clothes wise… I wore the same thing as last year:)

And we took our “traditional” (if it can be called that after only a few years) picture in front of the water wall.

 

That one is really blurry though…

So that’s it! I have another week of school ahead of me:)

Just another week in the life…

A new day, a new week, a new month. It’s already February 2017. I feel like I will be saying this every single month this year…it’s just crazy to me.

Tomorrow, I will be leaving for my Model UN convention!!! I’ve been preparing for this for several months so I am ready to get together with the other delegates from the other schools to start thinking about and “resolving” world issues. And, of course, I love the whole dressing up and acting all professional part…pictures to come:)

This past Sunday, I had one of my last piano recitals:( We had a good time though.

 

Other than that, it has been a normal week of school: eat, study, sleep, repeat. I’m getting closer and closer to graduation. T-minus 13 weeks.

Just the Beginning

Today I had my first cadaver lab! It was one of the best experiences I have had in school so far. I am starting to feel like a pre-med student!

Speaking of pre-med…I scheduled my classes for next semester:

*Physics
*Pre-calculus
*Anatomy & physiology II

=12 credit hours

I am excited to be taking ALL math and science. However, I had previously told myself that I would NOT take a math class in the spring OR an 8am class…I am taking both of those (A&P is the 8am).

I know it will be a heavy load, but I’m ready for it, and it could always be worse! And this is just the beginning of my many years of science classes 😀

(Oh, and it’s raining. So cadaver lab + scheduling classes + rainy night=perfect day.)

cadaver-lab-htm

Cuddle in and enjoy your night! I’m off to watch Dancing With the Stars<3