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shadowing -- not as useful as hoped

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by gmcsierra, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. gmcsierra

    gmcsierra Member
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    i shadowed a dentist and an IM physician over spring break. the IM was alright to see. we went to do his rounds at 0800. he had 5 or 6 patients in when he usually has only1 or 2. i did get to go oin to see two. basically we just had some conversations with the people. then we went on over to the clinic. i mainly sat in his office the whole time. about every third or fourth patient i would get to go in for tendonitis or hay fever.
    blood doesn't bother me at all. i am more nervous of how uncomfortable i would be (think of how the patient is feeling during these) during the OB rotation or maybe doing some GI stuff. would volunteering help one to realize more if they had the stomach for the job? or, should you just forget about it and realize that you would get desensitized to this stuff eventually?

    thanks
     
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  3. AlternateSome1

    AlternateSome1 Burnt Out
    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    If you are worried about it, consider watching a surgery. Remember, a lot of people faint the first time they see it, so being a little nervous is not a big deal. Going through medical school will desensitize you to a lot of things, including blood, so even if you are a little fearful now, you will probably be ok by the end of it. I believe what you want to get out of shadowing is an idea of what hassles a doctor has to go through, an idea of what being a doctor entails, and a feel for if you would actually enjoy that type of work. Med schools like to see this EC so that they know the student isn't going to drop out after a semester/year/two years because medicine wasn't what they had imagined it to be.

    ~AS1~
     
  4. gmcsierra

    gmcsierra Member
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    thanks for hte reply-

    blood doesn't much bother me.

    i didn't see any real problems with teh work they did, but with the dentist, i did notcice that he was working all day whereas the physician was writing h and ps quite a bit more.
     
  5. twinklz

    twinklz Lover of Lagomorphs
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    I would second the surgery vote. I almost passed out the first couple of times I saw the blade cut the skin. But in less than a week I was watching open heart surgery without any queasiness. Plus, while watching surgery you don't have to worry about what the patient thinks of your being there. Well, in most surgeries...
     
  6. gmcsierra

    gmcsierra Member
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    thanks again for the reply, but blood doesn't bother me that much. i don't think i would have any problem with blood or with gross anatomy (which im taking now in undergrad). i'm more concerned about rectal exams and the like.
     
  7. jtorres

    jtorres Senior Member
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    s*cks for us but unfortunately privacy laws make following not as useful as it once was. i still intend on following a doc but the only thing that does is confirm what i know already. that i wanna be a doc. part of my MT certification involves a 6 mo clinical rotation in the hospital lab. i get to work along side the pathologist all the time and hopefully he/she will hook me up with a colleague of theirs that i can follow out on the floor. i hope that i can use the cover of hospital personnel as way to go around HIPPA. it wont work completely but if it allows a doc to feel more comfortable letting me tag along then great. after all i am the one running the lab test for the patient so technically there no longer is any privacy issues when it comes to me being there.
     
  8. Abe

    Abe Senior Member
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    i just shadowed a family physician for 2 days, i also spent most of my time looking through her journals and old med books. Alot of patients didnt want me in there =/. When i did get to go in 95% of the time it was allergies lol. She had me sit with the phamaceutical sales guys every time they came in, and she left and seen patients. I did get an idea of what a doctor's job entails, but didn't get to talk to her as much as I wanted.
     
  9. cardsurgguy

    cardsurgguy Senior Member
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    why don't you get a job instead of just shadowing?
    that will aviod the hipaa issue since you're working, and a part of the team providing the patient care

    about the other issue, having a job gets you use to all the situations you're saying your uncomfortable
    just watching an exam shouldn't make you uncomfortable, some of us are involved in doing stuff like that
    I've been a PCA for a few years now during the summers home from school and have had to bathe and change people (hey, it's part of the job) in addition to the stuff I like doing such as traumas, and learning the actual medicine by asking questions and getting explanations from the docs (gotta take the bad parts of the job with the good)
    you get use to it, it's part of health care

    or if you don't like having to do the work that I just described, you could get a job in an OR
    the fact that you don't have to do that kind of work in an OR is nice
    plus if you have any inclination to go into surgery, you can't go wrong by working in an OR
    the summer after my sophomore year, I worked as what's called a "heart holder" in the hospital I work at
    basically I assisted with cardiac surgery by holding hearts in a certain position during surgery, as well as assisting with various instruments and sutures, etc. it was unbelievable, and also no cleaning crap....literally
     
  10. carrigallen

    carrigallen 16th centry dutch painter
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    Forgive me, I do not understand why HIPAA would affect student volunteers significantly. I am HIPAA-vetted, but no where in my knowledge of HIPAA should it really change volunteer interactions. It changes the need to know, but not patient access.

    When I was in undergrad, no one had heard of the health insurance portability and accountability act...it had just been created. As volunteers, we talked about patient confidentiality. Still, no where in the act does it significantly limit volunteers.

    General patient confidentiality and HIPAA are not precisely identical. Maybe some workplaces have misconceptions about what HIPAA is.

    Ultimately HIPAA was designed to protect consumer information, especially from insurance and employers. Although it puts teeth into rules about patient confidentiality, it should not (based on my limited understanding of it) hamper volunteering or shadowing. It sounds like some healthcare providers are confused about this, and have extended the rules mistakenly. Or HIPAA has some subtle components unknown to me.

    Just my 0.02 cents.
     
  11. CaMD

    CaMD Senior Member
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    Carrigallen, I think the issue with HIPAA is less that it specifically limits volunteer access and more that it freaks doctors and researchers out, and makes them want to err on the cautious side. A lot of the "HIPAA compliance" steps people have taken are not necessary, they just think they are, because the whole thing is so darn big and confusing.

    YAY HIPAA!:clap:
     
  12. lotanna

    lotanna Child of God
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    i say go on a medical mission trip and scrub a surgeon in the OR, best clinical experience of my life, even my friend who went on the trip, and is a 4th yr says he had more opportunities doing that in a 2week period than during clinical rotations. I mean i felt special, here i was a lil "nobody", assisting the surgeon, making little cuts, making sure area was clean and all, even doing some of the stitches for minor surgeries :clap:
    You'll never get that here, too many law suit drama to worry about
     
  13. bruinrab

    bruinrab Senior Member
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    Lotanna brings up a good point. Even in Europe, you can do more than here. I was able to shadow a urologist in England while I was in college, and I scrubbed in for surgeries, held the retractors, swapped and suctioned blood. I also saw his clinics, discussed cases, etc. I did pretty much everything that a med student might do, in fact I was treated equally to the students rotating with him (except for getting pimped about pre-clinical material). I was lucky that he was someone who loves to teach.

    P.S. For the first surgery I saw, I was fine until it got late in the day and I started feeling faint because of hunger, tiredness, and feeling too hot from the lights, but the surgery itself didn't bother me so much.
     
  14. klooless

    klooless Senior Member
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    I've been shadowing a surgeon regularly for quite some time now(in the US). Since day one, I've gone on rounds, been in the clinics, and been in the OR. There was never a time when I wasn't "allowed" to participate/enter a room. I was treated just as well as med students (and maybe even better, since I had the opportunity to interact with the surgeon over lunch, @ the gym etc. I can only say that maybe it depends on the particular person you shadow, or even on the institution at which you shadow a physician. I can say that my particular experience was very rewarding, to the extent that we even ended up collaborating on a publication, and I got a letter of recommendation (and a mentor/friend) out of it.

    G luck, and be encouraged!
     

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