lanashif

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So I was asking some doctors for opportunities to shadow them when one of the doctors said that I may be able to actually witness a surgery. While this is extremely exciting I was wondering if anyone else has had this amazing opportunity happen to them. If so how did you get the opportunity, how old were you, and what did you do there? Thank you!
 

FutureCTDoc

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So I was asking some doctors for opportunities to shadow them when one of the doctors said that I may be able to actually witness a surgery. While this is extremely exciting I was wondering if anyone else has had this amazing opportunity happen to them. If so how did you get the opportunity, how old were you, and what did you do there? Thank you!
I have seen about 200 surgeries, a few hundred procedure i.e. laser, intraocular injections etc. I was a junior in HS when I first obersved, I observed the surgery and stayed the heck out of the surgical theatre and ocasionally was allowed to view through the assists microscope, in addition I shmoozed with anesthesia and flirted with the decent looking RNs.
 

vasca

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I have seen about 200 surgeries, a few hundred procedure i.e. laser, intraocular injections etc. I was a junior in HS when I first obersved, I observed the surgery and stayed the heck out of the surgical theatre and ocasionally was allowed to view through the assists microscope, in addition I shmoozed with anesthesia and flirted with the decent looking RNs.
Isn't 200 a bit skewed? Most optho surgeries last less than 1 hour (I've seen cataract surgery last just 10 minutes!), so it would become easy to get to 200 in just a few weeks if you stick around the OR. The advantage that you can also watch the operation on a tv screen far, far away from the patient but still in the OR makes it more likely a surgeon will choose you to stick around and you can actually see what the hell is going on unlike something like open abdominal surgery where you need to stand on top of a bench to see.. something.

The fun part is actually participating in operations even if you don't know the steps of the procedure. I remember getting hauled into ortho surgeries as second assistant AND instrumentalist (the hospital is too cheap to hire enough nursing staff during the night) and accomodating the bolts for osteosynthesis having no freaking idea how to do it. Part of the fun is kind of figuring stuff by yourself. I personally never kept count how many operations I shadowed or assisted in. I did assist in a bit of everything that belongs to general surgery. I was even invited to kidney transplant surgery once but got sick and didn't go because there's no way I'd stay in a poorly ventilated room watching for 9 hours feeling like crap.

I shadowed a few critical care surgeries but couldn't enjoy seeing the techniques because I was being fetched constantly for more blood or gasometries. Oncology surgery is the bloodiest in my experience and kind of hard to forget.
 

FutureCTDoc

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Isn't 200 a bit skewed? Most optho surgeries last less than 1 hour (I've seen cataract surgery last just 10 minutes!), so it would become easy to get to 200 in just a few weeks if you stick around the OR. The advantage that you can also watch the operation on a tv screen far, far away from the patient but still in the OR makes it more likely a surgeon will choose you to stick around and you can actually see what the hell is going on unlike something like open abdominal surgery where you need to stand on top of a bench to see.. something.

The fun part is actually participating in operations even if you don't know the steps of the procedure. I remember getting hauled into ortho surgeries as second assistant AND instrumentalist (the hospital is too cheap to hire enough nursing staff during the night) and accomodating the bolts for osteosynthesis having no freaking idea how to do it. Part of the fun is kind of figuring stuff by yourself. I personally never kept count how many operations I shadowed or assisted in. I did assist in a bit of everything that belongs to general surgery. I was even invited to kidney transplant surgery once but got sick and didn't go because there's no way I'd stay in a poorly ventilated room watching for 9 hours feeling like crap.

I shadowed a few critical care surgeries but couldn't enjoy seeing the techniques because I was being fetched constantly for more blood or gasometries. Oncology surgery is the bloodiest in my experience and kind of hard to forget.
In America however, if you do second assist and you aren't an RN or surg tech there are liability issues. Also who is so slow that it takes 10 minutes for a cataract try 6-7 minutes excluding blocks.
 

lanashif

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I'm only a freshman in high school so I thought that I was pretty young to be given the opportunity. Watching a surgery take place seems really interesting and I would love for this plan to actually happen.
 
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Hope you enjoy it, I did a program in HS that allowed me to be in on all kinds of procedures, from reconstructive plastics to CABGs. I had a classmate who at the time wanted to be a doctor but fainted at the smell of the electrocautery and immediately changed her mind. I love the OR (I'm doing a residency in OBGYN) so had no problem.

Only one piece of advice as you are new: DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!!!! (multiply that by a thousand if it's draped in blue). Don't even stand within 2 feet of anything draped or you will get ripped a new one by somebody. Keep your hands folded across your chest or behind your back.

Have fun!
 

lanashif

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I wish my high school did that, but I am in a private school that doesn't have the same facilities as a public school. I won't touch anything don't worry. That would be really bad if I touched something I wasn't supposed to and then something bad happened. I can only imagine what would end up happening. Hopefully I never have to experience that.
 

vasca

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In America however, if you do second assist and you aren't an RN or surg tech there are liability issues. Also who is so slow that it takes 10 minutes for a cataract try 6-7 minutes excluding blocks.
I thought med students up the border could also first assist in operations. All of the activities I did related to medicine I did after entering med school. I kind of chose to sign up in the last minute a few weeks after graduating high school not knowing anything about the career at all. :p It's kind of not allowed for med students to first assist out of school approved hospital rotations, but some students with relatives in the business sometimes invite to help them as early as first semester! The government even considers it to be legal and you can earn early retirement if you work in government hospitals no matter what the job position is. You can even request a "special" kind of social service year to continue working at your hospital. I however am doing the regular type C social service slot which is more my cup of tea.

So far I've detected probable glaucoma cases from complications in two patients due to cataract surgery during my social service. The operation isn't without it's risks.
 

FutureCTDoc

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I thought med students up the border could also first assist in operations. All of the activities I did related to medicine I did after entering med school. I kind of chose to sign up in the last minute a few weeks after graduating high school not knowing anything about the career at all. :p It's kind of not allowed for med students to first assist out of school approved hospital rotations, but some students with relatives in the business sometimes invite to help them as early as first semester! The government even considers it to be legal and you can earn early retirement if you work in government hospitals no matter what the job position is. You can even request a "special" kind of social service year to continue working at your hospital. I however am doing the regular type C social service slot which is more my cup of tea.

So far I've detected probable glaucoma cases from complications in two patients due to cataract surgery during my social service. The operation isn't without it's risks.
In the US you can sit first assist when you are in med school. I'm admitted to med school however I have yet to matriculate. Also who operates on probable glaucoma? What's the angle measure? Is there associated field loss? Nail down their IOP and if it's an acute angle closure do a laser iridotomy, do Xalatan, Lumigan, Travatan to increase outflow of aqueous, use timolol or another beta blocker, alphagan or azopt, etc. for a medical treatment or do a trabeculectomy if that fails.
 

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In the US you can sit first assist when you are in med school. I'm admitted to med school however I have yet to matriculate. Also who operates on probable glaucoma? What's the angle measure? Is there associated field loss? Nail down their IOP and if it's an acute angle closure do a laser iridotomy, do Xalatan, Lumigan, Travatan to increase outflow of aqueous, use timolol or another beta blocker, alphagan or azopt, etc. for a medical treatment or do a trabeculectomy if that fails.
ok, so did your dad dictate that to you or was that FutureCTDoc senior typing?
 

FutureCTDoc

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ok, so did your dad dictate that to you or was that FutureCTDoc senior typing?
My father's asleep. I just have no life outside of my dad's practice when I'm not in Sunny South Florida. So I've gotten to learn most of the commonly used drugs for ophtho. Also if my father dictated it he wouldn't have mentioned surgical approaches, he's more a fan of medical approaches to glaucoma, I'm more of a "Steel to heal" kind of guy.
 

FutureCTDoc

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I know how you feel. That sounds an awful lot like my first year of college, too.
MilkmanAl weren't you an BS/MD or DO program or was it Depakote?
 

FutureCTDoc

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Also MilkmanAl serious or sarcastic? I'm assuming the latter, however sarcasm doesn't translate too well online.
 

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it was me.
I'm Depakote. Following high school I started a 6-year BA/MD program. Overall, I didn't find it to be a good fit for me and wound up leaving about 2.5 years into the program. I completed my BA degree and some extra coursework then worked for a few years while applying to schools. I am currently a student in a traditional 4 year MD program.

I know a decent amount about what it's like to be a high school student interested in medicine, the first few years of an accelerated combined-degree program, the standard MD admissions track and your first year of medical school. I will be helping moderate this forum and I'm more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
 

Pepipanda

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So I was asking some doctors for opportunities to shadow them when one of the doctors said that I may be able to actually witness a surgery. While this is extremely exciting I was wondering if anyone else has had this amazing opportunity happen to them. If so how did you get the opportunity, how old were you, and what did you do there? Thank you!
I second the "Don't touch anything". A family friend is a surgeon at the big children's hospital near where I live and I got to shadow him for a kidney transplant (once he knew I was interested in medicine, he just offered and I e-mailed him to set it up). This was the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school. I had to wear scrubs and a mask and shoe covers and everything. (well, not everything, the surgeons had a bit more on) I was in the OR, along with two med students and about 5 undergrads (who left early). I was given a quick tour of the OR before the patient arrived. This was basically "Don't touch this, don't touch that, don't touch anything on these blue cloths, and don't touch me".

We were allowed to come up and stand right next to the patient. This was fun because we could talk to the surgeons from there. However, since this took about 8 hours, I couldn't take standing the whole time and there were stools off to the side where we could sit and watch on a screen. The surgery was laparoscopic, so the surgeons were looking at the same thing I was. At one point, the med students showed me that they had pieces of suturing material tied to their scrub pants and were practicing how to tie them. They taught me too, which was especially nice because the majority of the surgery time was spent getting to the kidney and taking it out, which was actually pretty boring.

At one point, we (me and the surgeon I was shadowing) left and went to go see one of his patients in the Same Day Surgery area (people coming in for surgery, but who have yet to actually be operated on).

Things got exciting when they took the kidney out (there was a bigger incision for this), put it on ice and prepared to take it to the adjoining OR where the recipient was. There were 3 surgeons involved: 1 who stayed with the donor, 1 one who was with the recipient, and 1 who moved with the kidney. The one whom I was shadowing was the one who moved with the kidney. He had me stay until I could see that the kidney was in the recipient and functioning. By that time it was 3 in the afternoon and I'd been in there since 8 AM, and I went off in search of somewhere that was still serving lunch.

Sorry that this was so long, but I wanted to share my experience. I hope this is useful!

Pepipanda
 

lanashif

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Thanks pepipanda. That seems like a really cool experience. Seeing a kidney being moved around like that must have been interesting.
 

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Thanks pepipanda. That seems like a really cool experience. Seeing a kidney being moved around like that must have been interesting.
Hey lanashif,

Don't let the "old hands" make you feel like what you're going to do isn't cool or fun. Seeing a surgery for the first time is pretty awesome, and I definitely encourage you to pursue it. You don't need 200 surgeries under your belt to have it be a significant experience. Ask questions when appropriate and keep a close eye on the proceedings. Don't touch anything unless invited! Enjoy it. Nothing quite like watching an actual human heart beat before your eyes and seeing the lungs inflate. Go for it!
 

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Not everyone has a father that is an ophthalmologist. I'm in medical school and still haven't see surgery. Take advantage of the opportunity and learn from it.
 

Disinence2

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I was lucky enough to observe a surgery in High school and it definitely helped me decide to go to medical school.

Ironically, now I loath scrubbing cases.

Anyways, It was through a program offered at the medical school that was trying to get high school students interested in health care. They set everything up for me. It was pretty awesome.

Ask your schools college counseling service to see if any local university have anything similar. I have NO family in medicine, so any form of informal shadowing would have been impossible.

Just remember, be nice to the scrub techs. Its really hard to observe without being at least a little bit in the way, so go in expecting for people to ask you to move around. Be helpful if you can!

Hope it goes well.
 

lanashif

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I was lucky enough to observe a surgery in High school and it definitely helped me decide to go to medical school.

Ironically, now I loath scrubbing cases.

Anyways, It was through a program offered at the medical school that was trying to get high school students interested in health care. They set everything up for me. It was pretty awesome.

Ask your schools college counseling service to see if any local university have anything similar. I have NO family in medicine, so any form of informal shadowing would have been impossible.

Just remember, be nice to the scrub techs. Its really hard to observe without being at least a little bit in the way, so go in expecting for people to ask you to move around. Be helpful if you can!

Hope it goes well.
I have no family in medicine either, so I have to figure everything out by myself.The issue is that my school doesn't have a college counseling service so, again, I have to find things by myself. I honestly don't mind this, though. It allows me to learn about the schools and different programs which is always useful.:)
 

Disinence2

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Learning how to figure this stuff out on your own is good practice for the future.

It seems odd that your school doesn't have some sort of counseling program. I'm sure your school has someone who can help you out.

Are there any particularly well motivated science teachers? Ask around.
 

lanashif

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They have someone that you can talk to about getting into college, but not really someone who could help me find such a program or who would know a program. The reason for that is probably that I am in a small private school. Either way, I have always been the type of person who likes to look up things like this, so it's all good.:)
 

Fedekz

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So I was asking some doctors for opportunities to shadow them when one of the doctors said that I may be able to actually witness a surgery. While this is extremely exciting I was wondering if anyone else has had this amazing opportunity happen to them. If so how did you get the opportunity, how old were you, and what did you do there? Thank you!
I actually got to participate in some surgeries my senior year, start up IV's, intubate, push drugs, bag them, extubation, and other stuff.

Then again, I was doing my paramedic clinicals during my senior year of high school - so I probably cheated XD
 

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I actually got to participate in some surgeries my senior year, start up IV's, intubate, push drugs, bag them, extubation, and other stuff.

Then again, I was doing my paramedic clinicals during my senior year of high school - so I probably cheated XD
How is that even possible? Don't you have to be 18 to be EMT-B cert?
 

Fedekz

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How is that even possible? Don't you have to be 18 to be EMT-B cert?
You have to be 18 to be nationally registered as an EMT. I took an EMT class when I was 17, passed all the certification exams (practical and written) for NREMT and state when I was still 17. Then once I turned 18 they moved my file to an active state. Then I was able to take a paramedic course because there was no age limitation, and I was doing my clinicals part of my senior year.

So yeah, it is possible.
 

SLC

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I've seen tons of surgical cases. Maybe 100?

I shadowed an Anesthesiologist one day, all we did was gall bladder removals. Then the last case was an umbilical hernia repair. In a 9 hour shift I must've seen 7 or 8 proceedures.

Then I worked in the ED of the local trauma center. You name it, if it has to do with Traumatic injury I saw it or something close to it. And because I was usually the one minding the O neg, I got to sit in on most of the case. ED, CT, OR, ICU, I saw the whole thing go down many times.

SLC
 

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I've been fortunate that one of my best friend's dad is a general surgeon, so I have gotten to go into the OR a couple of times. The first time was during the summer between my second and third year of college. I got to go in with him when he was on call (he is also my neighbor) and see a laproscopic appendectomy. Also, I went with him during his regular hours one time and got to see a laproscopic cholecystectomy and a nissen fundoplication that day. All I did was try to stay out of the way and not touch anything. I asked questions if I saw something interesting, but most of it was spent watching the TV screen since the incisions were so small for the procedures that I observed that you couldn't see anything from the outside. Overall it was a pretty awesome experience and definitely something worth checking out.