At LLU, for the first 2 weeks of school we are placed into a specialty where we are assigned to a 3rd/4th year medical student or resident to shadow and observe. It has become common practice among most medical schools to give students a few weeks to feel their way around the hospital or clinic before the intensive classwork begins. My schedule at the hospital has been 8 or 9a-12p M-F with seminars in the afternoon. I feel a bit ashamed to be wearing a white coat around the campus while knowing NOTHING. But, we will have another chance to do our ward experience at the end of 1st year so hopefully I’ll have a better understanding of “doctor lingo” and grasp more of what I’m observing.
For my wards, I was placed in the Newborn Nursery. After a birth, if the medical condition of the child is questionable, it is usually sent to NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). All other healthy babies are sent to the Newborn Nursery where they undergo physical examinations, are monitored and discharged within 2-5 days, shorter for vaginal deliveries and longer for C-sections. It is definitely a happy place to work in. The most interesting thing I witnessed so far has definitely been the circumcisions. It’s a much more sophisticated process than I imagined. After seeing 6 of these operations, I almost feel like I could do one myself!
I think that beginning med school in the Newborn Nursery is quite appropriate. We are newborns entering a bright new world that can be overwhelming. And while we are kicking and screaming our way into existence, we are undergoing incredible aesthetic and internal changes. We have a daunting road ahead of us, but I take solace in that it’s been done thousands of times before.