Five Hamilton students shadowed family medicine residents at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica during the week of Jan. 11. Each day that week, Milinda Ajawara ’16, Emily Chan ’16, Macy Lawler ’16, Yingbin Mei ’16 and Tshering Sherpa ’16 followed residents in different departments including cardiology, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, family medicine and internal medicine.
“This program is great because it allowed us to explore different fields that I would have never considered practicing in; I was not just pigeon-holed to a specialty I thought I wanted to practice,” Ajawara explained.
The students were able to experience the rigor of a residency schedule and observe what physicians do on a daily basis. “This program gave us the opportunity to experience the long hours residents work,” Chan described. “Additionally, we got to see what residents do aside from seeing patients. They also spend lots of time completing paperwork and corresponding with their attendings.”
Further, Ajawara said, “The residents treated me as one of them. They included me every step of the way, from going over patient charts to explaining why medication was being prescribed. I left the program with a more in-depth understanding of the daily responsibilities of a doctor.”
Participating residents were also able to give the students insight on their paths to becoming doctors and their careers so far. “Despite their status as doctors, residents are still in a time period of rigorous learning, which puts them in a unique position to provide not only insightful advice about medical school and the medical profession but also to demonstrate the active learning of a resident in practice,” Lawler explained. “The residents whom we shadowed were very welcoming and inspirational. They not only introduced us to their training process, but also genuinely offered us invaluable advice about the medical profession,” Mei added.
All five students agreed that this program will have an impact on their future career decisions and that Hamilton students interested in medicine should strongly consider applying for the program.
Lawler remarked, “While the prospect of graduate school applications for the healthcare field can be daunting, this experience confirmed that medicine is still the path for me. These residents reminded me that despite the difficulties of a career in medicine, the fact that you as a doctor have the ability to help people will always get you out of bed in the morning.”