During the final week of winter break, many students spend their time binge watching TV shows, sleeping in, or travelling to visit friends one more time before school starts. This was not the case for five pre-med students who decided to spend their final week of winter break at St. Elizabeth Hospital shadowing family medicine residents.
Kaia Miller ’18, Risper Kirui ’19, Caroline Chivily ’19, Micaela Tobin ’20, and Tatenda Chakoma ’18, had a close-up view of the daily routines of a medical resident during 10-hour shifts that started at 7 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m. They rotated in the hospital’s different divisions such as emergency medicine, internal medicine, cardiology, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and outpatient family care.
Chivily found the experience eye-opening, “I was exposed to a part of medicine I had never experienced before, and having the ability to learn about the different struggles that rural health care providers face was eye opening.” Shadowing provided the students with an opportunity to see what being a doctor entails and assess whether or not medicine would be a career one wants to follow.
Hamilton has a dedicated health professions adviser who works with students interested in careers in medicine.
Miller said, “The experience definitely confirmed my interest in medicine. I was also reminded that despite the long hours that residents work, a positive attitude and a love for what they do make the job worth it.”
For some students, listening to the doctors talk about their own experiences was beneficial. Tobin found that hearing the medical residents’ reasons for wanting to become doctors, helped her to clarify her own reasons to become one. Kirui was so inspired by the residents’ stories that she started writing her personal statement for medical school applications after the program.
For some students, just mere observation made them think about issues outside of but related to medicine. Chakoma explained, “The majority of the residents we shadowed were first generation immigrants or children of immigrant families. I found this realization inspiring considering that such populations in this country are often seen as not contributing to the American economy and society.”
Waking up each day early in the morning to spend the whole day at the hospital might have been tedious, but all participants of this program described it as an invaluable experience and a realistic glimpse of their potential futures. The shadowing program was facilitated by the Career Center’s Health Professions Advising office.