This past week I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to shadow Dr. Marc Greenblatt, an oncologist at UVM Medical Center in Burlington, Vermont. Throughout the entire experience of shadowing in a clinical setting, shadowing the nurse’s station and a PA, I was able to learn about all the different professions in the medical world. Also, through many in depth conversations with Dr. Greenblatt, I was able to delve deeper into the medical world in both a political and economic mindset while also learning about how academic research can play a role in a medical career.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is an academic day. We attended a case review where other doctors review cases. I was able to see CT scans and MRIs. This was my first introduction to the diagnostics of cancer. Later in the day, Dr. Greenblatt and I talked about his research and all the biological and molecular components of cancer research and cancer genetics. I was able to listen to a phone conference he had with other doctors from around the country about various studies being done with different cancer genes. We also attended multiple meetings about cancer research. During these days were when Dr. Greenblatt and I discussed the more ethical questions of medicine such as insurance lobbying, medical marijuana, and the history of medicine. These conversations were very informative and interesting for me to hear and engage in.
Tuesdays and Thursdays were clinical days and this was when Dr. Greenblatt introduced me to his nurse and other colleagues. I was introduced with one of his patients who has tumors in his liver with a gastric ulcer that was likely the cause of the cancer. I was able to follow this case throughout the week by viewing the histologic slides of his cancer and observe the thought process that goes into the development of a treatment plan. I was able to see about 30 different patients and it was very interesting to actually see the science of the body at work and be able to follow some of the medical conversation based on my classes. It was great to see the topics that I study relentlessly for 8 months of the year actually having a relevant place in the ‘real world.’
During these times, I was brought down to the treatment area, where patients are treated with chemotherapy. I got to witness multiple IV being put in and chat with multiple patients and learn about their lives. I was able to experience this twice during the week. Later, I was able to observe a PA perform a bone marrow operation on a patient and later in the week I was able to observe another PA perform an operation.
Overall, this past week has helped me better understand some medical professions that I am interested in while also being able to observe a hospital setting at work. I was able to view a clinical setting and an academic setting. All in all, this experience was amazing and I learned so much about medicine as a whole.