1. Defined Teaching Methods
Dr. Harrington and I talked about how there really is no defined teaching method in residencies, and often times the people who are teaching are trained surgeons. He said this can sometimes create issues because not everyone is trained to know how to teach, and since the teaching is often done on real patients and thus residents sometimes can't do various cases alone, it sometimes annoys residents who feel they aren't learning much of anything. So my second challenge is to hone in on your teaching skills and really practice how you engage someone else in learning, because one day we all will be trained surgeons and healthcare professionals, and I think the generation under us would really appreciate the time we took to teach them better.
2. The Opportunity to Change (Bless) Someone Else
I wanted to also speak on a challenge I watched my preceptor face this week. An eleven year old was referred to him and he was pretty sad because he would have to perform a Total hip replacement on the child. Keep in mind implants on average last 15-20 years, so it is almost inevitable that the child will need another surgery or two to replace the implant. Before we entered the room he mentioned how sad he was and I just reminded him that yes, it is a very bad situation for the child but reminded him that he would be doing a life changing surgery for this child. She will have the opportunity to live a life without chronic pain and be able to walk pretty close to normal again. When I said that I think in that moment I was able to give my preceptor a little bit of a motivational push. (If you look at the X-rays you can see how uneven the hips are forcing the child to walk with a limp.)
This case reminded me some much of a family member of mine who could barely walk but after surgery made a miraculous turn around . My cousin can walk because of a surgery a doctor completed successfully. I share this just to remind you all that God has blessed us all with the ability to help improve the lives of others. Sometimes it is a heavy load to carry but we have the opportunity to make a change. Never take that blessing for granted.
3. Wear Your Shoe Covers (Bodily Fluids + Mesh Shoes = 😬)
No one in our OR wears those shoe covers, but unlike everyone else, I happened to be wearing mesh shoes.....don't ever do that, unless you want body fluids making your socks squish every time you walk for the remainder of the day.
4. Be the Example!
It was early in the morning when we all just seemed as though we were running through the motions when we got a patient with a post-operative AKA (above-knee amputation) visit to the clinic to remove his staples. A physician, 2 medical students, a medical assistant, and the patient (with wife and grown-up son) were all present in the small examination room. Everything felt quiet except for the sounds of pain coming from the older patient. In my mind, I was battling between whether to follow the status quo of silence and observation or to move across everyone to where the patient was in order to hold his hand, caress his forehead, or simply tell him “it’s all right, you’re doing great, it’s almost over, hang in there.”
Sadly, I stayed still and did not say anything. I want to work on being there for patients even for the simplest things which often make a huge difference. I think different clinics/ORs/etc have a particular atmosphere and sometimes it just takes one person to set the example of how to be kind, respectful, or anything along those lines. I hope we can all be a positive change, when needed, in the places we are in.
5. Arthrex Opportunity
My favorite highlight from week 4 was on Wednesday when Arthrex representatives came to teach us all about surgical techniques using their products in their mobile cadaver lab. This was a unique opportunity for the surgeons in the practice to teach us one-on-one how to perform the common procedures that are seen in clinic. The majority of the NSMI staff came to the mobile cadaver lab during lunch to learn from Dr.Bernard and Dr.Coleman. Taylor and I spent all day in the cadaver lab learning from the Arthrex representatives and from our mentors on how to perform different procedures including an ACL reconstruction, ACL graft preparation, and shoulder labral repairs. After clinic Dr.Bernard and Brittany, his Athletic trainer assistant, came to the mobile cadaver lab and went over surgical skills and had a mini anatomy review session. We were so amazed by the anatomy that we dissected through both the knee and shoulder entirely and stayed learning for another 4 hours!
Ultimately, our mentors brought Arthrex for the students to have an opportunity to learn from experts in the field. I am most grateful for their patience and willingness to teach and inspire. I went home that day feeling so excited about the future and humbled to have such an amazing learning opportunity!