1. Data Mining
This week I realized that I really like clinical research! I knew even before starting the internship that I’m a bit obsessed with excel and data. I make spreadsheets for literally everything from finances to cooking recipes to study schedules, all trying to optimize my time and efficiency. For my research project, I’ve had to crunch through a lot of data and find ways to present it in a way that makes sense and portrays our point. I’ve redone my statistics and presentation methods probably a thousand times, and not necessarily because I needed to, but because it’s so fun for me to find the best way to do it! I’m really grateful for Nth Dimensions for giving me the opportunity to try something new - I will definitely continue doing clinical research in the future!
Aside from research, this week I spent the majority of the time in clinic with Drs. David Johnson and Bernard. I finally executed a proper Lachman test thanks to Dr. Johnson, who always takes the time to let me practice with the patients while he’s examining them and teaching me proper technique. With Dr. Bernard, I’m becoming more and more comfortable reading X-rays and MRIs and coming up with a differential diagnosis based on history, physical exam, age, and mechanism of injury. Yesterday, I spent the day with Dr. Johnson in the OR observing a patient with a rotator cuff repair and two patients with Achilles’ tendon repairs, one of whom I had seen in clinic.
I can’t believe our first month is already over - it’s going by so fast!
2. Building Relationships -- Priceless
Week 4 has wrapped up and it was a good one. From Mon-Wed. My primary receptor Dr.Brooks was out of town at AOA’s Leadership Meeting in Boston. In his absence, I was given the opportunity to work with my second mentor & UMC's Program Director Dr. George Russell. It was nice to work in the trauma OR as I had been in working in peds OR all summer. I was honored to get know Dr.Russell a little more and seeing how knowledgeable he was. Boy did he put me to work! Upon Dr.Brooks' arrival I was given a day to solely work on research as I have been added to 2 additional research projects.
After a stressful week in the OR, Dr.Brooks took me for a joy ride in his newly purchased vehicle on Friday night. This was a great opportunity for him to show me around MS (as he has previously done) and to also get to know each other on a deeper level. He gave me LOTS of advice relating to research, relationships and Christianity. Something that I have not previously mentioned in my posts is that Dr.Brooks is a 7th Day Adventist and this was the religion that my family and I practiced growing up. As I grew older and gained my own thought process, I have strayed away from the religion aspect of christianity and I have focused on my relationship with God.
I truly believe that God had a hand in bringing me to UMC as he knew I would gain a mentor that would help me grow mentally and spiritually. Not only is Dr.Brooks a knowledgeable orthopedic surgeon, he is also a devout Christian and 7th Day Adventist(I dont meet 7th Day Adventists often). On Saturday he picked me up to go to church with his family. After church we ate and then fellowshipped by the pool. Thank God for Nth Dimensions and these experiences.... they've been invaluable.
In my final week of what has been an amazing experience, I spent my first two days with one of my preceptors, Dr. Balkissoon. I was given autonomy when it came to suturing which was definitely rewarding.
A new intern (who also happens to be a minority in orthopaedics) joined us, and I was able to help him find his bearings and get assimilated to how Dr Balkissoon likes things. He definitely appreciated my efforts and offered continuous mentorship throughout the rest of my medical school education.
The rest of the week was focused on research with Dr. Mesfin, and I was even able to get a big chunk of my manuscript written for my project.
Friday evening my preceptors hosted a farewell dinner for me at Texas Dè Brazil where 3 attendings 1 other med student and 3 residents (two of which were in between taking trauma call) were able to join. This again goes to show how much this program means to my preceptors and I could not have asked for a better place to spend my last summer break.
It was great being on this adventure with you all, but now I'm charged up 🔋 and motivated to be the epitome of excellence at my home institution.
Good luck, and God bless
4. It's All About the... Post Operation Presentation
This week allowed me to spend more time with Dr. West. I really appreciated how he explained to me what he was doing during the procedures. One of the key things that he emphasized was post-operation presentation. An IR will quickly develop a bad reputation if patients continue to leave their table looking like they survived a horror film. Thank you Dr. West for taking me under your wing.
This week I continued to work on my project and shadow. My project will be about IR's pre-operative interventions of certain pancreatic cancer patients, and how these interventions can increase the quality of live post-procedure. It is something that I am excited about.
A procedure that fascinated me this week was a DEB-TACE. DEB-TACE stands for drug-eluting bead trans-arterial chemoembolization. In this procedure small beads are mixed with doxorubicin (a chemotherapy drug). These beads coated with doxorubicin are then delivered precisely to a tumor via the patient's arterial system, resulting in arterial embolization and down-staging the cancer. The down-staging (decreasing the size) of Hepatocellular Carcinoma tumors can allow a patient to become a candidate for a liver transplant. The patient that I saw this procedure performed on had an anatomical variation with respect to his hepatic blood supply. His liver was supplied via the superior mesenteric artery instead of the celiac trunk. The IRs were able to visualize this using an angiogram with contrast. It was good to witness something that I will be discussing on my poster presentation.
5. The Campus
This week was another educational week. I was given a task this week to come up with exercises with all the equipment pictured below. The next day, I helped make a video doing those exercises with the equipment at the strength and conditioning facility called The Campus. NSMI is planning to make a YouTube channel showing people what exercises they can do with this equipment. The strength and conditioning coaches help some of the patients here with more intense exercises to make them stronger. This week I was also able to see one of the physical therapy students, Jey, present his summer research. Unfortunately none of the doctors could be present so it was only the physical therapists and a few interns. He did a great job presenting and researching all of his information. Overall it was a very informative week and I’m looking forward to learning more.