Six weeks of M2-done! Already flying by like summer did. My summer between M1 and M2 was perhaps the busiest, yet the most educational “vacation” I’ve ever had. I spent six weeks of my summer completing my required electives-the first two weeks spent doing a pediatric GI rotation at Dayton Children’s and the last four weeks spent doing a family medicine rotation in my hometown. Each clinical experience had its unique aspects and I learned so much by being in two incredibly different, yet sometimes-similar environments. It was refreshing to learn outside of the classroom and rewarding to see many of things I learned during first year applied in the clinic. However, it has been even more powerful when my summer experiences have started to come into play during second year and I’m able to tie in what I’m learning to what I observed during shadowing.
My schedule completely flipped when I started my GI elective because I spent around 8-9 hour days at the hospital, which had a different feel to it than the routine of go to class and study all day. Surprisingly, my exhaustion levels reached maximum capacity than during the normal school year because I wasn’t accustomed to the demands of clinical practice, but I felt like I got a glimpse of what typical days would like in the future—fast, busy, long, yet exciting and worthwhile. I had the opportunity to observe most of the pediatric GI specialists and each of their unique approaches to patient care. I enjoyed the variety that the field of GI provides—from consults, to physical exams and follow-ups, to being in the OR doing colonoscopies… you really never get bored! I valued the opportunity to listen to the dialogue between the physician, parents, and children and the process in which one comes up with a diagnosis, and follow-up care thereafter. One of my favorite experiences included the time when a GI physician let me get a glimpse of third year. I had the opportunity of having an in-depth talk with a parent about her child’s symptoms, collect all the relevant information and then summarize my findings to the physician and try to come up with a diagnosis before he went in to see them. Feelings of nervousness and excitement ran through me because this was my first time interviewing a non-standardized patient, but it was nice to use my ICM interviewing skills in a real setting!
After finishing up my GI elective, two days later my AHEC family medicine rotation began. I worked at an integrative health care clinic in Ann Arbor, which immersed me into a very unique and different approach to medicine—to the extent that I hope to apply some of the techniques and strategies that I learned here into my future medical practice.
The clinic uses an integrative approach by combining both traditional and alternative medicine to provide patients with more options and guidance. An integrative approach seeks to understand multiple factors from different bodily perspectives that could cause the said symptoms; therefore spending more time with patients is critical to improving their well-being to understand everything that is going on to connect the pieces. For many new and returning patients, we spent a minimum of 30-45 minutes discussing health concerns with them. I had many patients express to me how appreciative and full of gratitude they were to have a doctor spend this much time with them.
This experience showed me how an integrative approach can benefit some patients immensely as it provides them with more personalized choices geared toward their health when other traditional therapies do not seem to work for them. Thus, having the opportunity to see first-hand how this gives patients the benefit of attaining more health care perspectives and options by integrating conventional and alternative medicine to maximize their health care taught me that there is more than one correct way to practice medicine when balanced correctly. Further, I valued the give-and-take relationship between doctor and patient that I saw during my time at the clinic. This patient-centered approach further underscored the importance of allowing patients to a be a part of their health care conversation, allowing more information to be gathered to make patients more comfortable with their health care choices.
Many lessons taught, many things seen, and much more knowledge and facts gained this short summer than I would’ve thought possible!