This winter break, I had the  amazing opportunity to shadow a surgeon around a  hospital. Although I knew a lot about the doctor’s lifestyle from previous volunteer experiences, this time I learned not only about a specific lifestyle or various rules, but also about the behind the scenes happenings. Over the course of the month I ran around the hospital, I learned a lot about modern healthcare and how my current studies can be applied to a future career in medicine. Here are just a few of the many important things I learned during my time as an observer.


1Learning Multiple Languages is Important

As I followed doctors and observed their cases, I became more and more aware of the value  of knowing different languages. Whether it’s Spanish, French, Hebrew or Hindi, I learned that it is especially important to know different languages in order to make sure that the patient is under the best care possible. After all, making a patient comfortable is imperative to hospital care.


2The Doctor-Patient Bond is Amazing

Doctors and patients share a bond that consists of trust, guidance and empathy. Seeing these feelings and emotions come to fruition in practice made my heart burst. I felt that I had a great bond with the patient, even as an observer. Such a bond is imperative to everything that patient care stands for.


3Empathy in Hospitals is Critical

I found that patients feel a lot more satisfied and at ease with their care when their feelings are acknowledged. When patients are already dealing with tons of stress, knowing that someone is on their side and aiming to be their advocate makes it a lot easier.


4Eat Whenever You Can

The doctor lifestyle comes with its pros and cons—a con being that leisurely lunch time is hard to plan. Patients come first, so if that means that you must wolf down a quick PB&J sandwich on your way to the OR to save a life, that’s what you must do.


5Educating Patients Should Be a Priority

When it comes to patient care, I believe that educating a patient about his/her disease is as important as treating the disease itself. A person who may be extremely anxious about his condition needs to be reassured and told the truth about  what he may be dealing with. Patient education can especially be useful for prevention techniques. If a patient is warned of the risks of unhealthy habits and educated on the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, it can greatly improve a patient’s quality of life. In other words, I learned that it is highly important to make sure your patients know what all those long scientific words mean!

While I expected that shadowing a doctor this winter would be exciting and amazing at the very least, I learned far more about a career in medicine in that one month than I could have ever imagined. During that month, I learned that medicine is not only a career in science but also a career involving a multitude of tasks that combine to make excellent doctors.