This past month I have had the opportunity to shadow OBGYN, ER/General Surgery OR, Oncology, and Pediatrics with my Atlantis fellowship program in the Sisters of Charity Hospital here in Zagreb. This program has given me the experience of a lifetime, and I have learned and seen more than I ever imagined I would.
My first week in OBGYN was very inspirational. We saw tons of births, both natural and through C section, and each time I was amazed and overwhelmed with how beautiful it is to see life coming into the word. I’ve always had an interest in this field of medicine, but now my passion for it has grown exponentially and I could really see myself pursuing this career. We got very close to these doctors, visited them each week exchanged emailed and numbers, and now one of them is actually coming to visit the states next month and asked me to reach out to her to meet up. This connection is incredible, and she said that one day if I am a doctor to reach out to her again. This support is like nothing I've ever experienced in the states.
The second week my partner and I were in the ER, and General Surgery OR. I found myself thrilled to watch various surgeries including hip replacements, mastectomies, and even a 6 hour long cytoreductive procedure removing tumors from the all over the abdominal cavity. I literally lost count how many procedures we saw, it was the most exposure I've ever had in an OR. The surgeons and anesthesiologists were so kind and interactive with me because my partner and I showed so much interest. We got to see absolutely incredible procedures, things that only residents would have the opportunity to observe in the states because of how competitive it is in the US. It is life changing to see the inside of a body beating with a pulse right before your eyes.
The next week we were in Oncology which was a great learning experience. I learned so much about cancer, chemotherapy, and the chemistry behind the drugs they use. They are very brave to work in this field because they really are fighting for their patients lives. This week showed me that all of the pre med classes I have taken in school really do come in handy and are applicable to the real world. Who knew I would be thrilled to share my knowledge of biochemistry and organic chemistry when learning about the chemotherapy drugs.
The final week we were in pediatrics, specifically the gastro department of pediatrics. This hospital has the center for eating disorders, so most of our patients were younger teenage kids who suffered from eating disorders. This week was very eye opening and gave me such a strong sense of compassion for these kids. We learned a great deal about the effects on the body these eating disorders cause, a topic I had never learned much about in school. We got to witness the most vulnerable patient interaction which was very inspiring.
I’m so thankful for what this program has shown me and taught me, and thankful for the support my friends and family give me to pursue my dream career.