My (Way Too Long) Recap of This Week of Clinical Research

Okay. Sorry for the long and sort of boring title for this blog post. But it is what it is. This summer is my last summer break EVER. Although it would be nice to spend it 24/7 outside by the pool or watching movies, I’m very excited to be doing some clinical research for the first time. I thought I would share exactly what I’ll be up to this summer and go into a little more detail about this past week, which was the first week of my research experience!

I had almost a full week of nothing before I started research this past Monday and I’ll have an additional week of nothing after these 8 weeks of research! During my first week of summer, I got caught up on Netflix shows, doctor appointments, sleep, seeing family, and some much needed relaxation.

So now onto this past week of research!

Monday:

I arrive to the hospital at 9am to meet an employee who helped organize this research experience. I’m with 9 other students who have accepted a variety of research positions in fields like family medicine, emergency medicine, and orthopedics. There is a short and informal briefing on our new badges and how to get into the parking lot, pay for lunch, and other tasks like that.

All of the students receive a quick tour of the hospital and then are sent to have a group photo. After this, students of different programs split up and go to their respective department. The OB/GYN department took two students to work on two separate projects, so me and the girl I will be working aside get dropped of at our department.

We meet with the person who hired us and were given specific details about the projects we will be working on! I’m very excited about my project because I get to physically interview patients, input data, and will also be allowed to play with this data which is something I haven’t done yet! The resident I’m working closely with is SO NICE and makes this research position even more amazing.

Our boss takes us out to lunch to a place sort of like World Market and it has the most amazing salad bar I’ve ever seen, not even kidding. After lunch, we receive more information about what our schedule is like for the next 8 weeks, who to contact if we need help, and other paperwork things. One thing that is great about this position is that the OB/GYN department integrates shadowing opportunities into our research experience. This coming Monday, I’m actually scheduled to shadow a gynecologic oncologist in the OR! So… definitely very excited about that.

Anyway, we wrap up the day early and I head home so excited to tell my boyfriend every single detail about the day. Oh, I planned to do a BBG workout this day but was so sunburnt from the weekend at the pool that I had to resort to stairclimber instead. Monday night I also watched the Cavs (best team ever) sadly end their season but was inspired by LeBron’s moving words, “we’ll be back”.

Tuesday:

So how Tuesday’s morning went is how most of my mornings will go in the coming weeks. I wake up at 6am and make my little cappuccino K-cup. Then I study using Firecracker for an hour until 7. I also eat some cereal during my study time. Then from 7-7:30 I get dressed and ready to go and leave right at 7:30. I have to be at the hospital at 8:30 for perinatal rounds but like to leave with plenty of time and get situated in the office.

Perinatal rounds are awesome. They only last about half an hour or so but are packed with foreign words and acronyms. I’m slowly learning what common phrases like IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) or BPP (biophysical profile) mean. I’ve also learned a lot about common drugs like why magnesium is used for neuroprotection during pre-eclampsia or procardia is a specific tocolytic which means it is used to stop premature labor. ISN’T THAT SO COOL? I was seriously geeking out because I haven’t even taken pharm yet but being so immersed really has its benefits.

After these rounds there is a 15 minute break before Labor and Delivery walking rounds. This is fun because I really see the dynamic between attending, resident, and medical student. The resident presents the patient’s case outside the room in front of the attending and med students. The attending then asks questions to both the residents and med students. I see residents encouraging med students and attendings encouraging residents. Of course I’m not being asked any questions because I literally know nothing compared to these people but it’s so fun to see these rounds play out.

After rounds, I have from 9:30 to about 12:30 to do some data entry. The project I’m working on started in January without any of the surveys being entered into a database. So if you could imagine, there are a lot of surveys to catch up on.

Lunch is seriously amazing because the cafeteria at the hospital I work at is the best cafeteria ever. If I wasn’t trying to eat healthy, I would have a calzone or fresh pizza every single day.

After lunch, I start working with a resident who helps show me how to conduct the surveys. It’s a little daunting at first because I’m not that familiar with the set up of the hospital or some details of the survey. The resident walks me through it two times before I’m doing it on my own. It really isn’t that hard but it can be confusing trying to read doctor handwriting at times.

After conducting some surveys and a little more data entry, it’s time to go home! I’ve been listening to the podcast, Serial, all week and was truly addicted. This makes the drive go so fast.

When I get home, I’m exhausted from staying up late for the Cavs game the night before that I have absolutely zero energy to workout. But hey, I did have a salad for lunch so that counts right?

Wednesday:

So I repeat the whole morning routine starting from 6 – 9:30 am. I basically do the same things but a little more efficiently as the day before. I do data entry, try to clean it up a little as I go, from 9:30 to 12:30. Then after lunch, I see if there are any new admits that need a survey.

After work, I decide I really need to get back on my BBG workout game and I make myself do week 2 legs and cardio. Of course the first exercise is burpees and I already want to quit. BUT I actually finished the whole thing and was pretty pumped.

Thursday:

This day was more or less the same as Wednesday. At this point, I’m feeling more comfortable with the OB/GYN lingo and how to tackle my day. Everything is starting to be more efficient!

After work, I finish Serial, freak out, and then get sad that it’s over. Then I go to the gym and do BBG week 2 arms and abs. OMG, I was on a roll with the workouts. Then I sort of ruin it a little bit when I go to my parent’s house to have dinner. Because my sister is in town from California, we celebrate with some Hawaiian pizza, wings, and Dairy Queen.

Friday:

Today was a little different than all the other days of research so far. I have to be at the hospital at 7am for Grand Rounds. These rounds consist of chief case reviews and a few lectures. The reviews are where chief residents present their cases of the week and attendings will ask them questions about it. The lectures were on DKA & pregnancy and hyperemesis gravidarum. DKA is a state where your body produces too many ketoacids which is basically just not good and hyperemesis gravidarum literally means excessive puking when pregnant, and that is not good for obvious reasons.

I learned so much this morning! Took some notes, looked up some things after, and am feeling SO LUCKY for this experience so far.

The rest of the day consisted of some more surveys and data entry. I also received a more detailed tour of the hospital and the OB/GYN department! I saw the OR that I’ll be in on Monday when I get to observe gynecologic oncology!

____________________________________

So that was my week in a very detailed and excessive post. But it was SO FUN. I’m very excited for the weeks to come and am hopeful I’ll keep on learning as much as I have already!

If you have any questions, please ask below!!! 🙂

Advertisements

Life Update: neuro edition

I am feeling SO good after such a relaxing block weekend. (reminder: a block weekend for me is the weekend after an exam where I have absolutely NOTHING to do!) I was able to visit my boyfriend, sleep so so much, have dinner with my parents, and catch up on some criminal minds!

I’m writing this life update today because I’ve been pretty absent on Instagram due to this neuro filled semester! Let me explain what this semester looks like for me! It’s a 7 week condensed course with both a lecture and a lab component. There are exams after the first 2 weeks, then the next 3 weeks, and finally the last 2 weeks. At the end, there is also a NBME shelf exam that tests your knowledge and compares it on a national level. I just came off a semester where I had an exam after 6 weeks… so a 2 week block is a whole different pace.

Everyday for the past two weeks, I actually went to class (before, I would just watch recorded lectures) and then lab after. Usually, our day started at 8 and ended at noon. Then I forced myself to stay at school most days to study that day’s material. I made myself go to class this time around because I knew of how fast paced this semester would be and did not want to get behind. I haven’t gotten my test scores back yet, but one thing I can say is that while taking both the written and practical portions of the exam, I felt prepared! Now I just have to wait and see if I passed!

I’m hopeful that I’ll have a little more time to breathe this break since it’s 3 weeks instead of 2. I also have a lot of fun things coming up! I have the Girls on the Run 5k late May, my class olympics on cinco de mayo (our team name is “Lord have MRSA” hehe), and my class is going to a MLB baseball game AND that game is showing fireworks!

The end of the year is in sight! It’s so crazy to think that in 5 short weeks I’ll be done with my first year of med school! Then on to 8 weeks of OB/GYN research! Lots of amazing things to look forward to! I’ll be sure to have more “life updates” along the way 🙂

 

Life Update: spring break edition

Hi guys!! So much has happened in the last week that I decided to write a blog post to share all the fun details!

One week ago, Monday, April 3rd, was my last day of gross lab EVER! I finished the practical with a grade way better than I expected because head&neck just isn’t my thing. I think the teachers made the practical a little easy on us because they could tell the whole class was pretty burnt out from the longest semester ever.

My semester consisted of both anatomy and histology. Anatomy and Histology had four components: histo lab, histo lecture, gross lab, gross lecture. There were three blocks: musculoskeletal, thorax&abdomen&pelvis, and then head&neck. We were in the lab 3-4 days a week, 2-3 hours at a time. It was SO DRAINING. Also, we never had a complete day off because most exams finished on a Monday afternoon, so we only had Monday night to completely relax before new material started Tuesday.

Next was Tuesday, April 4th. I had an eye practicum, shadowing (cardiology), and Girls on the Run. The eye practicum thing was pretty cool but was at 7am so I was just a little tired. We got to look into classmates dilated eyes with an ophthalmoscope and view the arteries in the back on the eye. This was my first time using an ophthalmoscope and I never realized how close you have to get to the person who you are viewing. I felt like I was way too close and invading their space when in actuality, I was still too far away.

I loved my shadowing experience on Tuesday. I got to see a cardiologist do a transesophageal ultrasound to view the valves of the heart. My school has a large emphasis on ultrasound so I’ve been exposed to it before this experience. I was able to follow along and correctly identify the chambers and directionality of the heart that was on the screen.

Finally, I had Girls on the Run. This literally made my day. At the end of each practice, the coaches nominate a girl for an “energy award” meaning that the girl went above and beyond that practice whether by running or displaying our class values. The girls also nominate one of their peers. But this day, the girls decided to nominate me, a coach! It was the cutest thing ever and it really touched me knowing that I am making a positive impact on these girls.

I attended my first OBGYN Grand Rounds on Wednesday, April 5th. The residents and faculty had a lecture on cleft lip/palate deformities and the plastic surgery that is done afterwards to correct them. There was a little segment that described how these nasocranial defects can be seen on ultrasound super early, which will help the plastic surgeon make plans ahead of time on how to perform the surgery.

IMG_0713
yay for cute breakfast

After grand rounds, and friend and I went to a local cafe that was SO CUTE. I got my first little latte in a coffee cup there and a cute breakfast! We studied for our shelf exam there for a few hours before we had to go back to school for CLG or clinical learning group. The rest of the day was spent studying for shelf, but I made sure to study outside on my new patio furniture because it was 70 degrees!

IMG_0710
cinnamon roll latte

The shelf exam was at 9 on Thursday, April 6th. After this was finished, I went home and took the best nap ever. I was just so happy and relieved to be done with anatomy!! Next was Girls on the Run which taught the girls an awesome lesson about empathy. As I was waiting for the last girl to get picked up, I checked my email. I saw an email that I wasn’t expecting until Friday, so I was initially confused. When I clicked the email, the main body was loading while the subject line read “Research Fellowship Offer Letter“. It was right then when I realized I received my dream research position!!!!

As soon as I got in the car to go home, I called my boyfriend to tell him the amazing news. He was SO excited for me and it was the best feeling ever. I interviewed for this position during test week, driving 6 hours for a 30 minute interview. I’m so glad this sacrifice of time paid off because now I get to work in a field I am super interested in.

This will be my first time being involved with clinical research and I’m eager to see how the experience unfolds. I’ll be living close to my family which is so needed after living in a new state for med school. One of the better things about this research fellowship is that it’s paid! Super helpful because ya know: poor med student probs.

IMG_0742
celebrating with tacos!

Anyways, I drove home Thursday night, the first official day of spring break. A snow storm awaited me but now all the snow is gone as I type up this blog post (thank goodness). Since break started, I started 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, started reading When Breath Becomes Air, and have been sleeping so much. Also, I’m trying to get back on my workout game since exam weeks are always brutal on me. I spent a day exploring my dad’s new office and a day celebrating my summer plans with my boyfriend! The celebratory day consisted of tacos and a walk on the beach 🙂

IMG_0731
dad’s new building

Sorry for the long read, hopefully the pictures made it more fun 🙂 I’m off to enjoy the rest of this sunny, no school or homework filled Monday!

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset