My Experience At Hackensack University Medical Center

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Ever since I can remember I have wanted to be a doctor. This summer, through Yeshiva University, I had the unique opportunity of participating in the Summer Internship Program at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, New Jersey. Over the course of four weeks, along with three other students, we observed and communicated with esteemed physicians and staff from a full range of medical specialties. Endoscopies, imaging techniques, ER, surgery, pathology labs and ICU’s – were among the many areas of medicine we got to discover and learn about first-hand. The uniqueness of this program was that our schedule was not only intensive, but also flexible and accommodating to our interests. I am fascinated by surgery and therefore got to observe invasive procedures such as heart and brain surgeries. Since Hackensack is a teaching hospital the doctors took the time to explain and discuss, thereby exposing us to the realities of the medical profession and the difficulties doctors face day to day. This brought us one step closer to understanding the complexity of the field of medicine. We were also required to read J. Groopman’s How Doctors Think. Here the author explores clinical decision making, emphasizing that poor communication and cognitive errors can often lead to misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment. This book is highly recommended to prospective medical students and anyone who wants to make himself a better patient by understanding his doctors. Before I began this internship I had always compared the physician to a computer with a list of illnesses, symptoms and medications. The patient would simply input his problem; the doctor would go through the data in his mind and then offer the solution. Sometimes the doctor... ... middle of paper ... ...ed that when patients talk, doctors have to listen attentively to their use of language and tone of voice while at the same time pay attention to their body language. To summarize, medicine is not an exact science; it is an art of uncertainty and probability. Moreover, effective doctor-patient communication is indispensable to a correct diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Hippocrates said that “wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” A wound care specialist said something very powerful, which completely resonated with me: “patients are entrusting you with their body and their soul, and you have a great but humbling privilege to treat them.” Or as Alan Alda said in the commencement speech at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons this year: “The head bone is connected to the heart bone – and should never come apart.”

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