Every six weeks, we spend a day in the teaching hospital shadowing fourth-year students and gaining hands-on clinical experience. Each rotation day allows us to experience a different senior rotation. My most recent clinic day rotation was community surgery. When I arrived in the morning, I learned that our schedule for the day included an enucleation surgery, as well as several spay and neuter procedures. I assisted my senior student in drawing up pre-surgery medications and setting up the surgery preparation area. It was great to experience the sense of community among the students, faculty, and staff. They were all willing to do anything to help each other in any way they could.
Once our patient was sedated and prepped for surgery, I participated in my first gowning and gloving experience. I quickly discovered that being a gowning and gloving rookie definitely has its struggles. Let me tell you — the minute someone tells you that you cannot touch anything is the minute you lose complete control of your body and gravitate toward any available surface. As with most things, it was a lot harder than it looked in the instructional videos I watched in preparation. However, I successfully completed the process with the assistance of my senior student mentor, and I was finally able to enter the operating room.
The first surgery I observed was the enucleation, which resulted in the removal of both eyes of a blind cocker spaniel. I learned so much as I observed the procedure as the students and faculty explained every step of the process. Surgery made anatomy come alive for me. Clinic experiences like this one help me to integrate classroom knowledge with practical skills; I love being able to correlate what I’m learning with practical applications that further solidify my understanding of lecture concepts. It’s easy to get bogged down in textbooks and lectures day after day. But in the clinics, all of that knowledge we endlessly cram into our brains awakens in a whole new way.