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Day 19 - Code Red

I started earlier today, because Dr. T was going straight to the OR to graft that burn patient who got here last week.
I met some other med students who I haven’t seen before, and they were watching alongside me. Dr. T took skin from the patient’s leg and grafted both of his arms and hands, which had 3rd degree burns. She had to cut the burnt skin off in order to get the graft on, which was something I haven’t seen before.
The surgery took about six hours, and afterwards we went to change the dressings of the woman who had a skin graft last week. She was so kind, even though she was very anxious. I actually helped Dr. T! I opened and prepared dressings, and helped put them on. I was so happy to help and be engaged in the process.
Right after Dr. T left her room, she got a code red page! A man had a box fall on his head, and he needed to be seen right away. We rushed down to the emergency elevator that opened straight to the emergency room. Everyone from the trauma team was there examinin…

WEEK 4: Overall Thoughts

WEEK 4 HOURS Day 14 - 8am-2:30pm Day 15 - 8am-2:30pm Day 16 - 8am-3:30pm Day 17 - 8am-3:30pm Day 18 - 8am-3:30pm
This week was amazing and I learned so much from Dr. Tandoh and her team. In Peru, much of what I learned was about the culture and the social aspect of being a nurse. From Dr. Tandoh, I’m learning so much about the medical world in the U.S. and about the human body.
From day one I was learning about burns and what burns do to the body. I met all of the trauma patients, so I learned about their specific conditions as well, and how Dr. T interacts with them. I learned through the team’s discussions, x-rays, CT scans, and notes. I feel like I'm sucking up information like a sponge. I'm eager to learn, and the other medical students and doctors are happy to answer my questions.
The daily routine of meetings, rounds and OR time became more manageable when I learned how to properly eat and hydrate myself before standing and walking around for hours on end. The schedule changes f…

Day 18 - School Nurses in VT

Today I met up with a nurse named Hilary, one of Dr. T’s friends, in Monkton where she works two days a week as a school nurse. She gave me a tour of the school and nurse’s office, and I got to compare how her office is run with how things are in Peru. The biggest difference, of course, is the plumbing and facilities… the standards in the US are much different. 
Hilary talked about the difficulties with communication between the faculty and the nurse, and with the parents as well. The nurse’s office at Monkton Elementary is in the middle of the main office, which sometimes can cause communication problems if the kids report to the front desk instead of all the way in the nurse’s office.
We took some equipment that needed to be calibrated over to Bristol Elementary, which is where Hilary’s best friend works as a school nurse. We got another tour of their school and I heard more about how the offices functions and the types of problems that can arise in their work. We met the principal th…

Day 17 - The Clinic

I managed to get breakfast in before the meeting today at 8. This time, it was in an auditorium with all of the residents. I watched presentations on several complications that happened after surgery. It was quite entertaining to watch the nervous presentations, followed by drilling questions from the other doctors in the room.
After that, we did rounds for a few hours. Several patients were finally discharged, and everyone looked like they were progressing at least a bit. I found myself more comfortable in my space now, talking to nurses and everyone without hesitation (it’s a lot easier when everything is in English!).
Dr. T then had her least favorite job: clinic. Patients who came in for followups would come to the clinic, and Dr. Tandoh would clean their wounds and give them more advice. She doesn't like the screams that came from the younger kids, which is why this job is her least favorite. We actually saw two separate pairs of 2-year-old twins, each with burns on one of them…

Day 16 - The Operating Room

I made sure to have a muffin, some iced tea, and a banana before our team meeting today to make sure I had energy to be standing all day. I’m glad I did, because Dr. T was finally called for her case about halfway through!
I’ve never been in an operating room before. It was so exciting to scrub in and be a part of a skin grafting procedure. I thought wearing Dr. T's coat was cool, but wearing a face mask and a hair net was even cooler! I followed her with confidence, knowing I was with the best. Dr. T is respected in the OR, as she should be, and it's great to watch her in action.
The anesthesiologist gave me a few stools so I could peer over the drapes and watch the skin graft. I learned the steps and potential complications of the procedure, mostly asking questions to the anesthesiologist as Dr. T was busy. The patient had deep leg sores, so the procedure was to take some healthy skin from her thigh to place over the sores so they could heal easier. Every little detail and ste…

Day 15 - I Belong Here

We met as a team briefly, before Dr. Tandoh beckoned me to leave. We went to the cafe and got breakfast, where she explained that she was waiting to be paged to the operating room today.
I was excited! And now that I was prepared to be in a burn room (they're hotter than normal rooms to help regulate the patient's body temperature... a fact I hadn't learned until yesterday, when I was dehydrated and unprepared to be in a 98 degree room), we went to change the dressings of one of the burn victims from yesterday.
While we were there changing the dressings, I met some other med students and even a nursing student! She had just finished her third year. I also met another doctor who appeared to be their teacher, and he let me touch the different burns to compare them to normal skin. I helped them change the bedsheets (rectal tube leaked) and asked more questions to the students and doctors.
After lunch, Dr. Tandoh was still waiting for her case. We went to meet the mother and gran…

Day 14 - Meeting The Trauma Team

Today was my first day with Dr. Tandoh and her trauma team at the UVM medical center. I know Dr. Tandoh through my dad’s church as an an amazingly warm-hearted woman, and she was so happy to have me shadow her. I wasn’t nervous at all to come in (maybe a bit about the drive - I haven’t driven in three weeks) because I knew I would be safe in her hands. She's a trauma surgeon with a specialty in burns.
First, I sat down with her team as we went over the patients. There are about 30 of them right now, so the team has their hands full! We went over each patient and what the next steps were for their care.
After that, I got to say hello to the team. There were case managers, nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors, and two medical students who were shadowing like me! They could actually help out, though, while I could only watch. They were friendly and told me I could ask them questions (they were more excited to answer because it let them test their knowledge).
We did our rounds and went t…