Shadowing in Orthopedics
Gary Duncan, sophomore biochemistry major, honors and pre-medical student:
This semester I shadowed two orthopedic surgeons at a sports medicine clinic. The most striking thing about the experience was that I could legitimately envision myself in a few years doing what they do. It was genuinely interesting work and I appreciated the diagnostic skills these physicians possess. Even the more mundane days were fascinating to me. I am very interested in how the body responds to stress and how to treat the different things to which we subject our body. I hope to soon have the opportunity to observe surgery, as I think it would be incredibly interesting to see the actual process. I’ve read and heard about how it’s done but you can’t truly experience something unless you’ve seen it in person.
Since I am a runner, the most interesting case to me was a girl who came in with chronic stress fractures. I have a friend from back home that has the same problem and even ran the same event in track as this girl so I was very interested. The physician suggested Chronic External Compartment Syndrome, which was a new term to me but sounded like something that I’ve seen in other runners. This diagnosis helped me see beyond the typical diagnosis of anything in the shin either being shin splints or a stress fracture.
That kind of knowledge is what I strive for and one of the primary reasons that I wish to go into the sports medicine field. I feel with my background in running, I would be able to empathize with the patients and offer advice out of personal experience rather than just theoretical knowledge of the injury. Over all the Body and Soul program has reinforced my desire to enter the medical field and the experience will help me immensely down the road.