Madison Harris - Shadowing Reflection for Spring 2017

As this semester comes to a close – my eighth semester at ACU and sixth semester a part of the Body and Soul program, I am in awe of the ways God has been working in my life all along. Sometimes in the moment, seeing the work of God’s hands is hard. Our prospective has blind spots, and all we can do at times (maybe even most of the time) is lean and trust on the Lord’s promises that are found in Scripture. After the present moments have passed, hindsight reveals the ways God was working in one’s life, and His perfect way of fabricating things, of putting the small and big pieces of one’s life together far better than the human mind can imagine, never fails to leave me dumbfounded. This is where the Body and Soul reflections come into play. After shadowing a pre-health profession through the Body and Soul program at ACU, students are required to reflect on their experiences. Before starting my reflection for this semester, I re-read my old reflections in chronological order. As I sat in the dungeon of the library reading these, a smile crept across my face because I could see that God has been working in my life all along! I am so thankful for these reflections, and I am so thankful for the continued, good work of our Loving Father.

My story is a little different than the traditional pre-medicine student. I came to ACU unsure of what I wanted to do, and almost every semester I have changed my mind for many different reasons. Over the course of these years, my love for science and knack for problem solving has certainly developed. I know I love the field of study that I have chosen (biochemistry), but the tricky part for me has been deciding what career I want to apply all of this to because there are so many options. This semester I shadowed a pharmacist and a pediatric PA to explore both of these professions. These experiences helped me compare and contrast more professions in the healthcare field, and ultimately helped me continue to develop my thoughts about what type of graduate school I want to apply to next fall.

First, I shadowed James McCoy’s Drug store, which is a local, small, privately owned pharmacy business near the ACU campus. While shadowing, I saw many things that I loved, one of which being the focus of James McCoy. This small business was motivated to serve the people in their community. This was evident in the way each employee remembered every customer/patient’s name and spent time checking up on his/her life in addition to providing the medicine needed at the time. One of my favorite parts about shadowing here was observing compounding. Compounding is the process of preparing medicine personalized for the patient. I felt like I was in an organic chemistry lab, and the cool part was seeing in person how the things I have learned in school are applied to a job! While shadowing in pharmacy, I also become aware of some aspects of this profession that I did not think fit what I envision for a future career. I realized that I did not particularly like the business/sales side behind pharmacy, and that is okay. I am very thankful for pharmacists, and for the opportunity to explore another side of medicine. 

Shortly after shadowing pharmacy, I began shadowing a pediatric PA. Shadowing Morgan was a wonderful experience. She was gracious with her time, allowing me to come shadow her whenever was convenient for me, and she taught me about her job while I was shadowing. This was a blessing, because professionals are not required to teach an undergraduate student while shadowing. To say the least, I am very thankful for Morgan. I loved getting to see how much she loved her job. With each patient’s appointment, Morgan’s face would light up. She was a wonderful PA. Another helpful piece of this shadowing experience was seeing how a PA works alongside a physician, as well as how a PA’s job compares to that of the physicians. After shadowing a pediatric PA, I think PA is a viable option for me for a future career.

All in all, I am thankful for each of the shadowing opportunities that ACU’s Body and Soul program has provided me. My journey began shadowing physical and occupational therapists, and since then I have taken opportunities to shadow a variety of doctors (both in the US and abroad on medical missions), pharmacists, and physician assistants. Body and Soul is a unique and valuable program offered to pre-health students at ACU. It allows students to begin to see how their pre-health coursework applies in different healthcare professions, and personally, it has helped me place myself in a healthcare professional’s shoes, envisioning myself doing that particular job. For that, I am very thankful. I cannot wait to see how God continues to work in my life, using these experiences, to lead my footsteps on His path; and for now, in the midst of the unknown, I will rest in His promises – to finish the good work that He started in me and to remain by my side every step of the way.