Shadowing Experiences: McKenzie Dunlap | Obstetrics & Gynecology

This semester I was able to shadow an OB/GYN doctor. I made sure to sign up to shadow a female doctor because I wanted to see how she handles such a time consuming job and a family. I also am very interested in pursuing a career in her field. What I witnessed during the weeks of shadowing was nothing short of extraordinary.

I was not able to shadow right away because I was pledging, so my time was cut shorter than I would have liked. To make up for time lost, I moved my schedule around and so I had more time to shadow her. On my first day, I was slightly nervous. This was my first time shadowing a doctor and the last thing I wanted to do was get in the way. I was welcomed with a smile and made me feel like I belonged.

All of the employees were female, which I loved. There were medical assistants, nurses and nurse practitioners all working together. They laughed with one another, talked about their families and the most talked about subject other than work, was God. There are office bible studies, and the doctor has really focused her life and her practice around God. Christian music played in the office and in the exam rooms all day, too. With that viewpoint, it was easy to see each woman coming into the office as a blessing, not just another patient. It was a wonderful environment and I hope one day I could work somewhere like this.

I started following her and she explained each case to me before we met the patient. One of my favorite parts about shadowing an OBGYN was being able to see the same patients each week and watch the progress of their pregnancies. She knew most of the patients personally and would ask them about their lives as well as their medical issues. It was amazing to see the connections she made with each patient and how much she cared about helping these women.

While I was following her, I saw sonograms of triplets, I listened to fetal heartbeats, I watched pelvic exams and I even got to stand in on three births!  I have never seen a baby being born, so my first time, I got light headed and had to step out of the room. That day, I went home and thought I had to change my whole career because I could not stomach watching a natural procedure. She encouraged me and I made it through the last two births without feeling sick.

My expectations on shadowing were high, but my experience far exceeded everything I was imagining. I learned more about patient care and pregnancies than I could in a college classroom. I appreciate her allowing me into her work environment and taught me about the daily life of a doctor.