Rachel Lowe - Shadowing in the surgical wing

This semester I was blessed with the opportunity to shadow in the operating room while at Hendrick. This has by far been my favorite exposure to the medical field, and I am so grateful to all the doctors and administrators who helped make that happen.

One of the most significant lessons I learned from this experience is that medicine, like many other things, is a team “sport”. In the operating room I was allowed the chance to see how the surgeon interacted with his scrub tech and other nursing aids. There were nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists that worked together in multiple OR’s taking care of patients, and even the crew that came to clean up the OR after surgery demonstrated the need for a team to complete even one minor surgery.  I had always just believed the surgeon was in control and did all of the work and everyone else kind of watched. It gives surgeons a kind of “god complex” to think that way though, because the medical team that pulls of a surgery is composed of multiple people all executing their own task perfectly. This unison and synchronicity is what made for a perfect surgery and a happy patient.

I was able to shadow a neurosurgeon one day and observe a craniotomy, and this was by far the most impactful event of my shadowing time. He was very kind and asked me questions and explained everything he was doing as he went along. It was a very special experience that I may never get again. While observing the craniotomy I was wowed by how rough surgeons can be on the human body (like drilling into the skull!) and then follow it my some of the minutest maneuvering you’ve ever seen in order to find a tumor buried in the cerebellum. I was also overwhelmed by how amazing God has made our bodies. To think the pink and gray “squishy stuff” that the surgeon was cutting into is what control body movement and deep thought and balance is a wondrous thing.

Overall, my time shadowing in the surgical wing of Hendrick was unforgettable and amazing. I was able to wear scrubs and feel like a real member of the medical team, as well as standing directly behind surgeons as they performed intense and intricate surgeries. Not many undergraduate students can say that they’ve been able to experience these things, and I will not take that for granted. One last thing I learned from this experience is that Urology surgery is not for me!