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On the Final Day Of My Placement, I Called My Parents And Told Them, With More Conviction And Certainty Than Ever Before, That I Was Going To Be A Doctor

Written by Hannah Martin on Thursday, June 10, 2021

CHP Program, Czech Hospital Placements, student review, CHP Program review, Children' Heart Center, Obs and Gynae

The day before I flew to Prague to attend the Czech Hospital Placements program, I thought I was certain in my desire to become a doctor.  During the ensuing two weeks, I realized that I had never truly understood the lifestyle that is practicing medicine.  On the final day of my placement, I called my parents and told them, with more conviction and certainty than ever before, that I was going to be a doctor.

On August 17th, 2018, the day before I flew to Prague to attend the Czech Hospital Placements program, I thought I was certain in my desire to become a doctor.  During the ensuing two weeks wherein I experienced the ins and outs of Motol Hospital’s Children’s Heart Department and Obstetrics and Gynecology departments, I realized that I had never truly understood the lifestyle that is practicing medicine.  On August 31st, 2018, the final day of my placement, I called my parents and told them, with more conviction and certainty than ever before, that I was going to be a doctor.

On the approximately 12 hour plane ride, I recall studiously studying the notes I had taken on the preparatory materials for my two placements.  Barely able to contain my excitement, I perused my descriptions of aortic valve stenosis, coarctation of the aorta and tetralogy of fallot.  These maladies seemed unreal, as if they existed only in textbooks.  To my surprise, mere days later, I found myself in an operating room, looking into a chest cavity as the nimble fingers of the surgeons flew about the open heart of a chubby baby boy who was soon to be cured of tetralogy of fallot.  It felt unreal to see the corrective surgery for a malady that afflicts only about 0.04% of babies and to see such an illness that I had only read about revitalized my motivation to continue along the admittedly long path to medicine.

by Cincinnati Children's via https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/t/tof 

Days later, I saw this same baby boy again when I spent a day under the supervision of a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit of the Children’s Heart Department.  Not only was he healing well, he was awake, giggling and I was able to hold him.  The tenacity and will to heal of this little baby boy, paired with the incredible work of his healthcare team, was astounding and his success story remains a heart warming memory that I reflect upon with a smile.  The Intensive Care Unit nurse who I was shadowing that day was also an inspiration.  She explained to me that they were short-staffed and so she was responsible for the monitoring and care of more infants than usual.  Nonetheless, she still carved out plenty of time to explain each patient case to me and answered all my questions.  She, the other nurses, and the rotating turnstile of physician specialists, therapists and other healthcare staff that came through the ICU formed a cohesive team that worked seamlessly in unison.  There was a tangible sense of camaraderie that further excited me to join the healthcare field and become part of such a team.

The overall experience with CHP was first rate, from the accommodation to the planned activities and friends that I made in the dorms.  The dorm was located near a subway station, allowing for easy access to the hospital and downtown core and CHP allowed for plenty of free time for me to explore Prague in all its glory, sampling the food, activities, culture and vibe of the historic city.

If there is any advice that I could give future students looking to experience the wonders of the CHP program, it would be to read up on the departments you will be shadowing prior to arriving and ask any and all questions that come to your mind during your time in the program.  All of my mentors and indeed everyone I met in the hospital, while busy, were more than happy to have students around and indulge curious minds.  CHP allows its students to meet a diverse range of members of the allied healthcare continuum, ranging from surgeons, to anaesthesiologists and ICU nurses.  It is a rich and valuable program for anyone interested or already in medicine.  In what I thought was an impossible feat, my experiences with CHP caused me to fall even more in love with medicine and renewed my drive to continue along my path to becoming a doctor.


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