Non-invasive reading [i.e. echocardiograms]

Today’s inane image of the day:

The Heart & Vascular Services at Beaumont Royal Oak have been headquarters for my summer cardiology experience [“internship”]. I can actually find my way around at least a small part of the hospital now!

Nine of us elected to do a Cardiology “internship” [I’m hesitant to call it a true internship as most of what we’re doing is like “advanced shadowing” since it’s definitely more hands-on than shadowing prior to medical school and everything makes so much more sense, however, we still aren’t doing as much as if we were doing a clinical clerkship] [more appropriately, it is a summer Cardiology experience] – and I hope I’m speaking for my group when I say that it has been tons of fun. As with most things, there are definitely high points and mundane points, but overall I am extremely happy that I elected to spend six weeks hanging out with the Cardiologists/Cardiac Surgeons.

Our particular program is setup such that our weekly schedule mimics a Cardiology fellow’s monthly schedule – basically, each week we rotate through a different service [e.g. inpatient, SICU, Cath lab, etc]. We are expected to attend noon conferences [and there’s really no reason for us to skip this – they provide lunch everyday] and Cath conferences [early morning on Tuesdays]. Additionally, each of us spends at least one half-day in clinic following our mentor [each of us were assigned an attending]. Finally, we are also assigned a fellow to follow around each week [the only exception is the SICU/surgical week] – from my experience so far, the fellow generally dictates our schedule outside of the “required” activities.

My first week was spent in “non-invasive reading” which basically translates into performing and interpreting echocardiograms. Imaging is definitely one of my interests so I was pretty excited to start off with this service. The fellow I was assigned to had worked with our TBL group during clinical case studies so I was already somewhat acquainted with him.

The schedule for the week was pretty much performing ultrasounds in the morning [both transesophageal and transthoracic], noon conference, then reading/interpreting the images in the afternoon. Although this may seem somewhat slow-paced… I thought it was an extremely appropriate way to start off, plus I was able to get some experience doing the transthoracic ultrasounds [not that we saved any of the images I got, but hey, I could totally do a mean four-chamber apical view!]. Plus, I’m a big fan of dark rooms with images [this is, of course, assuming I have coffee] [this does not mean I’m going to become a radiologist].

I thought that the best part of my first week was probably picking the brains of the fellows – it’s great to hear their experience going through medical school, residency then finally this fellowship [two of them actually took a year to be a hospitalist prior to starting their Cardiology fellowships – I didn’t realize that this was so common]. Their advice was priceless and they were just a lot of fun to hang out with.

Anyway, I have to get up early to make it to Cath conference – I hope you’re enjoying your summer [I know I’m loving the sunny days!].

6 thoughts on “Non-invasive reading [i.e. echocardiograms]

  • June 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    do you get paid to participate in this summer fellowship?

  • June 26, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Hi Amanda,

    Sorry about this off-topic comment, but I just HAD to write this. You have such a beautiful and amazing blog ! I’m a med student from India, and I just love your writing and photography…Just in the four-five hours that have passed since i discovered your blog (through kevinmd) I have been so, so inspired. Just like you, I was also one of those first year med students with great scores, acceptance to a great institution, a whole plan carefully worked out, schedules planned, four-color pens and paper planners and sticky notes, the works – but almost halfway through my 5.5 year med course I am going through a bout of illness and depression and battling an academic crisis that i hope i can emerge through 🙁 Your posts have recently made my enthusiasm come back alive and i feel really great 🙂 Hopefully i will start updating my blog again, too 🙂 Thanks, Amanda 🙂 You’ve made such an impression on me 🙂

  • June 27, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Hey Amanda,

    This is Corinna…I’ve commented before. I just graduated college in May and am trying to decide if want to pursue medicine. I’m currently doing a research internship at a major children’s hospital studying early heart development and I’m really interested in getting to see the clinical aspects of cardiology. All the attendings and fellows here seem so incredibly prestigous and busy, and I don’t want to embarass myself by asking if they might have time to allow an undergraduate to shadow them. Do you have any advice on how I might approach someone about shadowing or observing without seeming like an overzealous pre-medical student? What has been your experience with their willingness to educate younger students? Thanks!

  • June 29, 2012 at 3:21 am

    Hi Sanyukta,

    I absolutely love reading this types of “off-topic” comments because reminds me that there are actual human beings out there who have similar experiences [and personalities] that read this thing.

    I really do hope you are able to get through this rough patch you’re in – I’ll keep you in my thoughts. Please stop by here every once in a while and let me know how you’re doing.

    Take care,

  • June 29, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Hi Corinna,

    Welcome back and congratulations on graduation!

    Here are my thoughts on your questions: 1) There’s no point in hiding that you’re an overzealous premed… it works in your favor in the long run when physicians see that you’re enthusiastic and dedicated. 2) My personal experience with physicians have been extremely positive, even before I could pull the “I’m a medical student” card [you’ll find that once you get into medical school, most of the time, you automatically get more attention from the physicians than when you were a premed] 3) If you ask a physician and he/she turns you down… you probably don’t want him/her to be your mentor, anyway. Sure, there will be some awesome people that are just overwhelmed with work and cannot take on anything else, but the truly inspirational mentors I’ve had in the past were the ones that make time to show you around [despite crazy caseloads and research and family, etc], teach you awesome clinical stuff and get to know you [can you say, letter of recommendation?]. Or, they will refer you to a colleague.

    Summary: Just go up to someone who does something you think is awesome and ask [this is, of course, after introducing yourself and your plans to go to medical school] – you won’t really lose anything by doing so and could gain something substantial from it.

    Take care [& good luck!],

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