My first opportunity to shadow a surgeon in the OR was something magical. I have learned so much already and I haven’t even begun medical school yet (2 more months)!
The number one lesson I have learned so far is: Do not let fear impede your success.
I used to be so afraid to ask for opportunities out of fear of being turned down. But I learned that I was doing myself an extreme disservice while also negatively judging someone else. I was robbing myself of amazing opportunities and robbing others of a chance to answer for themselves.
Once I started adopting a “GO FOR IT!” mentality, doors started opening and the boundaries were limitless.
This picture is a true physical manifestation of the “Go for it!” mentality.
I decided to email a very well known surgeon in my city. I explained my interest, explained my educational background, future aspirations, and desire to shadow her surgical speciality. Not only did she want me to shadow her in clinic, she invited me to shadow in the Operation Room! The OR?! I’m not even a medical student yet and I’m invited into the OR? I had no idea what I was in for. I was so confused when I showed up my first day and was handed a pair of scrubs and instructed to put on a bouffant cap and face mask. I remember saying, “You want me to put this on? I need all of this just to observe through glass?” The nurse laughed at me, and I cannot blame her. I legit thought that it was like Grey’s Anatomy, where I would be watching from the gallery LOL. I never would have thought that I would be side by side with the surgeon while she talked me through the entire operation. Wow.
Two words: bliss & privilege.
That one email turned into an ongoing preceptorship, where I would go shadow this surgeon twice a week from the time I sent the email to now. I have seen such a wide range of surgeries and experienced so many meaningful patient interactions and I have not even started my official medical training yet.
What if I would have never found the courage to ask? I would have never learned from this amazing surgeon and I would have never been able to call this surgeon, my mentor.