A couple weeks ago, I was assigned to the orthopedic department for 3 days. I imagined myself taking patient histories, helping with office calls, and being told to do a lot of stuff I haven't learned yet. Well, I was right about the last one. Monday morning I was finishing writing my first official SOAP when an intern told me I would be going to surgery soon. This is awesome!! Then I find out who the clinician is and they are very intimidating and have a reputation of being extremely strict. Not so awesome!!
I meet with the clinicians as they're reviewing the radiographs and find out that we will be repairing a tibial fracture. While prepping the dog, I received some very good advice from an anesthesiologist: "Make sure you pee before the surgery." The surgery lasted 5 or 6 hours and I was glad I followed the advice. I was extremely tired that night not only because of the marathon surgery but also because in ortho surgeries, we apparently have to wear lead vests under our gowns because we are taking radiographs throughout the surgery. That night I went to dinner with the scary surgeon, the resident, and another clinician. The surgeon ended up buying my dinner and offering me a summer job. It was a nice change of pace to talk to these doctors about life and get advice on what I should be doing now to get where I want to be. While this surgeon is still somewhat intimidating, I realize they are not mean, and they do just want to make students into the best doctors possible. This was so much more than I expected from this holiday job!!
The next 2 days I learned a lot about caring for these dogs that were hit-by-cars and assisting with 2 more femoral fracture repairs. I have become very proficient at suctioning blood, holding a leg for very long times (which reminds me of Turk on Scrubs when he scratches his nose with some guy's toe during surgery), cutting suture, and cleaning instruments. I did get to practice suturing and stapling during the closure on the last dog. My last hour working was spent discharging one of the dogs with the resident to the owners. This was a very rewarding time to see this dog walking again and the owners so happy to have him back!!