Day 22 [NYC] All The Medical Stuff

*** MEDICAL ALERT ***

THIS BEING MY LAST WEEK in Weill Cornell Medical Center, and realizing that I had been elaborating so much more on my leisure time instead of my studies, I have decided to dedicate this entry to describing my life as a visiting medical student here.

Weill Cornell Medical School ranks as the 15th best medical school in the States, and it’s teaching hospital is New York Presbysterian Hospital, which is the number 1 hospital in New York City and 6th in the whole of US. Other notable affiliations with Cornell are Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital (which is one of the two most respectable cancer hospitals in the country), Rockefeller University (it has 23 Nobel Prize winners in it), and Hospital of Special Surgery (an orthopedic and rheumatology hospital ranked number one in Orthopedics in United States).

THE PEDIATRIC CLINICS (most of it) are located at the fifth floor of Helmsey Tower. I also go to some clinics at HSS and other locations, but I spent about 90% of my time in this building. The whole hospital area is all around the Upper East Side of New York, mostly on the 68th to 72nd Streets. They have a lot of different buildings with different names that is totally confusing. Some of the buildings are really new, with a modern ultra sleek architecture; and others are old and with a renaissance look.

Working in such an exceptional hospital and associating with many of the best doctors in the world is truly a great blessing and rare opportunity. My course here is a four week ambulatory pediatric elective which allows me to attend, observe and almost always help in various different pediatric clinics. During the first week of my elective, my supervisor, Dr. Maura Frank insisted that I go around different clinics so that I can decide on a concentration of subspecialty that I am particularly interested in. During my clinic rotations, I am very fortunate to be able to meet up with a lot of kind, helpful residents and attendings who worked with me as a team, giving me plenty of opportunity to learn and practice.

I eventually decided on doing Adolescence Medicine, which is a study of teenagers, from age 11-19. They have a whole series of adolescent clinics not to be found in Taiwan. I spent most half-days in either TAPP, where they see teenage mothers and their babies so that they can follow up with parenting and psychosocial issues; Adolescent clinic where teenagers usually come for routine annual wellness checkups and we focus on dietary, sexual, social and behavior issues; GYN clinic where teenage girls come for gynecologic problems such as STDs, contraception and such; and also the Health For Life program where obese teenagers come for nutritional consults, physical training and emotional guidance.

The time when I don’t have adolescent clinics, I would just hop around Urgent Care where sub-emergent patients show up with urgent but not life threatening issues; Resident Group Practice, where most follow ups are done; and also Renal, Chest and other clinics. The two main attendings in adolescent, Dr. Chang and Dr. Ipp are very nice people. They make you feel that your work is appreciated and encourages you to study and improve. Most of the residents are also very kind, the ones that I worked a lot with are Amitha, who is a second year just transferred from DC; Lillian, whose parents are also from Taiwan; India, who does not come from India, etc.

THE DAILY WORK SCHEDULE of the residents here are not that much different from the Taiwan’s, but there are some things that we should learn from this respectable hospital. A typical day starts with a morning conference, which can be anything from a lecture, to a Mortality and Morbidity Conference, to a case report. Then clinic starts at 9.15am across the street because the conference room is near the inpatient wards and not at the same building as the clinic’s. Noon conference is from 12pm to 1am and this is where they have their short lunches. Lectures and case reports are similar to those we have, but there are some interesting ones that we don’t usually have.

For one, the second year residents get to present a research topic that they are interested in doing, and the attendings will come and give some comments. This pushes the residents to start getting involved in studies and researches, and also gives us, the audience, an insight to what we should be concerned of if we were to start our own clinical study. During journal club, a third year resident presents a journal article, but instead of only speaking of its content, they discuss about the pros and cons and reliability of the study. This gives us a chance to rethink the information that are given to us, and helps us learn to evaluate data better.

Noon clinics are from 1.15pm to 5pm and they are more hectic than the morning ones. Residents and attendings get off work around 5.30pm most of the time, and no one stays back for night duties. All this applies if the resident is on clinic rotation, which they sometimes change to inpatient duty every three weeks. They have an On Call resident every night, where a resident receives calls from patients or their families for some urgent advice. The resident on duty can receive the calls from home so they do not need to stay at the hospital at all. Another interesting thing is that the residents get to rotate a month in Tanzania where they do International Health Counseling in a local hospital.

THE EDUCATION OF THE RESIDENTS AND MEDICAL STUDENTS are quite well organized and initiated. Although there are some small areas of improvement that we can anticipate, I do think that our school can benefit a lot from their experience. I am not someone who has the ability to make big changes in our school, but, I can and definitely will share my thoughts with my teachers and fellow course-mates so that some advancements can be done.

All in all, the experience is truly amazing and memorable. It sure did opened up my eyes and mind, giving me exposure to many different aspects, both in medical education and in social issues.

*** END OF MEDICAL ALERT ***

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