Student Blog: My Summer in Surgical Pathology
While many teenagers are spending their summer riding bikes or going to the beach, students in the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Pathology IT Group can be found learning gross anatomy in the morgue, studying histology in the library, or huddled over a microscope together discussing a possible diagnosis.
In my eight weeks at Strong Memorial Hospital, I was able to explore medicine and pathology at a level that is a privilege rarely granted to college undergraduates. I spent my days among Pathology attendings, residents, and medical students, and was fortunate enough to be welcomed as a part of the Pathology team.
Not only was I able to observe medical students on their Pathology rotation, but I also saw the director of Autopsy testify on a homicide case in court. I went to weekly conferences with residents and attendings, watched an autopsy, and learned how to read pathology reports. I learned about how patient diagnoses are made and became personally involved in research on Lynch Syndrome. Furthermore, I got to shadow in general surgery and explore other paths within the medical field.
This program challenged me and my fellow students to grow both intellectually and emotionally. At first, it seemed daunting to learn about the histology of the human body and medical terminology used to diagnose things like a “tubular adenoma” or “sessile serrated polyp.” However, we made rapid progress so that, by the end of the summer, our confidence grew. We experienced both the power and pitfalls of medicine as we learned to discuss an emotionally-charged autopsy and consider the needs of patients that go beyond their medical conditions. Gradually, we learned more about the emotional maturity necessary to handle these challenges – and this was illuminating.
Under the mentorship and guidance of Dr. Jennifer Findeis-Hosey, each member of the Pathology IT Group was able to tailor the experience to his or her own personal interests and ambitions. I emerged from my own experience better prepared for medical school, even more motivated for my sophomore year at Cornell. This experience gave me a strong desire to give back to the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the medical community, and to pay forward the mentorship that I have received.
About the Author:
Elena Gupta is a rising sophomore at Cornell University. She is one of more than a dozen high school and undergraduate students enrolled in the Pathology IT Program at URMC.
Bethany Bushen |