It's amazing how thing's in life come full circle. While in college, I was a 'child life' volunteer during the summer at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland. We really didn't do much of anything clinical, but it was a great opportunity to get to know and connect with a great number of brave and incredible children (and families). I operated mainly on the 9th floor acute card ward, but would occasionally float up to the 10th floor cancer ward. Needless to say, the kids I met up on the 10th floor provided me with some of the most inspirational encounters of my life, and ultimately shaped my decision that no matter what area of medicine I went into, I wanted to subspecialize into pediatrics (screw the lower reimbursement!).
Well, I'm back. For the next 13 weeks, my clinical preceptorship will be on Doernbecher's 10th floor following and learning from a pediatric hematologist/oncologist. Nearly 3 years ago, I roamed the halls with a bright blue volunteer polo with a big red wagon in tow. Now I'll be roaming those very same halls with my white coat in tow. Besides the obvious opportunity for my own personal reflection on how far I've come in those past 3 years (and even past 6 months), it gives me a great opporunity to integrate those incredible experiences which made me want to be a physician in the first place into my current medical education and growth.
Cancer is tough. When kids get cancer its really heartbreaking, on an indeterminable number of levels. But the kids in pediatric oncology also showed me one of the greatest aspects of working with children in medicine: kids fight. They fight so damn hard. It's what makes pediatric oncology one of those most interesting areas of medicine in my eyes. The failures are that much more gut-wrenching. But the success is even more rewarding.
I think this is a great way for me to round off my preceptorship experience for the year. I got to work with an orthopaedic trauma surgeon... and learned that really wasn't for me. I got to work with a cardiology specializing in congenital heart disease... and learned that right now my passion still lies along those lines. And I get to work with a pediatric oncologist... which means I finally start to get to see and work with kids again.
That's my update for now. We just finished a particularly brutal stretch of the curriculum, 3 exams and 2 quizzes in 4 weeks. One more exam next week and I'm back to normalcy. And on that note, I'm out.