Maya and UB Med in Haiti 2018
One of the great things about a career in medicine is that no-one ever stops being a student as medicine is an ever evolving field. I had the opportunity to witness this merry-go-round of teaching this week when the University of Buffalo Med School brought 12 enthusiastic M1s, 3 (very patient) M4s, 2 retired physicians, and 1 nurse prac to St. Gabriel’s for their biannual clinic. I learned everything from the basics like how to properly take patient vitals and histories to a little more complicated procedures like breast and pelvic exams. My favorite thing that I was able to sit in on this week was a facial suture performed by one of the M4s, Brian, and was done on a patient who had recently gotten in a motorcycle accident. I look forward to the day when I can do one by myself.
As I reflect on this week I am still amazed at how much teaching (and learning) was happening. Physicians teaching M4s who then taught the M1s who in turn were teaching me. But it didn’t only work in that order, I found myself able to share some of my own insights into the Haitian culture with them and how they might play into some of the illnesses we were diagnosing. Outside of the medical group our translators taught us important Creole terms and we taught them English. After the med group left, one of the translators told me that he was so glad he could translate for the Buffalo group because it was a chance for him to be exposed to various fields of medicine. His favorite part of the week was working in the pharm with Navin the pharmacist. He said he had never truly spoken to a pharmacist and learned so much from working with him.
Not only did I learn about the medical practice and procedures, but I also learned a lot about medical school in general. Many of the students and physicians offered their encouragement, experience, and advice about the application process, fields of study, and potential career paths. Some told me things that really made me think and though at the time it felt like they were “throwing a wrench” in my life plans (thanks Vinny) it was time for people to start tell me what I needed to hear and not worry about offending me. Although it sounds cliché I think that I needed to cross paths with those students, and I’m enterally grateful that I did.
5 days and 625 patients later I feel energized, excited for the future, and grateful for my health. Thank you Buffalo for teaching me about the medical life (and how to play a wicked game of Spoons). I hope our paths cross again in the future (maybe next time I’ll be wearing UB scrubs) Ha!
Until next week-