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Post-Program Reflection

       After more than 125 hours of my pediatric surgery CO-OP experience, numerous surgical procedures, countless patients visits, and office consults I know for sure that I want to become a physician and maybe even a pediatric surgeon. Throughout this practice I have gained invaluable knowledge and experiences that will help me become a better professional one day. Experiences like observing the conducted procedures in the office, learning how to examine patients, learning how sutures are made, attending to the doctor in the office, assisting in the OR, assisting in laparoscopic procidures on the OR, learning about neonatal fiscal exams, learning the surgical instrumentations, learning how to take pulse, weight, hearing the heart beats, measuring height and most importantly learning from everything that Dr. Soares was teaching me by taking notes. Before this experience I had no idea of all the things a pediatric surgeon could do like pectus carinatum and pectus excavatum for example, and how even though the normal treatment is non-surgical and more orthopedics pediatrics surgeons are the ones that provide it. Getting to see how genetics has a role in these conditions due to syndromes like Marfan has taught me the importance of my biology degree in reference to my future career and how the knowledge obtained in this degree will be used in the future. I got to see first hand the importance and role of the surgical technician, the surgical nurse, the anesthesiologist, and the anesthesiologist technician which are all part of the surgical team. I also learned that the nurse before the surgery prepares the patients with Povidone-Iodine solution by applying it in the area where the procedure will take place using a sterile gauze.

        My favorite procedure was the laparoscopic appendectomy since I had one done as an emergency. Learning the laparoscopic procedure involved the use of a cautery, scalpel, trocar, laparoscopic tower, laparoscopic instruments, camara, and suture and watching it take place in the OR was a mind-blowing experience. In surgery the most used instruments are the Operating Room (OR), surgical table, biohazard waste bin, the vitals monitor, surgical scissors, mosquito forceps, scalpel, cautery, trocar, Richardson separator, Allis forceps, dissecting forceps, the laparoscopic tower, laparoscopic instruments, the camera, the doctor’s office and the stethoscope. Then for the materials and medications most commonly used were the exam gloves, sterile gloves, surgical cap, face mask, sterile scrubs, surgical gown, shoe covers, surgical drapes, anesthesia, absorbable suture, povidone-iodine solution, sterile gauze, Panadol, Advil. The most frequently used procedures were circumcisions, appendectomy, cholecystectomy, herniorrhaphy, vacuum bell, dynamic chest compressor and frenotomy. Fecal unpacking was a procedure that was done but it was not that common. Therefore, the disease and conditions normally treated were hernia, phimosis, appendicitis, cholecystitis, pectus carinatum, pectus excavatum, lingual frenulum, superior labial frenulum and common warts. Throughout this practice experience I got the chance to see concepts of human anatomy and histology that I have previously learned in class in application to human disease. These concepts were, the abdominal quadrants, the digestive system, anatomy of the oral cavity, cystic duct, and common bile duct. Inside the pediatric surgeon’s role, he conducts elective surgeries, emergency surgery, consults in the pediatric ward and in the emergency pediatric ward, post-operational consults, laparoscopic surgery, and open surgery.

         The most important thing a physician should have is passion and compassion. Dr. Astrid Soares is a great example of these qualities. The consult experience in the office she has is very organized in a way that everyone works as a team to give these patients the best care and treatment. The consult work is very hard because it involves a lot of detail-oriented notes, questions, and examinations to determine what is happening with the patient. After each patient surgeons must make extensive notes of what they found, treatments, possible surgery decisions and discoveries in the consult. It was rewarding to see patients with the doctor and then at the end of the consultation give them stickers that made them happy. There are a short number of procedures that take place in the office like frenectomy in babies under 6 months, vacuum bell, dynamic chest compressor and other minimal invasive procedures that do not require the OR. This job requires constant study of science advancements and surgical technique to provide better care to the patients. Finally, I can conclude that being a pediatric surgeon is one of the hardest jobs in health care but at the same time most rewarding. As a pediatric surgeon you get to help, prolong and improve the quality of life of children. Due to this experience, I know for sure that in the future I want to become a pediatric surgeon, be a role model just as Dr. Soares was to me.

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