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Life lessons learned from each medical specialty from a medical student’s perspective

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My name is Brittany Ladson, and I am the president of Michigan State University Golden Key Chapter and a member of the International Counsel of Student Leaders. I am also a new 4th-year medical student, which means I have completed my 3rd-year core medical school rotations in each specialty of the hospital: Obstetrics/Gynecology, Surgery, Family Medicine, Emergency, Radiology, Anesthesiology, Internal Medicine, Neurology, and Pediatrics. These are the life lessons I have learned from each of these specialties as a medical student who rotated through their departments.

Obstetrics/Gynecology: Nothing can match or replace the support of a significant other in a time of intense vulnerability. Show love and support to your partner always.

Surgery: Patients will judge the quality of their surgery by the appearance of their superficial stitches. Although unfortunate, physical appearances can make a lasting impression on others.

Family Medicine: Primary prevention is the most important thing in life, whether it be disease prevention or education in school. When adequate resources for these things are not met, long-term outcomes are not good.

Emergency: First impressions are lasting impressions, whether it be for the face of a hospital, the first day of school, or a job interview.

Radiology: Radiologists are the unseen and unsung heroes of the hospital. Remember to always show appreciation and gratitude to others regardless of their role in your community.

Anesthesiology: Teamwork makes the dream work. You could never perform surgery without having the anesthesiologist there to monitor the patient’s airway and breathing. Like all career paths, medicine is a team sport.

Internal Medicine: Many IM doctors continue their education into fellowship to finally reach their dream job. This is a very long road, but hard work always pays off. There is no easy route to success; it always requires work.

Neurology: There are many diseases you cannot see with the naked eye, and many people out there are hurting. Show compassion and be kind always.

Pediatrics: Parents need to be an advocate for their children and their health needs. They need to be the voice their kids don’t have. Like in society, advocate for justice and what is right.

Regardless of your career path, there are always opportunities to learn, grow, and network. Never miss an opportunity to learn. Absorb as much as you can from every situation you put yourself in professionally and personally. These are lessons that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.

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