As my followers, you guys know I am a firm-believer in the importance in shadowing. In fact, I wrote a guide to shadowing a few months ago! Though I am still an undergrad and do not yet have to make a decision about what specialty I am choosing to pursue, I find that exploring different medical specialties has helped with my undergrad education, and will help me discover my best interests in the medical field I love so much.
As I have just finished histology, I wanted to explore the world of disease. After familiarizing myself with the normal appearance of tissue under the scope, I could not wait to see some forms of abnormal tissue.
Dr. L. began our time by showing me around the histochemical lab so I was able to observe the processing of the histological samples. In my histology course, we were taught the steps of processing & staining, but never actively fixated tissues ourselves. Being a visual learner, I found this very helpful!
One of the slides that had just finished its last step of processing was specially stained with reticulin stain which stains (YOU GUESSED IT) reticular fibers.
The doctor was concerned that the bone marrow biopsy would show a pathology of early myeloproliferative disease. This classification of disease can include bone cancers and other blood-forming pathology. Dr. L. explained to me that though many bone marrow biopsies are performed, many are not necessary and give negative test results. However, in this case, performing the biopsy may have caught an early stage of this patients’ disease. Though it is the sign of early disease for the patient, I am grateful I was able to view a slide of this special stain. Some other things I saw were H. Pylori slides, appendix slides, other stomach pathology, and a mouth lesion.
Dr. L was trained as a pathology resident, but also did a fellowship in hematopathology (blood/blood forming cellular pathology). The doctor I shadowed was passionate about his speciality and showed pride in work. He had a close relationship with the technicians in the laboratory and was clearly appreciative for the work they do which directly impacts his work. I would definitely have considered him a people-person, despite the stereotype that pathologists spend their days in the hospital basements in their offices 😉
Again, I am so grateful for this experience and that the hospital I work for has been so gracious in teaching area students. If you had not gotten your feet wet in the hospital, do yourself a favor and explore the world of medicine. 😀 The connections you can make between your studies and applications are amazing!