First off, Happy National Nutrition Month too all my fellow healthy foodies!

As many of you know, I am almost finished with a degree in community nutrition which credits me to become a Licensed Nutritionist in my home state of North Dakota (and enables me to apply for licensure in other states) once I graduate. (Complete list of states in link at bottom of page from the American Academy of N&D).

Because this month celebrates dietitians & nutritionists and everything we do for the field of health, I am sharing with you why I chose to purse a degree in nutrition. I’ve wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember but we’ll save that story for another day. However, because I am pursuing medicine, I often find myself explaining why I’m currently studying nutrition but still want to go to medical school. Here’s my story!

During my sophomore year of high school, I was required to take a health course. My classmates and I were taught the standard, “don’t abuse alcohol, don’t smoke or use drugs, use two forms of birth control.” Along with those important components of health, we were also taught about a healthy lifestyle through exercise, practicing a healthy mindset, and that of proper nutrition. I was intrigued when we talked about the MyPlate guidelines and how adequate nutrition affects a athletic performance – reasons I still love nutrition to this day. But what really got to me was watching a few documentaries in class.

One of the documentaries was on adopting a whole-food, plant-based diet that proved regression of several chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, and dramatic weight loss of those suffering with obesity. This blew my mind. As a 16-year-old, I had no idea how important diet and overall nutrition was.

The other documentary, which many of you have seen, was SuperSize Me. Morgan Spurlock documents eating McDonalds for every meal for one month in duration. He experiences first-hand the effects of fast food through gastrointestinal illness, elevated blood cholesterol, and a rapid, unhealthy weight gain. (If you haven’t seen it, you should). Find it here:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390521/

Being a knowledge-hungry high school student as well as an athlete, these films sparked my interest and inspired me to change my then moderately-healthy diet into a diet that had me feeling better and enhancing my athletic performance. Through this process, I found myself becoming more and more interested in the field of nutrition and why these things make your body work so well. It was amazing to me that if you feed your body right, it works even better that you could ever imagine, and ultimately, you are in control of your health. I wanted to share this with others.

My junior year of high school approached and I began my first part-time job: a dietary aide in the hospital. I worked with several nutrition & dietetics students and began talking to them about their field of study (Nicole, if you’re reading this, I’m talking about you)! It was very apparent that these students were passionate about their future careers. I did my research in schools and programs, and from there, I knew I was going to purse a bachelor’s degree in nutrition. Now, my degree nearly complete, I haven’t thought twice about it.

What does this have to do with medical school? If you are planning to apply to medical school like myself, you may pick any undergraduate major to complete your 4 year degree in; as long as you complete the prerequisites required for medical school (AAMC) and take the MCAT. It is recommended applicants major in a field of study that they are passionate about andI am so grateful I will have a bachelor’s degree in something I love.

So overall, why nutrition?

1. The top 2 causes of death in the United States are heart disease & cancer (CDC). Both have a strong correlation with diet and can reversed through medical nutrition therapy and prevented through nutrition education. If we continue to educate our country, the prevalence of these chronic diseases may be lessened, and our country may live longer and have a better quality of life overall.

2.   I love all things food, nutrition, fitness, and feeling well. Being educated on what our bodies need to feel all these things, I hope to lead through example for my future clients and patients.

3. Nutrition is a fairly new scientific field. We as students and practitioners are always learning new things about the effects of certain foods, nutrients, and diseases through dietary intake. It’s progressive, new, and exciting to be a part of.

I, like many others, am eager to see the progression of our country’s overall heath through the effects of proper nutrition. It is apparent that we as a country are becoming more progressive in health trends and *not to brag BUT* my generation is spreading the word about living healthy lifestyles through social media platforms promoting nutrition, fitness, and healthy living – it’s quite amazing!

Let’s keep a good thing going!

Thanks for reading, and green smoothie cheers to my fellow nutritionistas! Happy National Nutrition Month!

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xx,

M

Sources:

https://students-residents.aamc.org/choosing-medical-career/article/admission-requirements-medical-school/

Click to access Licensurelawsregulations.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm

“Let food be thy medicine.” -Hippocrates

Hello, everyone! This past week has been wonderful. I have hardly thought about school, and as much as I love learning, stepping away for a few days has been the best thing I could ask for. Now that I’m recharged, I am ready to finished my 6th semester of undergrad, strong. 🙂

So where was I?

When asked what my plans were for spring break, and being told I was flying to Las Vegas, I got the common response of “VEEEEGAAAAS!” Yes, Vegas is known for being “Sin City,” but coming here for the second time with one of my best friends, we had different plans. Last year, we walked all over the strip and discovered places we wanted to return to, and others we wanted to explore even more and that’s exactly what we did! Want to know how I did Vegas? Or if you are interested in all the food? Keep reading!

DAY ONE:

Before getting here, Koryn & I FaceTimed for over two hours the night before deciding what we should bring with. The weather forecast giving us some foreshadowing to a gorgeous week. The entire week here was predicted to be in the mid-80s and not a cloud in the sky. Boy did we luck out – it’s March, people. The majority of our packing lists included swimsuits, shorts, tank tops, and sundresses. We did well.

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not bad!

When we landed and got checked into our resort around dinner time, we hit the pool as soon as we could (don’t worry, we wore sunscreen). After feeling like we hit heaven prematurely, we headed to our favorite restaurant from last time, Buddy V’s. It’s located in the Venetian (an Italian-themed resort), and has many options for meals. I enjoyed Madeline’s Whole Wheat pasta with veggies. One thing I wish we had realized when we made our reservation is just how long it would take us to walk to the Venetian from the Monte Carlo (we were nearly late for our dinner reservation, but trust me, it was worth the fast-paced walk). Another thing to note about Buddy’s is the croutons. Koryn & I shared a caesar salad so we could reminisce on the warm, risotto croutons.

 

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koryn’s photo, her credit 🙂

Find it H E R E:

https://www.venetian.com/restaurants/buddy-v-ristorante.html

After dinner, we walked to the Bellagio to explore before getting on the tram. To our surprise, we found a gelato shop ran by an Italian family at Cafe Gelato. My friend Koryn got cappuccino gelato and I got pistachio. It reminded me of the endless amount of gelato I had whilst in Italy myself…

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pistachio heaven

Find gelato H E R E!

https://www.bellagio.com/en/restaurants/quick-eats.html#/Cafe%20Gelato

DAY TWO: 

It was one of the best Mondays I’ve had in a long time. We woke up and hit the gym for a quick workout before we stocked up on fruits & veggies at the grocery store. It was 85 degrees before noon so we took advantage of the pool. Can we just take a second to reflect on how amazing the sun feels when you live in North Dakota? Ok. Anyway. After getting cleaned up, Koryn and I headed back to the strip and explored some more resorts and walked the strip (outside). New York New York is like walking through just a smaller version of the Big Apple, so I’ve been told.

The restaurants within the building feel as if you’re outside; restaurants that emulate street food, American food, and many places to find shakes for dessert. Koryn and I couldn’t decide where to eat this time! We tried Broadway Bar & Grill and sat in what felt like a patio. We shared a salad, mozzarella triangles, and fresh cut french fries. Healthy or nutrient dense? Nope.  But what about dessert? Neither of us had been to Shake Shack so we gave that a whirl. Zero regrets.

DAY THREE:

Another 85+ degree day spent by the pool in the morning with SPF of 50 and not a cloud in the sky. No sunburns, minimal tan lines we are in great shape. Let me take a second to talk here. Koryn and I got to nerd out a little this Tuesday. Within the Luxor resort is where you can find the Bodies exhibit. Being both of us have taken gross anatomy and lab, we have experienced the marvels of the human body and been fascinated each time we walked out of class. Bodies was a briefer version of our previous knowledge, however, our minds were blown away when we got to the embryonic section of the exhibit.

There were various embryos beginning at 4 weeks of life all the way up to 24 weeks. Each embryo showed immense progression of developmental features of the fetus and the bones and cartilage were specifically preserved to portray the development. The embryo at 8 weeks was smiling. We were mind-blown!

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a book review to come 🙂

After we had our fair-share of anatomy for the day, we walked back to the Monte Carlo for dinner – 800 degrees pizza. I’m sure many of you have had wood fired pizza, but this stuff is amazing. The ingredients are fresh and their specialty pizzas are something I could rave about.

Many of you know that I don’t choose to eat pizza unless it’s really good, and if you’re with me, it’s worth it. 🙂 I got the Bucca, which is a rosemary base, grilled onions, butternut squash, bacon, mozzarella, and I asked for fresh basil. I had plenty of leftover pizza for lunch the next day! 

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I wish you could at least smell this pizza.

After finishing dinner, and feeling spontaneous, Koryn & I decided to check out the Cosmo. We discovered how gorgeous the inside of the resort is during spring break last year, but just walked around in awe. This time, immediately, we found The Juice Standard, a fresh-pressed juice shop that makes juice, smoothies, and has plenty of other vegan options. I had done my research on where to find an acai bowl in Vegas, only having seen them on my fellow food bloggers’ Instagram feeds. We got to sample a few different juices and Koryn decided on the “Bee Royal” consisting of apple, lemon, and extra ginger. I got an acai smoothie with granola, coconut flakes, banana, pumpkin seeds,cashews, and more smoothie than I have ever had before.

 

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you know a smoothie is good when it’s served with a straw and a spoon.

Find The Juice Standard here:

 http://www.juicestandard.com

We enjoyed our treats in the Cosmo itself, but noticed there was an escalator going upward, so up we went! We found a rooftop pool proceeded by “are you two here fore the event?” “uhhhhh, no…” So for for a short, unintentional time, we discovered one of the views of the Strip from the pool at the Cosmo. We can only wonder what the event was!

We got on the early shuttle back to our resort and came to realize it was still in the mid-70s. We spent about an hour in the hot tub, and walked back up to our room. Koryn fell asleep at 9, and I fell asleep at 10. Yes, you read that right. We’re still unsure of how this transpired, but that’s ok. This trip was about feeling refreshed!

DAY FOUR: 

Another day in the sun with fruit for breakfast and not a cloud in the sky. Before we headed for the pool this time, we took about a mile and a half walk to Dunkin Donuts, yes, I know they’re everywhere. But guess what? They’re not in North Dakota so it’s a treat 🙂

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We spent some more time in the sun, still reapplying high SPF sunscreen, and enjoyed every second of not thinking about responsibility. Once we got cleaned up for the day, Koryn and I wanted to hit a few of the stores on the strip. Fashion Show Mall is located north of Caesar’s Palace and is, well, how Vegas does everything, huge. After a long evening of hitting the shops, we had salads in Caesar’s Place on our way back to our resort. I had a grilled Chinese chopped chicken salad with cashews, cabbage, grilled chicken, and microgreens on top.

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salads are the best when they don’t consist of lettuce alone. 🙂

Wait, I forgot. On our way past Caesar’s Palace, in the front entrance of the mall was a Pressed Juicery stand. Seeing my Instagram friends in California rave about this juice, I tried two different kinds – Greens 2 & Vanilla Almond. No wonder everyone loves these.

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a great way to get some greens in while away.

Koryn and I finished dinner and headed back to our ride back to our dessert, but we wanted to check out the creamery within the Monte Carlo. We sprinted back from the tram at Bellagio to make it, but it was closed. We were sad over ice cream… there’s always tomorrow. 🙂

 

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The Juice Standard

DAY FIVE:

Our last full day here in sunny Nevada. Koryn and I made breakfast and enjoyed the sun until mid-afternoon before getting ready to head back to the Strip for the last time. I had been looking for a place that serves poke (in Japanese, “to cut”). For those that don’t know, poke is basically deconstructed sushi. I got salmon, cucumber, avocado, spinach, crushed peanuts, and eel sauce.

 

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my Hawaiian friends were right about this one 😀

 

http://pou-kei.com – check it out!

Koryn and I walked to Caesar’s to do some more shopping and at the end of the day, we returned to the creamery that had closed on us the night before. Koryn & I shared a cookie ice cream sandwich as an honorary last hoorah. Nice work, Vegas.

 

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again, zero regrets!

To our dismay, we ended the day by packing up our belongings (and hoping they don’t exceed the 40 lb weight limit) for our flight the following day.

DAY SIX: 

Our final day in the sun. This time, we were blessed with a mid-day flight to enjoy a little more time by the pool before checking out. And off the the airport- just like that, spring break 2017. If you were wondering, my bag weighed 39.5 lbs, and Koryn’s weighed 40.0. St. Patrick was on our side today 😉

This trip was relaxing and refreshing – exactly what college students need in the middle of the semester. I am so happy to get home to Stella in my own bed. Tomorrow will be full of meal-prep, a kick-a** workout, and a lot of histology. Who is with me?

Hope everyone’s spring break was as delicious as mine!

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Vegas, we’ll be back!

 

xx,

M

 

 

This is a food trend that I hope never dies out. Whether decide to make it a meal or an afternoon snack, this is my procedure – I have it down to a science 😉

You’ll need:

  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 2 slices bread of choice
  • salt & pepper & Italian seasoning

 

Procedure:

  1. Place toast in toaster, but do not toast yet!
  2. Heat skillet on medium high heat with olive oil
  3. Add eggs and salt & pepper
  4. Cut avocado in half and remove pit
  5. Mash avocado in pit with a fork (save yourself another dish to wash)
  6. NOW toast your bread!
  7. Add salt & pepper, and Italian seasoning and continue to mash until well combined
  8. Flip egg(s) to continue cooking (or cover if you want it over easy)
  9. Spread avocado onto toast
  10. Cut egg/egg whites in half when done
  11. Top avocado toast with cooked egg
  12. Top with shredded parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and fresh cilantro if you so desire!

 

Try it and share!

xx,

M

PS, is anyone else as excited as I am about the fact there is now an avocado emoji?! 🥑

 

 

 

I currently work as a tech in the emergency department. My role in the ED entails lots of stocking, transporting, assisting, and transferring, with unpredictable acuity, census, and whatever else the emergency department brings. I’m happy to share some things I’ve learned over time that have helped me in my role along the way!

 

one: ALWAYS BRING SNACKS.

I am usually hungry so I can’t stress this enough. Keep a protein bar in a scrub pocket and eat it when you can step away for 5 minutes! I always keep a snack, a few sticks  of gum, and chapstick in my scrub pockets. Drink lots of water, too! (this proves to fight fatigue)

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RX Bars fit perfectly in scrub pockets 😉

two: THINK COMFORT

Wear something you won’t want to take off as soon as you get home. Good scrubs help – my favorite are Figs (of course). Wear a jacket that you can take off if you get too warm. Wear a long sleeve if you’re always cold. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE COMFORTABLE SHOES.

Find my favorite scrubs here!

https://www.wearfigs.com

three: SMILE.

When you’re stressed out, it’s easy to take out your frustration on other people; especially those that are requesting your full attention. Instead, smile. Science proves that if you physically force yourself to be happy, you will start to feel happy emotionally. Cheeeeeeese 🙂

four: PRACTICE GRATITUDE.

Thank your coworkers for what they’ve done to help you. Thank your patients for being… patient, and thank their families for their time. Ask what you can do to help anyone around you. It makes your time go faster, and their time more positive while they’re there.  Remember, you are working to make some of their worst days better. Be grateful for that opportunity in itself.

five: REMIND YOURSELF WHY.

Chances are, if you have a job like mine or in the healthcare field in any aspect, you have a love for mankind and you have a passion for helping people on some of their worst days. It’s humbling in itself to know that alone. Remind yourself of this. Your job is to better yourself through the service of others, learn as much as your can, and learn to love the process. If that’s not what you’re in it for, you might be better off finding something else that better suits you!

 

Remember, positivity is key in any scenario! Good luck in every endeavor your future shifts bring to you!

 

xx,

 

M

 

 

 

 

There always seems to be 20,000 things going on at once, am I right? Exams, workouts, meals to prepare, someone’s birthday, group projects, meetings, papers, calling your grandma, volunteering, working, planning, and sometimes sleeping.

I am guilty of anyone else who takes on many roles but, I able to do everything I do because of one simple phrase I tell myself:

“BE PRESENT.”

How is this achieved? Start by making a list of all the roles you currently hold:

Student, daughter/son, brother, sister, friend, teammate, grandson or granddaughter, boyfriend or girlfriend, employee, president, teacher, etc. Now take a look at your list and rank which of the roles you feel you are best at and which you could work on. Why are you better at some and struggle with others?

You are capable of being good at each of the roles you hold, no matter how many (reasonably), if you focus on the role you’re in at that very moment.

What do I mean by this?

The emphasis is not stressing about the future but rather focusing on the present.

  • When you are in the middle of studying, minimize distractions. Take a 10 minute break every hour, and don’t check your phone, emails, or anything else that may distract you. Keep your phone halfway across the room, and don’t pay attention to anything else around you.

 

  • When you’re at work and you are stressed out about an event you have tomorrow, don’t think about tomorrow; focus on your job. Learn from every experience you have. Tomorrow will come regardless, and you will be off work later, which is when you can prepare for the next day.

 

  • When your friend or family member is talking to you, put your phone away. Do you know how it feels when you’re trying to talk to someone, they act like they’re listening, you finish your story, and they ask you what you just said? It doesn’t feel good. Don’t be that person. Give your valued friends & family your attention. Sometimes all a person need is for you to be an active listener.

 

  • When you feel like breaking down from stress, focus on taking 15 minutes to clear your mind. Take a walk, call your best friend, jam out. Don’t think about your stressors in that time. Focus on clearing your head and preparing how to tackle the task ahead of you.

 

Each experience we are faced with holds learning opportunities, and if you are impatient, you might miss out on them. The future will come regardless; stressing about things that are to come is a waste of your energy you could be investing in what you’re doing in that moment.

Manifest your energy into the task at hand, and you will be successful in whatever you choose to do.

 

xx,

M

Dr. Paul Ruggieri is a general surgeon who practices both general surgery and laparoscopic surgery.

dr-ruggieri

Throughout his story, he discusses the unwritten of being a surgeon and what training entails.

My favorite aspect this book is how Dr. Ruggieri uses specific cases he’s encountered over his training and practice to help relay the emotional effect dealing with real patients and their families is in reality. It creates a tie to the cases, the doctor, and the reader.

 

The  chapters include:

The Making of a Surgeon” where he discusses the perils of surgical residency

Are Surgeons Human”, where he talks about how his experience working through personal biases and experiences which later make him a better doctor.

First, Try no Harm”, which he discusses inevitable errors in his work, and dealing with the consequences as both a human, and a surgeon

The White Coat Code of Silence”, he discusses healthcare as a whole breaking down costs, care, and inevitably doing what’s best for the patient.

“Surgeons Hate Surprises” covers the challenges surgeons face within their line of work and the critical thinking the career requires.

“This Won’t Hurt a Bit” unveils the testing and expenses for the case of defensive medicine; so doctors have their bases covered in ensuring a correct diagnosis and prevention of a law suit on their hands.

“Patients are the Best Teachers” explains simple life-lessons Dr. Ruggieri has learned through time such as humility, and the human spirit as a practicing surgeon.

“Thoughts on Death and Lawsuits” shares Dr. Ruggieri’s perspective of reality he’s faced with death after his first cadaver he learned from in medical school anatomy. He also discusses the truth and inevitability of malpractice suits faced as a surgeon.

“Will Your Surgeon be There” is the last chapter where Dr. Ruggieri is called into a gynecological surgery in the early hours of the morning. He and the ob/gyn discuss the future of medicine, work hours, and how many medical students are opting to not go into surgery due to the lack of work/life balance he has experienced firsthand.

Recommend?  –> yes!

Price? –> under $16.

Where to find? –> Amazon 🙂  ↓

https://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Surgeon-Complicated-Behind-Doors/dp/0425245152/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483419853&sr=8-1&keywords=confessions+of+a+surgeon

Other comments: A quick read with a great perspective for anyone who is in or is choosing to  purse medicine.

More information can be found on Dr. Ruggieri’s website http://www.paulruggieri.com !

Your thoughts? Comment below or shoot me an email! –> medicinemyosinmadeline@gmail.com

 

Happy reading!

 

xx,

M

 

 

‘scone on?! This recipe is egg free, refined sugar free, and can be personalized to whatever you’re in the mood for. Make ahead and eat for a snack, breakfast, or bring to your friends!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 & 1/2 c. flour of choice
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp COLD butter, cubed
  • 1/2 c. vanilla greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp milk of choice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • some lemon zest
  • mix-in of choice (about 1/2 c.) 🙂

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. mix together dry ingredients until combined.
  2. add the cold, cubed butter and cut in with a pastry cutter or the back of a fork. do this until you reach a crumbly texture.
  3. make a well (a hole in the middle of the mixing bowl) and add the yogurt, maple syrup, milk, and vanilla. add as much or as little lemon juice and/or zest as you’d like.
  4. mix until well combined.
  5. stir in your add-in (I used blueberries, but you can use whatever you want! strawberries, raspberries, or chocolate chips would be good as well).
  6. spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and transfer the dough onto the baking sheet.
  7. form dough into a round, circular disk shape and cut into triangles as you would a pizza.
  8. place into a pre-heated oven at 425 for 20-22 minutes. when the scones are done, the edges will be slightly golden in color.

 

 

any questions? –> medicinemyosinmadeline@gmail.com

Enjoy, and happy eating!

xx,

M

 

 

 

 

Did you know watermelon has the same phytochemical, lycopene, that tomatoes have? This is what gives watermelon & tomatoes their red color. But not only that, it is an antioxidant which may help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer! Woo!

While sitting in class today, I was craving watermelon and this is what I spontaneously made of it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 mini, seedless watermelon, sliced
  • 1 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pkg FRESH mozzarella cheese
  • a handful of basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp honey

Directions:

  • drizzle watermelon slices with olive oil on both sides
  • in a small saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar and honey and bring to a boil
  • reduce heat and simmer until vinegar is visibly reduced down
  • Place individual watermelon sliced on the grill for 2-3 minutes each side, or until the fruit has nice grill marks 🙂
  • Top watermelon with sliced mozzarella, chopped basil, and reduced balsamic.

Easy, quick, and fresh. Enjoy 🙂

xx,

M

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those grill marks. 👌🏻

As the summer comes to an end, produce is starting to flourish! I have an abundance of zucchini and summer squash and cannot wait to use it. Grow your own, or support your local farmers! There is something about knowing where your food comes from that makes enjoying it even better.

***

Today, I am sharing a recipe with you that will put the harvest to good use!

zoodler

The secret to making veggie noodles is investing in a vegetable spiralizer. I got mine from Amazon for about $30. It is easy to use and will change your life for the better. 🙂

The link is listed below!

I N G R E D I E N T S 

  • 3 spirialized zucchini (or summer squash)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • about 1 c. baby shrimp (pre-cooked)
  • salt and pepper, dried herb seasoning (Mrs. Dash)
  • fresh basil for garnish
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someone loves the cores from the spirializer.

Directions:

  • Heat olive oil on medium heat.
  • Once the oil is warm, place all the noodles into the pan.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and other seasonings of choice. Add red pepper flakes for a little heat (optional).
  • Toss with tongs for 3-5 minutes or until the noodles resemble al dente texture of wheat noodles.
  • Drain the excess liquid off the noodles
  • Toss the shrimp and basil in with the noodles!
  • Drizzle with a little more olive oil for serving, and garnish with remaining basil.

Notes

  • I used summer squash in the recipe, but but zucchini and summer squash are neutral vegetables that don’t have a lot of flavor. They can be interchanged as desired.
  • This dish allows a lot of variety! Add peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, or spinach to incorporate more vegetables into the meal!
  • To make it a complete meal, serve over a bed of brown rice of quinoa.
  • Any vegetable can be spiralized. I have used sweet potatoes, cabbage, and carrots as well.

Happy harvest!

xx,

M

Today, I traded my usual ceil blue scrubs for the OR scrubs and followed an OB/GYN. My experience today was beyond words amazing.

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hi, OR!

Throughout my time at the hospital I was fortunate enough to observe multiple outpatient surgeries, round with the doctor, and witness two deliveries (for the first time)! Words do not describe how blessed I feel to observe something so beautiful.

I have always known that I loved medicine. My shadowing experiences have just confirmed my love – especially today.

I used to read every medical book I could get my hands on since I was a little girl and was always fascinated by all the seemingly minute details of the human body that work together to create a system that is beyond any machine. Once I found out I could start job shadowing and seeing some of these amazing things in action, I didn’t look back.

***

Let me give you a little background!

High school is where my clinical experiences began. My high school offered a 2-credit course that exposed us students to the field of medicine by job shadowing during the course period about 6 times a month for 4 months. Now that I look back, there were certain classes I could’ve taken that would have prepared me better for college academically, but the knowledge I obtained throughout my medical careers course taught me so many things beyond textbook knowledge.

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my classmates and I in our blue shadowing coats!

Throughout my senior year of high school, I observed several specialties of choice including family medicine, OB/GYN, emergency medicine, internal medicine, pathology, dietetics, surgery, pre and post-op care, cardiology, and many others that are not forgotten!

As a high school student, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. This opened my eyes to my already-eager mind and deepened my passion for medicine. I cannot thank you enough for your superior leadership, compassion, and mentorship throughout this experience, Mrs. Adams. I would not be the student, tech, or person I am today without your devotion to helping me learn and grow.

Now entering my third year of college, I have continued to shadow in both family medicine and obstetrics/gynecology as I have found these two areas to click with me the best. I don’t think it’s possible to have a “bad” experience shadowing because if you don’t like something, you can eliminate it from your list.

With my experience shadowing in many areas the past four years, I have some tips to share with you that can help to enhance your experience if you choose to shadow!

5 Reasons to job shadow in the medical field:

1. You will learn if you like the medical field or not.

Yes, really. If you are intrigued by medicine-no matter which component- you should start job shadowing. There are many glorified TV shows and movies that recreate medical scenarios which make for good entertainment, however, they don’t give you the rawness of medicine first-hand.

You will know right away if you enjoyed what you saw in your shadowing experience. Were you interested in the things you got to see? Did you have questions for you mentor throughout your time shadowing? Could you see yourself doing this job and being happy?

If you decide that the field isn’t for you, you could have potentially saved yourself money, time, and stress that is commonly associated with going into the medical field. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you are going into the field of medicine, all these things are totally worth it. But if not, you will be happy you spared yourself! It can be a process of elimination of sorts.

The reason many programs either recommend (or sometimes require!) logged shadowing hours is to ensure that you are going into a field that you want to commit to. It’s true, either you love medicine, or you don’t want to have anything to do with it. If you are interested in medicine, then shadowing will just reaffirm your decision.

2. If you like the medical field, you will learn what you like about the medical field.

Do you like the idea of an operating room? Or does the idea of a clinic setting sound more like your interest? Try them both (and then some!) No matter which profession you shadow in the OR, you will see all the other components- the surgeon, scrub nurse, anesthesiologist, anesthetist, surgical tech, etc. Maybe surgery itself didn’t spark your interest, but the post-op area did. Give that a go! 🙂

3. If you are dead set on a specific field of medicine, you STILL might change your mind after job shadowing.

Before I started college, I loved the idea of forensic medicine and performing autopsies.  I did a lot of research in this area and decided I wanted to pursue forensic medicine. However, after I shadowed in family medicine, I observed the physician-patient relationships and saw how vital this is to the healing process; something I am very drawn to. Though still fascinated by forensic medicine, my experience job shadowing has provoked me to switch gears and consider more hospital/clinic based specialties.

4. You will gain experience and knowledge that you can’t learn from your textbook.

Textbooks are great. The internet is great. Going to class is great. (Fellow nerds unite!)  However, things that you see through experience cannot be taught any other way. While shadowing, you may see diseases, cases, and images you have learned and read about. But the beauty of clinical experience allows you to gap the bridge from your textbook to the real word and make a concept “click.” It’s one of the best feelings ever!

Besides seeing things visually, you are immersed directly in the field. As a student, you are a bystander. You don’t have to do anything but be eyes and ears. You get to observe interactions between your mentor and their patients. You get to see what each component of the field does in the process of treating patients.

For example, you can see the extent of the work a PA or NP can do in the care process, when a respiratory therapist is consulted, what a nurse does at bedside, what PTs and OTs do for the recovery process; the list does not end.

5. Lastly, it will help you make your goals more specific.

You found an area you are set on through job shadowing?  Good for you! THAT’S THE GOAL. Now pursue it. Find out what you have to do to achieve your goals and go for it! 🙂

Job Shadowing Tips

  • Find a facility that is known to be a “teaching facility.”
    • Some hospitals are better about having students than others. The ones that aren’t necessarily teaching hospitals are by no means “bad” hospitals and I am not criticizing them. From experience, I know there are hospitals that are better about accepting students than others. Do your research and call the facility and ask what areas students are permitted to observe. If you find this inconclusive, try a different facility!

*Teaching facilities are strongly associated with having a health-science based university in the same area!*

  • “Dress for the part you want, not the part you have.”
    • Most healthcare facilities have similar dress codes for not only students, but health system-wide. Some of the more general rules to follow are:
      • Long hair tied back
      • Wear close-toed shoes
      • No strong perfumes or colognes (due to patient allergies and sensitivities)
    • Alongside these rules, ask the facility what the dress code is for shadowing. Many healthcare settings will permit you to wear scrubs while you shadow, but check beforehand.
    • If you’re in a clinic setting, consider something business casual. Scrubs are likely more acceptable in a hospital setting.
  • Eat before you arrive.
    • Not only does this help you be more alert and attentive instead of groggy, but it will decrease your risk of feeling faint. When you eat breakfast, you are quite literally breaking the fast between the last time you ate the night before. Our blood glucose levels drop while we sleep and need to be replenished to get us feeling ready to take on the day (regardless).
  • Come prepared.
    • What area are you shadowing in? Catch up on the field. Find a job description of the profession so you have an idea of some of the things you might see. Is there a specific procedure that is routine for your mentor’s profession? What is a typical day in the life? Could you potentially see shocking or traumatic things? Reading up gives you an idea what to expect beforehand.
  • Ask questions.
    • Your mentor will likely ask you if you have any, but ask them as you go! No question is a dumb question.The best mentors show their passion for their career and are happy to teach you why they enjoy their field so much.
  • Get involved.
    • It could happen that those who are allowing you to  shadow are so used to doing their job without a student they may forget to include you. Easy solution! Be proactive and ask if you can step in and see what’s going on. If you can’t see something and want to, ask! In my past experiences, I have been allowed to use the fetal heart monitor to listen to heart tones, feel the fundal height of  postpartum patients, and look at x-rays.
  • Do not be scared or offended.
    • If you are feeling faint, ill, or something grosses you out, LET SOMEONE KNOW. Do not let it to get to the point of you fainting. Passing out would be lots more embarrassing than taking five minutes to step out of the room and gather your composure.  If you don’t feel comfortable enough to come back to the room after you’ve stepped out, IT’S OK. You are a student, not a trained professional who is expected to do this as your job (not until much later!). 🙂
    • Be prepared to know that not all patients will give permission to having a student in the room. Do not be offended. It is their choice. Patients are the reason you get to be shadowing; they are the business. Health can be very personal, so if someone requests not having a student in the room, accept it, move on,  and hope the next patient will allow you to shadow!

*Side note *

Some specialities will not allow high school students in their practice (for various reasons), but are more flexible about allowing college students. My advice is to wait your turn because your opportunity will be there before you know it. 🙂

Reflection

  • Keep a log of your hours and get a signature from your mentor.
    • As your program may require a specific amount of shadowing hours, do not let them go to waste! Write them down as soon as you’re done. It doesn’t hurt to get a signature from your mentor as well!
  • Make a list of the things you liked and disliked about your experience.
    • This is useful for your own personal decision-making that you might make down the road. Writing a brief reflection may help make your career choice easier! What were you favorite things about what you saw? Did you absolutely hate it? Write it down!
  • WRITE A THANK YOU.
    • This is probably the most important component of the entire experience. Your mentor has taken time out of their (often busy)  day to share their career with you. Write a sincere thank you card explaining what you enjoyed and how thankful you are for letting you shadow them. Taking the time to thank your mentor will mean a lot to them.

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So, here’s to you, the future of medicine. Get out there! There is an entire world of knowledge out there for Y O U to learn about  Get your feet wet. Spark some interests! You have nothing to lose!

Xxx,

M

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Maybe one day I’ll have my own OR!

~ Medicine is for those who cannot imagine doing anything else ~

Dr. Luanda Grazette, MD