Saint Louis softball rising junior Megan LoBianco is one of 12 students serving summer internships with Northwestern Medicine at Central DuPage Hospital in the Chicago suburb of Winfield, Illinois. Megan recently took time to share details about her experience.
What are the responsibilities and activities associated with the internship?
Over the course of eight weeks, I will have rotated around 22 different medical departments and received more than 250 hours of clinical shadowing. Some of these are the operating room, labor and delivery, behavioral health services, emergency department and pediatrics.
Every day I join a different professional who takes me through his or her day and gives me a chance to ask questions about what it’s like working in that specialty. As a student I am not allowed to be hands on with patients, but I am able to observe all doctor-patient interactions and socialize with them just as the doctor would. I also observe alongside another intern who I am assigned to for the week.
A typical day can last anywhere from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Every Friday we listen to guest speakers (typically surgeons) and review each of our rotations. Each intern has to present an assigned topic (a legend and a disease) two times throughout the program. I presented on William Harvey and ALS.
This is proving to be a great experience. I have developed great relationships with surgeons, nurses and administrative faculty who are a part of Northwestern Medicine.
How has this internship fit into your career path?
This internship has provided me with great insight into all the potential healthcare careers I can enter. Working with many doctors of various specialties, I have begun to recognize the do’s and don’ts of practicing medicine and learned the importance of proper, thorough patient care. As a student aspiring to attend medical school after SLU, this internship has given me an opportunity to see the reality behind a career in medicine and provided me with unbelievable real-life experiences that not many students have a chance to receive.
Have you had any learning experiences that were particularly significant or exciting?
Every day brings new, amazing experiences. I saw a baby born to new parents, watched an eight-hour surgery of a brain tumor being removed, and spent a shift watching patients go in and out of the ER.
Going into the internship, I knew I was interested in oncology. After rotating with a medical oncologist, I confirmed my excitement for the specialty. I spent a day at the cancer center and met many patients going through different stages of cancer; some were being diagnosed for the first time, others were receiving the grand news that they had been cured. The day I spent in the cancer center was one of the hardest, most eye-opening experiences I have ever had. After working with the compassionate doctor I was assigned to, I saw how important it is to establish genuine relationships with the patients. These patients entrust their lives to these individuals, and it is important to recognize their position and where they are coming from. Some encounters were challenging, but it was crucial to maintain composure and focus on supporting the patients as they had a long journey ahead of them.
I was also able to see the importance of teamwork in medicine. I sat in on a weekly Tumor Board meeting where doctors from all over the state discuss every new cancer case and debate the best plan of action. Much like a group of girls working hard toward a common goal on the softball field, doctors have to work well with one another to ensure their patients are receiving the best care. Teamwork is something that can translate across all specialties, and I am grateful for my experiences as a SLU student-athlete as they will help prepare me for my future career.