Dr. Nguyen's clinic, I thought it would be cool to take a picture of it while in the car, since this is the sight that I had seen everyday I came for shadowing (and presumably the sight everyone in the clinic saw as they came to work eve
ryday). It was pretty rainy - but the picture turned out alright!
I greeted Dr. Nguyen, and soon after, we got started with our daily slew of patients. Of the patients I saw this day, one of them was a patient I saw from the first day I shadowed - he was a man with a swollen foot, as a result of a car accident. He came back for a checkup, and to show Dr. Nguyen a problem with his arm (turned out to be psoriasis, a type of dryskin disease). Dr. Nguyen had told me that he liked his job because of being able to get to know patients on a personal level, and seeing them periodically throughout the months - and for the first time, I got to see that in play. I already had known what this man had gone through, and thus when I was seeing him again, it was a different experience this time, as I had already known a little about him. Most of Dr. Nguyen's patients have been with him for a long time, so I imagined that it was pretty awesome, since technically, m
ost of his patients have become his friends.
Another remarkable thing I saw on my last day was a elderly married couple who were long term patients of Dr. Nguyen's, and had since moved away from the area. They had made a 4 hour drive just to see Dr. Nguyen for their checkups - that to me was amazing. However, I must say that this wasn't the first time I saw people drive long distances to see Dr. Nguyen - on the average, I'd see at least 2-3 people a day who had driven over an hour for their checkups. These people must truly like the service they are getting, and it makes me happy to see such a degree of trust between the doctor and patients, in a time where such a relationship is decidedly rare and being negatively scrutinized in nationwide politics.
Ultimately, the day flew by, and soon it was time to leave for the last time. Even though I technically didn't do anything except follow Dr. Nguyen around (that is, after all, the definition of shadowing), it never got boring. My trusty "Duke" notebook was becoming filled with my observations from each day - and as I look back and I read them, I can vividly remember many of those patients that I met. As the days went on, I found myself looking forward to the next week. But the final day had finally come - I couldn't actually believe it had come so quickly. The route to come here in the mornings was beginning to be familiar to me, and
something I had built into my schedule. Yes, I was
nowhere near being an employee of Addison Internal Medicine, but being there for just 4 full days, I had felt almost like I worked there. Allthe nurses and doctors that work alongside Dr. Nguyen are so friendly, and easy going. I think the image of medicine, and those involved within, has an image of being somewhat "stale" and "dull", but I saw just the opposite. The people who worked in Dr. Nguyen's office were incredibly intelligent and professional people, but they also were socially vibrant, and do many things outside of their job in medicine. I noticed how everyone maintains a relatively informal atmosphere with each other, but manage to get their share of work complete to still manage the clinic and patients in a professional and efficient manner. This is a place where I'd love to work, and be a part of.
I realized that the purpose of me shadowing Dr. Nguyen was being fulfilled - I came
to do this because I wanted to see whether medicine was right for me. So is it? Dr. Nguyen's clinic was the
first shadowing experience I had in primary care, and my shadowing experience in Bangladesh of a cardiologist was my first shadowing experience in the field of surgery (Click here to read about my experiences shadowing in the Ibrahim Cardiac Center) - both had exposed me to the different aspects of patient treatment and care. In both instances, my mind had always been captivated by what was going on in all times. However, I am so glad I got to shadow Dr. Nguyen's practice, as I realized that considering my personality, I would thrive in the social environment that is presented in primary care. The daily social interactions with staff and patients, and the overall friendly atmosphere was something I really liked. It is definitely to early to understand what specific field of medicine I'd like to go into - however, I did gain from these experiences that I would love to be a physician. I realize that with me saying this, I've got a long road ahead of me - but after seeing and experiencing what I did in the last few weeks, it's a goal I am more than willing to put the work and effort into making come true.
It's been a nice run - I'll always remember this experience as my first shadowing experience in the United States, and it definitely will be my most memorable one by far ;) This blog post concludes my series on my shadowing experience with Dr. Nguyen. If you haven't read them already, here are the links to my first day of shadowing (1st day ) and the second and third day, which I combined in another post (2nd and 3rd day).