Drum roll please, the winner of AMO’s photo and blog contest for the month of September is…Akanksha! Akanksha, a medical school graduate from India, took part in an internal medicine rotation in Tampa, Florida. Her submission and accompanying photos are evidence that Akanksha really did make the most of her clinical experience in the U.S. We hope all our AMO visitors make connections, grow their knowledge, and have as much fun as she did.
My Time in Tampa
It’s been almost two weeks since I got back from my Internal Medicine rotation in Tampa, and I am still recovering from the trip. Maybe I am still jet-lagged due to the crazy time difference between Florida and India. Or maybe, mentally, I am still in my little Airbnb studio apartment, getting ready to go to the clinic.
To be honest, my start was a little shaky. I almost didn’t make it to the U.S. Two days before my flight, Hurricane Dorian was lingering on the southeast coast of the U.S., waiting to hit Tampa! After many phone calls with the airline, AMOpportunities, and the clinic, I was unsure if traveling would be possible. It wasn’t until a few hours before my flight that news broke of the hurricane changing its path.
Upon reaching Tampa, I was taken back by the warm, sunny weather. It was lovely. After reaching my Airbnb, it only took seconds for me to fall in love with the place. The owner, Tina, and her dog gave me a tour of the cozy studio apartment and pool.
My start date at the clinic was pushed back two days due to the hurricane. Humorously enough, there was hardly any rain the day it was scheduled to hit. I used these free days to explore the area and stock up on groceries. The following Thursday, I went to the clinic for the first time. I found out that there were two other international students doing the rotation with me, Yiming, from China, and Sandra, from Ecuador. The three of us went to Tampa General and Tampa Memorial to get our badges. Tampa General is on Davis Island, which is surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Tampa Bay and overlooking the Bayshore Boulevard. The view was breathtaking. After, we returned to the clinic and were introduced to Dr. L.
We quickly fell into a routine schedule. Mondays and Wednesdays were spent at the clinic, Tuesdays and Thursdays were in the hospital, and Friday was spent at the nursing home. Days at the clinic were packed with appointments. We would begin by reviewing the medical records of the patients we were to see. The time we spent examining the patients was our favorite. Dealing with new cases was exciting. I learned so much about how to conduct myself in the clinical setting, including how to interact with patients.
Dr. L. was a great teacher. She was warm and compassionate with her patients, always putting them first. She was also considerate of the other students and me. Dr. L. made sure we learned something new each day and that we were doing okay. She spoke to us as equals and often asked for our opinions and thoughts on patient cases. She was loved in the clinic and a favorite among the staff.
The days we spent at the hospital were the most exciting. We were like school kids on a field trip. On these days we visited four or five major hospitals. It involved a lot of walking and learning new things. We’d hop from hospital to hospital, examining each patient.
We also enjoyed visiting the nursing home on Fridays. It was a new experience for me since there aren’t many nursing homes in India. During those four weeks, patients came to know us and would happily greet us each time we visited.
Aside from Dr. L., there were other skilled doctors, nurse practitioners, and staff members at the clinic. I worked with another doctor, Dr. M., for a week. It was amazing. He had a different approach to things and was quick and efficient. He had 50 years of experience! He’d sit with me and give me EKGs to interpret. He taught me something new each day and occasionally gave me assignments. I learned more about EKGs during this time than I was able to during medical school.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the company of Yiming and Sandra. Before I knew it, our lunch breaks spent at the Memorial Hospital cafeteria became my favorite time of day. We would sit, laugh, and talk about anything and everything. We’d talk about our home countries, lives, and food! We ended up hanging out in the weekends. We went to the beach, explored the city, and danced. Together we formed a bond and I share some of my fondest memories of my time in Tampa with them.
Tampa had so much to offer. During my stay, I made a point to see all I could. I visited Busch Gardens, Bayshore Boulevard, Ballast Point Park, and the Riverwalk. I took a bicycle tour downtown and in Hyde Park. I also visited Clearwater beach, the Caladesi islands, and the Tampa Aquarium! Tampa is a beautiful city and I will forever cherish the time I spent there.
I remember when I first considered doing a clinical experience in the U.S. Despite my drive and will to do it, I was unsure where to start. I came across AMOpportunities by chance. I made an account and applied without hesitation. Surprisingly, it worked out, and everything was easy after I was accepted. It’s funny how a whole new experience was waiting for me, and it was just a click away.
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