This past August, Augusto, a medical student from Italy, completed a Neurosurgery rotation in New York through AMOpportunities. During his rotation, Augusto sought out a research experience which led him to write a paper and co-author a few others. While some of our rotation experiences do offer the opportunity for assisting with research, it may be difficult for visitors to properly manage their time. Augusto has been one exception, completing his research and writing a paper while still participating in his regularly scheduled clinical experience.
Although the Journal of Neurosurgery is still reviewing his research and paper, Augusto has already presented his findings at a Trauma Meeting in Milazzo, Italy hosted by the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies and the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies. Augusto has also been invited to share his research in Lund, Sweden this November. AMO had the chance to catch up with Augusto on his accomplishments so far. Continue reading below to find out how he enjoyed his rotation and what advice he has for those looking to follow in his footsteps.
AMO: First off, how did you enjoy your clinical experience? What were some of the highlights?
Augusto: It was an amazing experience. Everyone was so kind to me. I’ve felt very involved with the neurology department; I had the chance to scrub in for the surgeries, followed the conferences and held a short lecture on, “Nervous Lesions of the Arm”. Then I had the opportunity to complete research which I managed to write a paper on.
AMO: What attracted you to Neurosurgery over other medical specialties?
Augusto: I had an interest in the nervous system since the start high school. Its complexity fascinated me. When I began my university education, I realized that I wanted a job that was really hands-on over simply prescribing drugs and staying in the ward. That’s why I began to attend the Neurosurgery Department of my university. I really love it.
AMO: What excites you the most about this specialty?
Augusto: The adrenaline, its hands-on nature, and the possibility to deal with wide range of pathologies.
AMO: Visitors don’t often have the opportunity to complete both research and their rotation, how did this come about for you?
Augusto: It was all thanks to my physician. On my first day he told me that if I had time and wanted to, I could collaborate with him on research. The team liked my work so much, that the chief asked me if I would like to write my own article. I was obviously happy and accepted immediately. I managed to coordinate my time in the clinic and OR with the time I spent doing research. Sometimes I had to work on my paper outside of the hospital but, it was worth it.
AMO: Did you imagine that your clinical experience with AMO would lead you to become a published author?
Augusto: Not at all it! It far exceeded my expectations.
AMO: We hear your research was on Sinking Bullet Syndrome, can you tell us a little about this and why it was a topic of interest for you?
Augusto: It’s rare and hardly described in scientific literature. A retained bullet hardly ever migrates, but, when it does, it travels through pre-existent cavities (like ventricles or subarachnoid spaces) or the track created by the bullet itself. In Sinking Bullet Syndrome, the bullet travels through the uninjured brain. This is a case I had not been exposed to previously. I really like the field of traumatic neurosurgery, so this was especially appealing.
AMO: While you completed your research, what challenges did you face? How did your preceptor assist you in overcoming these?
Augusto: At the beginning, it was difficult to organize each section of the article. I needed to use “professional” English. My supervising physician was kind. He listened to my doubts and helped me to improve my medical English.
AMO: What advice can you offer to those who want to complete research during their clinical experiences but have concerns about the time and resources it may take?
Augusto: My advice is just to try. It doesn’t matter if you can’t complete the research, it will be an amazing experience just the same. If the team sees you are interested in the research, they might even ask you to collaborate after the rotation ends, as was the case for me.
AMO: Would you recommend a rotation with AMO to others? If so, why?
Augusto: I definitely would recommend this rotation. It offered me many opportunities and the chance to work with a great team who were friendly, kind, and knowledgeable. It didn’t feel like I was in a hospital, but instead, a small family. Sometimes we even went out to eat together. We developed a relationship that went beyond our clinical work. I will always be thankful for what they gave me.