Meet Samuel, AMO’s Photo and Blog Contest Winner for August 2023!

From Sierra Leone, Samuel traveled to the U.S. for an immunology rotation in Colorado. Read his full story below!


An Immunology Rotation to Remember

My name is Samuel, a fifth year medical student at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Services Sierra Leone. Traveling from Sierra Leone to America was a transformative and eye-opening experience that highlighted the contrasts and similarities between two vastly different cultures. My journey began with a mix of excitement, anxiety, and curiosity as I embarked on a new adventure abroad.

The first leg of my trip was a flight from Freetown to Conakry and then to a major airport hub in Europe. From the moment I entered the plane, I sensed the diversity and cosmopolitan nature of the international travel community. People from all walks of life, speaking different languages, and wearing various traditional garments surrounded me.

Upon arrival in America, I immediately felt a sense of scale and modernity. The cities appeared vast and filled with skyscrapers that seemed to touch the clouds. The efficiency of the infrastructure, transportation networks, and the overall organization were strikingly different from what I was accustomed to in Sierra Leone.

Working as a medical student shadowing my preceptor at the Allergy and Immunology IMMUNO-e Health Center Centennial Colorado provided me with a valuable clinical experience that enhanced my understanding of these medical specialties and broadened my perspective on patient care.

From the first day at the clinic, I was welcomed into a multidisciplinary team that included allergists, immunologists, nurses, and medical assistants. This collaborative environment allowed me to observe and learn from professionals with diverse expertise, both in terms of medical knowledge and patient interaction skills.

One of the primary aspects of my work at the clinic was conducting patient assessments. I had the opportunity to review patients’ medical histories and perform physical examinations. This hands-on experience provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the clinical evaluation process and further sharpened my diagnostic skills.

The clinic also exposed me to the various treatment options available for allergy and immunology conditions. I observed the administration of immunotherapy, which involved desensitizing patients to their specific allergens through regular injections or sublingual tablets. Witnessing the positive outcomes of these interventions reaffirmed the potential impact of these treatments in improving the quality of life for patients.

Also, my time at the clinic emphasized the importance of ongoing research and innovative practices in the field of allergy and immunology. I have had the opportunity to observe clinical trials and research studies. These experiences instilled a sense of curiosity and a dedication to staying abreast of the latest developments in the field.

The nurses and medical assistants also with whom I built friendship with played a significant role in my experience at the clinic. They graciously shared their expertise, demonstrating various clinical procedures and answering my questions. Their warm and friendly approach made it easy for me to approach them with queries or concerns, creating a supportive learning environment.

Additionally, my interactions with patients and their families often has led to meaningful connections. Through regular visits and their willingness to share their experiences, we developed a rapport built on trust and mutual respect. These relationships allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by patients with allergies and immunological conditions and the impact these conditions have on their lives. Witnessing their resilience and gratitude was both humbling and inspiring. They have constantly been providing a support network of individuals who understood the unique challenges and joys of practicing medicine in this specialized field.

Being under the guidance of Dr. M. at the allergy and immunology clinic is an incredibly enriching and valuable experience for me as a medical student. It provides an opportunity to learn from a seasoned professional who has accumulated years of knowledge and expertise in the field.

First and foremost, working with Dr. M. instills a sense of confidence and reassurance. Their presence and guidance provide a solid foundation for learning, knowing that I am under the wing of someone who has navigated the intricacies of allergy and immunology care. His expertise allows him to demonstrate complex procedures or techniques with ease, making it easier for me to grasp and apply these skills in a clinical setting.

Dr. M.’s teaching style sets the tone for a productive learning environment. They encourage active participation, fostering an atmosphere where questions are welcomed and curiosity is nurtured. His ability to explain concepts clearly and patiently helps simplify complex medical information, promoting a better understanding of the subject matter. This supportive approach creates a safe space to learn, explore ideas, and critically analyze patient cases.

Furthermore working with Dr. M. has exposed me to a wide range of challenging clinical cases. Through observations, discussions, and hands-on involvement, you witness the application of textbook knowledge to real-life scenarios. My preceptor’s expertise in diagnosing and managing various allergies and immunological conditions provides a comprehensive understanding of the field, reinforcing my learning and expanding my clinical acumen.

Thank you to the entire AMO team for helping me actualize this dream!