Camila Saunders 20′ Centro Hospitilar Lisboa Norte; Lisboa, Portugal

My name is Camila Saunders and I am a senior at Skidmore. This summer I was given an opportunity to participate in the Atlantis Program. In this program we were given the opportunity to choose a city in Europe and select a hospital where we wanted to shadow doctors and different departments within the hospital. I chose to go to Lisbon, Portugal where I shadowed in the largest public hospital called Centro Hospitilar Lisboa Norte (CHLN). At CHLN I was able to participate in AAMC compliant shadowing opportunities so this meant watching surgeries, participating in rounds with physicians and interacting with patients. My time at the hospital was spent in three departments mainly: neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, and dermatology. The first department, neurosurgery, was definitely my favorite. I may be a little biased because neuroscience is my major, but I had the best experiences with the best doctors and I learned the most in this department. The surgeons were warm, welcoming, and ready to explain any and everything at any point throughout the surgery. There were times they even pushed the residents out of the way so that we were able to get a better view of what they were explaining. There was always music in the OR and I never once felt like I was out of place or in the way. Cardiothoracics was also a very cool department. Cardio, however, is a little more fast paced and so the doctors were very stern and not as willing to communicate with the students as much as the neuro department. Another thing that made it hard was that the cardio surgeons didn’t speak much English, and although I speak Portuguese, I was hard for my partner to understand and feel as welcomed as we did in neurosurgery. Nevertheless, it was also very educational being that we saw everything that was going on even if we didn’t always get the explanation to go along with it. Finally we were in dermatology. Dermatology was mainly physician rounds. We would see patients in the emergency clinic and the physician would do a quick observation and make a diagnosis. I wouldn’t say that I learned much from this department because the doctors didn’t speak to us very much. Something I cannot blame them for though because there was not a lot to explain. It was a very slow paced department and a lot more casual the the other two. We saw a few dermatological surgeries but the were simply mole removals and maybe sometimes melanoma removals, but nothing gory and nothing over 15 minutes. Dermatology was so slow that I would sometimes go back to neurosurgery and shadow the anesthesiologists just so I can learn more about everyone’s role in the operating room. All and all, I can definitely say it was an incredibly educational experience. I got to see some really cool things, I got to meet a bunch of new people, and I was able to gain a whole new perspective on medicine!

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