By Alyssa DaVolio
Over the course of eight weeks, I have had the great pleasure of participating in the Michael E. DeBakey Summer Surgery Program at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, part of the Texas Medical Center in Houston, TX. When I arrived for my first day of the program, I was an ordinary pre-medical student eager to dive deeper into the world of medicine and surgery; however, by the end of the program, I could see myself as nothing less than a future surgeon.
The DeBakey Summer Surgery Program selected 15 pre-medical students from across the country and placed them at three different hospitals on the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world. I was placed with the director of the Elkins Pancreas Center, Dr. William Fisher, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital. My days usually started off at 6:00 a.m. with patient rounds. The surgical team and I would pre-round first to collect vitals and address any issues our patients had overnight followed by rounds with Dr. Fisher. Once we finished the rounds, I either headed to the operating room or the clinic.
During clinic days, I had the incredible opportunity to shadow every part of the surgical team, including the surgeon, intern, chief resident, and medical students. With this wide variety of shadowing opportunities, I had the great pleasure of learning the qualifications of each professional and how they interacted as a team and with patients.
My favorite opportunity of the program was being in the operating room. What makes this program so unique is I was actually able to scrub into a case in order to get a better view. In addition to “scrubbing in,” I got to work with patients during both pre-op and post-op. Watching Dr. Fisher operate was unbelievable. He was willing to teach while keeping close concentration on the task at hand.
All in all, the DeBakey Summer Surgery Program is a program I would highly recommend to any pre-medical student, especially those interested in a surgical career. Not only do you get to study at some of the top hospitals in the country, but you also get to participate in medicine on a deeper level. This program enabled me to expand my medical knowledge and expertise and take one step closer to my dream: a career in medicine.