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Khushboo Agarwal – Kasturba Medical College Manipal (India)

MEDI 413 – Nephrology

MEDI 407 – Digestive Diseases and Nutrition

My usual day would begin around 7:30 am with pre-rounding on my patients and chart review followed by presentation on rounds and submitting patient note on EPIC. I would typically see 1 or 2 new patients every day and follow up on my other inpatients. Even though the rotations were in internal medicine sub-specialties and the consults were about one aspect, my team would take time to discuss the broader medical picture. This way I learnt about a variety of medical conditions from a clinical aspect. The complexity of medical conditions each patient came with was a lot more than I was used to seeing as a medical student back home and to be honest it was both engaging and intimidating at the outset. My fellows and attendings were very friendly and with consistent feedback from them, I gradually learnt to break down complex situations and put the pieces together in a lucid way.

One of the other major learning aspects was communicating effectively with patients and their families. After observing my fellows in the first week, I had the nerve-racking opportunity to lead the discussion with a patient and their family about the patient’s chronic diarrhea and what we were going to do about it. To be able to pick up these aspects of patient care which are rather less taught in medical school was truly gratifying. Nephrology rotation had the unique aspect where I got to do the sediment analysis on all my patients and could co-relate the findings with the medical picture.

The elective experiences have made me very confident in terms of being able to gather the relevant data specific to a patient, present the same in a comprehensive manner and communicate effectively with my patients and their families. There’s so much we get to learn about each patient. To be able to narrow it down, as pertinent, correlate with the labs, imaging and eventually come up with a precise plan is an art which I have enjoyed learning by doing. The emphasis on evidence-based medicine which I witnessed on a daily basis, piqued my interest to research even trivial new concepts, new presentations or changes in a patient’s progress.

There is so much medicine and beyond that every patient has to offer. You just have to be there with an open mind to learn. I would advise to apply early so one can have paperwork in place as visa can take time. Chapel Hill is such a beautiful place to explore with such a variety of food options. Come here, enjoy your time and enjoy learning!