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Juan Sanchez - Patient Experience Internship Banner UMC

I have the habit of putting others first and making sure they are well taken care of, no matter what situation that may be. Life is like a rollercoaster, it has its highs and lows, and sometimes we need a hand to get through those lows. I know I am still developing as a person and am still learning the intricacies of life. It is the compassion and empathy that I have towards others, especially towards children, that will help shape me into an exemplary physician. My professional goal in life is to become a pediatric oncologist and to provide children and their family with the needed support. I have been hard at work to develop the skills I will need as a physician, such as when working with customers during difficult situations and most recently, attending to patients at Banner University Medical Center through the Patient Experience Internship.

This past semester, I conducted my rounds in the orthopedics wing along with three other interns, and it was quite the experience. Basically, my role is to check up on the patients and make sure they are comfortable, report to the nurses and other staff members if they have any medical needs, and, most important of all, keep them company and talk to them. Many of the in-patients are not mobile or are not able to walk as much due to their surgery, and there are times when family is unable to visit due to their busy schedule, which results in the patient getting bored.

The first few days were a bit awkward and difficult. I did not know the patients before entering the room and had no background information due to regulations. My plan was to begin by introducing myself and informing them of my role on the wing. However, there were many occasions when I would either walk in on a sleeping patient or on a patient who did not want the extra company. Then some of the other interns and I decided to do a few rounds together to learn from each other and come up with a better way to approach the patients. Ultimately, we accepted the fact that there were going to be some patients who wanted to be left alone, and that we shouldn’t try to keep a conversation going knowing that the patient wasn’t interested.

After growing comfortable with speaking to new patients every week, the conversations began getting interesting and more personal. There were sad days when patients would talk about their experience with a disease or their life struggles. Other days were more uplifting as patients would tell stories of meeting the love of their life, their life adventures, etc. All in all, I enjoyed visiting the patients in the hospital, and it reinforced my desire to serve those in need as a physician.