From the Wards

Melanie Watt Melanie Watt (10 Posts)

Medical Student Editor; Social Media Manager

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport


I am a proud alumnus of Louisiana State University, and yes, I do bleed purple and gold. I’m in the Class of 2018 at LSU Health Shreveport School of Medicine. I’ve run one marathon and a few halves – the latter being my favorite distance of the two. I believe in daily ice cream intake. When I’m not studying or running, I’m exploring new workout classes and outdoor adventures, training my large and adorable dog, Gumbeaux, or knitting to keep my fidgety fingers busy.




Transitioning to the Clinical Years: Be A Duck

“Be a duck,” became my mantra throughout medical school, so much so that my mother had it printed onto a canvas and has it hanging on a wall at home in my honor. As a medical student you might think I would be more interested in having the prowess of a lioness, the elegance of an eagle, the speed of a cheetah or the energy of a dolphin. A duck, as most envision it, does not have much appeal; except, however, when swimming. The quote that led me to emulate the duck is Michael Caine’s, “Be a duck, remain calm on the surface and paddle like the dickens underneath.”

Finding a Home in Internal Medicine

Whenever I consider my time in medical school, I am surprised by how quickly I have been able to cultivate a sense of belonging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, far from home and in a very unfamiliar setting. After all, I grew up in a single-parent household with my dad in a small, weary mill town in central Massachusetts called Ware. He was a carpenter who always carried at least two jobs to make ends meet. I did not really thrive in medical school until my first rotation on the wards, where I was reintroduced to “my kind of people” — patients.

Empathy in Medicine

When I enter the examining room, Mr. Jones is visibly distressed. His chest heaves as he struggles to catch his breath. I glance at his charts and make note of his chief complaint: chest pain. After a brief introduction, I fire off a barrage of well-rehearsed questions: When did the chest pain first begin? Does it radiate outwards or stay localized in one spot? Is there anything that makes the pain better or worse?

Neighbors

I thought about you and your wife today — about how we were neighbors. A fleeting thought chipped away at some mental dam I had constructed, and the details of those months flooded my mind in vivid detail. It was like remembering every little element of a past night’s dream all at once after lunch. I remember meeting you for the first time. We were riding the elevators, and you were lost. You were hushed and panicked as you spoke into your phone: “I don’t know, I don’t know where she is, I just want her to be okay.” The phone was held up by your shoulder as you used your hands to balance on crutches.

Michael Hernandez (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine


Hi! I am a fourth year medical student at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. I am currently in the process of applying to psychiatry programs with the goal of going into child & adolescent psychiatry. To stay sane, I cook, write, and play with my 3 adorable cats.