Intern Perspective

The Health Careers Mentorship Program is a student-founded, student-led program that past and present interns and coordinators hope will continue to be a presence in the coming years. In order to find out whether this program is a worthwhile effort, HCMP asked some of the past and present interns what they have learned about medicine through the program as well as how their view of medicine has changed.


“As a new HCMP member I was definitely excited for the amazing physician shadowing experience that I was about to have, but I was not sure what to expect in the Department of State Health Services rotation. When I started my rotation, I was surprised how much coordination and involvement went into public health and how it contributed to the health of a community. Touring the impressive lab and talking to a variety of epidemiologists really demonstrated to me some of the integral components of public health. I especially got to see how community health involved much more than the work of individual physicians or hospitals. Even though I still have a strong interest in becoming a physician, the DSHS rotation has encouraged me to pursue a MD/MPH to give me a more well-rounded perspective in medicine, which I believe will allow me to better treat my patients and help my community in the future. ”
Shawn Kache, Spring 2010 Intern, Texas Department of State Health Services


“With a future in medicine being a life-long academic, vocational, and emotional commitment, I really wanted to find out if I was making the right decision in binding myself to this lifestyle. The key to any good decision is good information, and good information comes not just from the literature one reads, but the experiences one has and the people one talks to.  As an intern, I got just that. During JUST ONE of my adult rotations in general surgery at Brackenridge, I had the opportunity to talk to the surgeon, a medical student, various OR technicians, a physical therapist, and even a surgical equipment specialist.  From just this one rotation, I was able to grasp a very in-depth understanding of the field of general surgery and the lifestyle of a general surgeon along with the collaborative effort it takes from a variety of professionals to give the best and most advanced care available. This intern semester in HCMP has opened my mind to new understandings and fields of medicine that I have not previously been aware of; it has peaked my curiosity and calcified my motivation in pursuit of this life-saving profession.”
Renzhong Ran, Fall 2010 Intern, adult rotation at University Medical Brackenridge-Seton


“My intern semester coincided with my medical school interviews, something that turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened — one day I would be watching an OR team deftly remove a woman’s swollen thyroid glands from her neck and stitch her back up, and the next day, I’d be sitting in a room talking about this very experience to a medical school interviewer. The month I spent on the HCMP adult rotation was by far my favorite; I was able to see everything from the microscopic procedures performed by a retinal surgeon, to the gaping incisions required during open heart surgery. As if that wasn’t enough, all of our doctors are also ridiculously nice. Case in point: several even invited me to join them for lunch in the Physician’s Lounge on my shadowing days, which was another opportunity to gain more insight into the profession. No other experience I’ve had at UT has convinced me as well as HCMP has, that medicine is THE field I want to be in.”
Shirley Yang, Fall 2010 Intern, adult rotation at University Medical Brackenridge-Seton (now at UT Southwestern)


“While I found all the rotations that I experienced as an HCMP intern enlightening, I found that my pediatric rotation gave me the most tantalizing taste of the power that a doctor holds to give patients hope and normalcy. I don’t think I’ll ever forget one little girl who underwent surgery for a cleft lip and palate. Her parents worried about how she could face the world with such an obvious deformity and coupled with their fear for her safety was visible relief that medicine could redress Nature’s mistake. With great skill and delicacy, the surgeon stitched up the baby’s lip and in a matter of a few hours she looked little different than any other adorable child and would never know a time when she wasn’t just like everybody else. This and many other moving experiences strengthened my desire to become a doctor because I was exposed to both the rewards and challenges of the medical field. The doctors who volunteered to serve as preceptors were also, without exception, extremely personable and I learned so much just from observing how they managed a patient’s health and won his or her trust. Because, at the end of the day, being a medical professional is all about abiding by the trust of people who often find themselves in dire circumstances and call upon your knowledge and compassion to relieve their suffering. Thanks to HCMP, I believe that I have received a much more balanced perspective upon a doctor’s duties and lifestyle than could have been obtained otherwise.”
Ajitha Kommalapati, Fall 2010 Intern, pediatric rotation at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas


“My pediatric rotation has only strength my desire to work with kids in the future. In one week alone, I was able to observe an open heart surgery, a resective epilepsy surgery (a partial lobetomy), and then follow a pediatric orthopedist in his office. It was great observing different specialties and doctor-patient interactions. The rotation was an amazing experience, one that will shape my medical school applications and perspective as a doctor. Joining HCMP has definitely been one of the best decisions I have made while at UT!”
Kaitlin Whelan, Spring 2010 Intern, pediatric rotation at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas


“While my shadowing experiences as an Intern were invaluable in showing me sides of medicine that would be impossible to truly understand without actually experiencing it, there’s so much more to HCMP than just these clinical opportunities. As a small, close-knit organization where everyone has a role and responsibility, we are able to function as a cohesive and united group far better than most of the large organizations around campus. Our members come to know each other very well, and with so many of our coordinators and directors applying, interviewing, and gaining admission into medical school it becomes a great network for the many questions and uncertainties facing premeds. I know that I gained a lot from talking with those leaders ahead of me, and with so many of my medical school interviews centering around my experiences in HCMP, I know that this organization has clearly helped me in more ways than I could have imagined. Joining HCMP has truly been one of the best decisions that I have made as an undergraduate student.”
Michael Pallini, Spring 2011 Intern


“Coming into college as a pre-med biochemistry major, I knew I was deeply interested and fascinated by science, but had little idea of what it meant to be a doctor. Through HCMP, I was able to catch a glimpse of the scholarly, yet personable attitude of a doctor, as well as gain insight into the lifestyle of a doctor. Not only that, but I had the opportunity to shadow a wide variety of doctors serving adult and children populations. My favorite memory was standing at the head of a patient, looking directly down into an open chest, where a heart bypass was being performed. As I was standing there, looking down into the stopped heart and the chest held open by a metal device, the anesthesiologist was explaining each little step the different doctors in the room were performing and why it was necessary. All of a sudden, the aorta was cut open and blood sprayed onto my face and the scrubs I was wearing. Fortunately, I was given a mask to wear. But what undergraduate student gets to do cool things like that?!”
Leslie Chang, Fall 2012 Intern