Fourth Year Medical Student Shares the Lessons He’s Learned During COVID-19

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For the last three and a half years, Southern New Hampshire Health has been on the forefront of teaching the next generation of health care providers. While the COVID-19 pandemic has added some new challenges, medical students in Nashua are making their rotations and getting hands-on experience.

These medical students join us from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNE COM).

As is usual, the students are completing eight, six-week clinical rotations, including Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Surgery, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Community Health. Patient safety has always been important, so these students have not been in direct contact with COVID-19 confirmed patients. They are, however, helping with contact tracing, testing, and community awareness.

Anuj Patel, a fourth-year medical student, wasn’t sure what to expect when returning to rotations during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It quickly became evident how the cohesiveness and selflessness of Southern New Hampshire and its staff were equipped to take on this unprecedented situation. COVID-19 allowed our community to exemplify and demonstrate the beauty of the health care system again and showed that we can achieve and overcome anything if we work together,” Patel says about this experience. “One of the physicians told our class, ‘your age of physicians will have had experience handling a situation that no other generation has had before – this may never happen again.’ I could not have put it in a better way. The battle with COVID-19 and our health care system’s overall adaptability has been one of the most unique situations our world has ever faced. Working alongside physicians, nurses, and our whole staff, we witness and learn about authentic leadership and selfless patient care. I will always look back at this time for inspiration and guidance as I continue my medical journey.”

Patel adds, “The biggest lesson that this pandemic has taught me is that, even though it might be stressful, challenging, and sometimes very difficult to work in the health care field, when times are at their worst, we will come together to do anything to help our patients. Further, this not only applies to our health care system, but for our whole community. We have come together, irrespective of our differences, to aid each other in this unique and daunting time.”

Patel was first exposed to the medical field when he needed care for a sports-related injury. His physician worked with him to look beyond the injury and truly understand what was important to him and serve as an advocate for him.

“I was intrigued by this, and it was then the seed of pursuing medicine was sown for me. I quickly realized how I was able to bring my skills and interests into this ‘job.’ I say ‘job’ because as cheesy as it sounds, I can genuinely believe health care workers exemplify the saying ‘if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,’” Patel explains.

This fall, Patel says he’s applying to pursue Anesthesiology as his specialty. 

“I want to convey the utmost gratitude on behalf of all the medical students to every person in the Southern New Hampshire Health system. Without your dedication, effort, and affection, we would not have had this incredible experience that we had these past two years. We thank you again,” Patel says about the program.