6 Weeks At Hematology

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I had a very busy summer. I just rested for two weeks then the action started. After a 6-week of laboratory internship, I had the opportunity to be in Ankara University Hematology Department for 6 weeks. This experience was above my expectations in terms of productivity. I want to share with you how I found this internship, what I did and learned in these 6 weeks.

In the last days of my internship at a laboratory in Ankara University Faculty of Pharmacy, I thought about what I would do for the rest of my summer. I was between studying for my next year and doing another internship. I decided to do an internship with the recommendation of a friend. I wanted to do my new internship at a clinic so in this way I could spend a translational summer :). Since my family and I live in Ankara, I wanted to stay with my family. Then I started to search for suitable clinics for me. Ankara Medical Faculty Hematology Department seemed attractive to me because I wanted to spend my time in a dynamic clinic. I searched every faculty member on the department’s website and looked at their recent publications and backgrounds. I mostly checked associate professors more detailed and Assoc. Prof. Selami Koçak Toprak was the best choice for me. I am glad that I get in touch with him.

I introduced myself in my e-mail, wrote about what I have done before and why I wanted to do an internship in hematology finally I added my CV. After a positive response within one hour and a face-to-face meeting after that day, I started my internship the next week. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting it to be so busy. I was spending about five hours a day in the laboratory and eight-nine hours a day in the clinic.

At The Clinic

During the physical examination, daily visits and councils, almost every part of the day, I was with my professor. I have learned much information about hematology and I will write briefly, but I learned a humanitarian and scientific approach which was much more valuable and perhaps would form my future as a physician. That was my main goal, and I’m glad I achieved it.

Another thing that made me happy was that we conducted a new retrospective study based on a laboratory result. We submitted our study as named “Association of CD49D Expression at Diagnosis with Other Disease-Specific Parameters in Newly Diagnosed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients” to 45th National Hematology Congress and accepted as an e-poster. I was the second name in our work. There may be a publication of this study in the future. A new idea emerged from the results of our study, but I cannot participate in this study due to the end of my internship.

During small breaks, I thought of so many project ideas thanks to my earlier experiences in basic sciences. One of them was better than the others and we might do something about it in the future.

In this process, I witnessed how valuable works clinicians and basic scientists could perform in a joint project. I think our country is very lacking in this field. I believe that the processes extending from the laboratory to the clinic, which we call translational medicine, which is becoming more and more important, will be possible with a good clinician-basic scientist partnership environment. I hope the necessary steps will be taken soon. For me, my desire to become a scientist/physician has flared up again.

So, What Have I Learned?

– We shouldn’t be only treating the patient’s disease that interests us but we should refer patients to other clinics with a brief note. It shouldn’t be hard to write a note. I mean seriously.

-No matter what, talking to the patient calmly and listening without missing important details has an important role in diagnosis and treatment.

-We should be realistic without manipulating the patient because of his/her age and condition, and the decision of the patient should then be respected.

-I have been hearing the importance of physical examination in medical school for three years, but I do not witness it much in E.R and other clinics. During the physical examination of the patients who came during my internship, patients were saying we visited so many doctors but you are the one who is doing this for the first time. I can say that I learned a little about the physical examination but I learned a lot about its importance.

A Little Bit Of Information

I would like to briefly share some of the information I have learned:

– Men and women in menopause do not have iron deficiency anemia !!! If it is present, the underlying causes should be examined. Anemia can be seen in young women and treatment is available.

-Aspirine is not a painkiller. Each dose has a different effect and can cause serious problems. It should not be used except by the doctor’s advice.

– Not every cancer patient needs treatment. I saw that stage 0, 1 chronic lymphocytic lymphoma patients could be monitored without treatment.

-In patients with chronic myeloid leukemia, normal life is possible as long as they use their drug, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

-You shouldn’t be hungry before bone marrow biopsy.

-For polisistemiya vera, Jak2 mutation is important, but not in all patients. Bone marrow biopsy should be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

-CRAB for Multiple Myeloma: high Calcium levels, Renal failure, Anemia, Bone lesions.

Finally

On the last day, I had a nice dinner with my professors and I left behind 6 weeks where I learned a lot and I  think this internship left positive marks on my character. I wasn’t thinking about being a clinician a lot, but after this internship, I realized that being in the laboratory alone without the clinical side would not satisfy me enough. This experience, which made me look at the future more clearly, was important to me, and I think that every medical student should invest in themselves in this way.

I hope to have a nice experience and I would be very happy to announce it here again next summer.

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