Works and Days



Santa Cruz Emergency Department: Michaela Adams, Winter Shadow 2016

I would like to begin by saying that I would recommend this winter shadow to anyone who is interested in medicine, even if that desire is not a burning passion. Not only was this shadow informative, but even more importantly, it was inspiring. Reed has often been sighted as basing much of its educational philosophy on the importance of theory rather than practice. At times this type of education has left me wanting to see more implementation of what I was learning. This shadow illustrated a physically hands on application of all the science that I had enjoyed so much at Reed. In other words this shadow gave me a very specific idea of a career I could work towards, which is something Reed often neglects to provide for its students.

The shadow experience itself involved a week shadowing emergency room Doctor Ruth Selvidge. The first shift I observed was the day after I arrived. It was a cacophony of sensory input that was exhilarating and the hours flew past. The only indication that it had been ten hours was my physical fatigue. I spent the rest of the evening parsing apart what I had seen during the day, and what I had thought and felt. One of my first, most vivid impressions was the people.

Every part of the job involves contact with people, however those that initially caught my attention were not the patients, but the other doctors, nurses and staff. They were some of the most patient, considerate, smart, funny and talented people I had ever seen working together in a workplace. I arrived expecting to be amazed by the patients and ailments and traumas, but instead found myself enjoying every snatch of conversation that the staff had time for. This highlights my other first impression, which was that there was hardly anytime down time. For a work environment that could rupture into a high stress situation with a single phone call, everyone treated one other with respect and kindness. It was one of the best teams I’ve seen. For me it was the first time I witnessed a job that I wished I could really be a part of.