Before committing to medical school and the life of a doctor, Melanie Patterson ’17 says that first “you really need to get a hands-on experience of what the life of a physician is like,” since it “is not only important to get a feel for the actual role you will play, but to understand the lifestyle behind this career and what type of person it takes to become a physician.”
This summer, Patterson — a biochemistry major and health professions minor — is working as an intern at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Located in Westchester County, the hospital has the region’s only intensive care unit designed specifically for pediatric care, with a top-rated NICU staffed with physicians, nurses and health professionals who specialize in the treatment of premature and ill newborns.
There, in her third clinical experience since enrolling at HWS, Patterson will shadow a neonatologist on his rounds, sit in on medical school lectures, and engage almost daily with the hospital’s residents.
“I hope to gain a better idea about what I can expect in medical school and get a taste for the unique style of treatment given to this small population: premature babies,” she says. “I am also looking forward to the advice I will receive from many clinicians practicing now that were in my shoes at some point, and I am excited to get questions answered and make connections.”
Prior to the start of the internship, Patterson had been studying for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) in preparation of applying to medical schools this year. With guidance from the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Learning and Health Professions and Fellowships Adviser Scott MacPhail, Patterson explains that thanks to “the connections I have made on campus,” she has been able to “organize my time this summer so that I could study, apply, and get an internship experience out of it.”
On campus, Patterson plays on the Herons basketball team and interns at Winn Seeley Gymnasium; works game management for soccer and ice hockey; and is a member of The Core, a student leadership group. During the 2015-16 academic year, she was president of Student Athletic Advisory Committee.