By Maya Kostov
Through the midst of these tough and trying times, we need to give our sincerest thanks to all of the medical professionals and first responders working on the front lines to care for patients with COVID-19. These heroes put themselves through difficult work and also put themselves at risk of infection.
Sara Matsumoto, a Class of 2011 alumna of Tempe Preparatory Academy, graduated medical school last year at Saint Louis University after finishing undergrad at Washington University in St. Louis. Sara is currently in her first year of a general surgery residency at Westchester Medical Center in New York. General surgery residencies are 5 years long. New York is currently the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, so Sara’s days aren’t as normal as before.
During normal times, Sara gets to the hospital between 5:30 and 6 am. She is in charge of reviewing patients’ charts (vital signs, lab values, and intake/output, etc.). After that, she meets the other residents on the team and they visit their patients. Surgical cases typically start at 7:30 am, so around 7 she and the other residents meet with the attending physician. She sits down and reviews all surgical plans for patients. Afterward, if there is time, they do their rounds on the patients with the attending physician.
Some days she ends up working special cases and other times she does floor work with many patients. Her typical day varies based off of the service. There might be consults to see, and certain days she works in the clinic as well. At the end of the day, the team meets up again to run the list to make sure that all of the plans that they had have been completed.
If everything is done, she signs out to the night shift and informs them what happened that day. For example, anything they may need to follow up on, and anything she anticipates may happen to a patient overnight.
Sara works over 12-hour shifts!
When asked why she decided to go into medicine, Sara said, “I chose medicine because I felt that medicine is a good balance between doing science and working with people. I went into surgery because I love to work with my hands, love being in the operating room, and I like that you can actually fix a patient’s problems with surgery.”
Sara is doing very rewarding work and she loves it.
Article by Maya Kostov, a student editor and staff writer for De Equitibus, Tempe Preparatory Academy’s student newspaper.
About Tempe Prep: Tempe Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free public charter school in Tempe for students in grades 6-12 that provides a nationally acclaimed liberal arts education based on the Great Books of Western Civilization with an exceptional math, science, foreign language, humanities, and fine arts curriculum. Tempe Prep has been recognized by the Arizona Board of Regents as having the highest percentage of college graduates in the state and has been named the #1 high school in Arizona by Newsweek (America’s Top High Schools 2016). For more information about enrolling at Tempe Prep, visit the school’s website at tempeprep.org.