At this point in my year, I have been through every clinical rotation except transfusion medicine. It has been a bit of a whirlwind jumping from lab to lab, though I feel like I know the Mayo Clinic campus much better now than I did in December.
I recently completed an elective rotation through the Hospital Clinical Laboratory (HCL). Everyone likes to say that it is the closest that Mayo has to a generalist laboratory, and given the variety of things I saw there, I would have to agree. The testing is focused on emergent results such as troponin and electrolytes that are crucial to patient treatment.
There is something unique about being able to watch specimens coming in over the course of the day and know that the numbers you are churning out are feeding right back to the patient’s treatment that same day, if not within hours.
One of the crucial stat tests HCL performs is blood gasses. These values help monitor patients in surgery or on respiratory assistive devices to ensure that they are getting enough oxygen. The rapid turnaround required for these tests meant that I got to see patients and the operating rooms (ORs) as we went to retrieve the samples on the days I spent in the Methodist or the OR lab.
I think this may have been one of my most enjoyable rotations so far, and I am looking forward to these last few weeks before graduation. All of our hard work is so close to paying off!