After two years of medical school, and two more as a patient, California State University, Stanislaus grad Melissa Potts is now going into one of the most valuable parts of her training to become a doctor – a year of clinical rotations at Emanuel Medical Center.
During clinical rotations, third-year medical students get real-life training with specialists in a variety of medical fields, studying each for a month or two before going on to the next specialty area.
“You can only learn so much from text books in medical school,” said Potts, a native of Modesto. “ It’s during clinical rotations that you see what kind of doctor you’ll become; and how you will interact with patients.”
In that area of medicine, Potts may have an advantage over most medical students. Since enrolling in medical school, Potts has had to take two years off for serious medical issues.
“I had ovarian cancer and then an unrelated liver transplant,” she said. “I started med school when I was 28 and now, at age 32, I am finally beginning my clinical rotations.”
Potts believes the experience will make her a better doctor.
“I think it makes me extremely empathetic toward patients,” she said. “When explaining to a patient that they have to be admitted to the hospital, or have to undergo a procedure, I know the feelings of fear and vulnerability they are experiencing. My experience provides me a unique perspective that I can apply to every patient.”
Potts is one of 21 third-year and eight fourth-year students from Touro University California’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in Vallejo and Midwestern University’s Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in Glendale completing their clinical rotations at Emanuel. Potts has already completed her psychiatry and cardiology rotations. She’ll also complete rotations in gastroenterology, internal medicine, surgery, family medicine, and pediatrics and obstetrics before choosing a specialty to study further in a residency program.
Emanuel became a teaching hospital in July 2010.