#MyCarletonSummer: Quinn Johnson

How did Carls spend their summers? We chat with Quinn Johnson '19, a junior chemistry major from Roseville, Minnesota.

Sep. 28, 2017

Quinn Johnson in Spain

What did you do this summer?

This summer I spent six weeks in Spain shadowing doctors. I was in Talavera de la Reina for three weeks and then in Santiago de Compostela for another three.

How did the opportunity present itself?

I saw a flyer in Olin advertising the program, so I looked into it more and it seemed really interesting and fun. The program is called the Atlantis Project and it’s supposed to be designed like a study abroad for pre-med students. I was in the hospital from about 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and then the weekends were ours to travel or take advantage of our surroundings.

Describe a day in the life?

I would take the bus to the hospital and get there around 7:50. Then I would go to whichever department I was shadowing—I'll use cardiothoracic surgery for my example—and check in with the doctor I would be with that day. Once checked in, I would go to the locker room and get changed into my scrubs and then I would head to the OR.

In cardio, I saw two double bypass surgeries and two valve replacement surgeries. The bypass surgeries typically took around five hours and the valve replacements about three and a half. After the surgery, I would go with the resident to do post-operative care and check in on patients from the day before.

Even though I wasn't actually doing any of the medicine, it was incredible to see the excited patients after the doctors had fixed their problem. At the same time, it was devastating to see the doctors’ and the patients’ faces when there was nothing we could do for them.

Why was this summer important?

This summer was important because one, it helped broaden my horizons and cultural experiences as a person. It gave me a meaningful perspective into what a career as a physician could be like. The clinical experience was exactly what I needed to verify that medicine is what I want to do. Along with that, being immersed in a brand new culture for six weeks was eye-opening for me. I learned a lot about how Spain operates, how Europe operates, and just gained a better understanding of the world overall.

To read more about Quinn’s experience check out his blog.