Co-op Month 1: Complete

I’m winding down on my first month of co-op, and it hardly seems possible that an entire month has gone by already.

I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned in a month.

I have a deeper understand of how intricate and complicated of a process it is to keep a hospital this size running. It boggles my mind to know how many different factors have to work properly to successfully take a patient through pre/intra/post op.

My experience so far has been a mixture of day-to-day user support along with longer, in depth projects related to maintenance of equipment, preparing for Epic, and helping create documentation to teach other people (maybe future interns!) to do what I do.

A big thing I’ve learned in regards to user-support and trouble shooting is that if you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras. That is – look for a simple and likely explanation. Usually that means a cable is unplugged or a PC needs to be restarted. I’ve also realized how important it is to stay calm, and work through the problem methodically. It is so hard to ask for help, so when I’m going on a call I don’t want to give off the impression that the person is a hassle or is bothering me (because they aren’t and they shouldn’t be), which leads me into my goals for this internship.

My supervisor sat down with me to talk about how the co-op is going, and he encouraged me to think of what I wanted to get out of it and what goals I wanted to set for myself. In addition to some technical-related goals, I set a personal goal that I don’t want to find myself feeling negative or irritated about user support.

Not many people have actual training with computers, so there’s really no reason for them to be able to fix these problems themselves. And quite frankly I don’t blame them for being timid about pressing buttons – for me it’s not a big deal to identify the little box that houses the PC on an anesthesia machine, but to someone who has no idea what they are looking for the entire thing just looks like one big machine with lots of button and wires. And honestly I do think it’s better for them to just call for help, rather than risk turning a simply fixed problem into a larger issue.

I’ll leave this with a photo I took of the Ether Dome. Located right here at MGH, it was the birth place of Anesthesia in 1846.


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