A Day in the Life: Shadowing Palliative Care


This afternoon, I went to the Tower building to meet Dr. Cardinale Smith, an oncologist with palliative care training who focuses on lung cancers. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak to members of my class last semester about her experience in dealing with cancer patients, but I wanted to find out more about how she decided on her specialty. We had, what was for me, a very enlightening chat that piqued my interest in oncology. I am looking forward to exploring this more.


At 9 am this morning, I found myself at the Palliative Care Clinic in the Martha Stewart Center shadowing a few physicians and residents. This was my second visit to the center and just like the first time around, I was struck by how palliative care need not be restricted to patients who are terminally ill. The patients I saw  in the clinic were seeking ways to improve their quality of life, despite being burdened with a chronic disease. Another thing I took note of and was very pleased by, was the fact that unlike the other specialties where unfortunately doctors seemed to have a brief amount of time to spend with each patient, the palliative care physicians I observed spent a considerably longer period of time listening to the patient’s needs and concerns. For that reason amongst many others, palliative care is becoming more and more appealing to me.

Tonight was the night of the Vagina Monologues featuring several of my fellow classmates. I was utterly blown away by their performance. I was also extremely proud of my mates and proud to be a member of such a talented class. Go ISMMS!


This evening was a real treat because I got to perform a well-baby exam on a neonate born just three hours prior to the exam! I had signed up for Preseason Peds which afforded first-year students the chance to learn basic skills essential for Pediatrics that we wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to until our third year. We were each assigned a resident mentor and mine was a great teacher who was patient with me as I mimicked his maneuvers for the exam. I enjoyed spending time with the baby.

Since a friend of mine was visiting from Ghana this weekend, I went straight home to cook a Ghanaian dinner – fufu and chicken groundnut soup. I had not had this dish in awhile and had missed it. It felt good to have a piece of Ghana!

MountSinaiJan2013_169Efe “Chantal” Ghanney is an MD Candidate, Class of 2017

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