Intern from Mead High School Shares Perspective on FROC

Over the summer of 2016, Garrett Borger, currently a high school senior and #56 on Mead High School’s football team, had the opportunity to shadow FROC Doc Curtis Leonard, MD. Below is his first-hand experience of that summer.

During my early teen years, I developed a very strong aspiration of becoming a medical doctor. As a result, I have taken steps over the years to prepare myself for a physician’s career by familiarizing myself with many of the beginner’s aspects of medical knowledge and care. I have kept myself academically challenged and doctor-career-focused in high school, have written an extensive research paper that explained the careers of physicians and the education and training they had to go through, and have also gotten myself fully certified in First Aid, CPR, and AED.

Front Range Orthopedic & Spine Intern Earlier this year after hearing of my career goal, a friend of my dad’s offered to get me connected with a doctor at Front Range Orthopedics & Spine and set me up for a shadowing experience. Knowing that I had been given a rare and special opportunity, I jumped at the offer, and just a couple weeks later, I found myself following around the “Famous” Dr. Curtis Leonard. And without a doubt, I quickly found that my time with Dr. Leonard over the summer was to be an experience to be remembered.

My shadowing experience with Dr. Leonard gave me exposure to the career of physicians that I could not have possibly have found in any other kind of method or atmosphere. For one, watching how Dr. Leonard interacted with the patients provided me with an excellent impression of the kind of people skills that are needed to successfully and appropriately deal with the wide variety of patient personalities and characteristics that a doctor comes across. From stubborn-minded to the sensitive and emotional, I found it very intriguing how he accordingly diagnosed and treated every patient in a respectful and honest manner, regardless of their mood. Also, I feel he clearly showed me the specifics behind the rigors of a physician’s schedule. By watching him throughout the day and listening to his accounts of what he did during non-office hours, I now have a deeper appreciation for the mindset and attitude that doctors must have … even when it comes to humor. It was entertaining to observe Dr. Leonard joking around with his staff and filling in the radiologist’s crossword puzzles with his glaring purple ink when she wasn’t around.

One of the most intriguing aspects of my time with Dr. Leonard was observing the “problem-solving and resolution” part of his job: diagnosis and treatment. Time after time again, I was fascinated that he was able to connect a certain kind of pain, a particular sensation, and a specific observation to a kind of injury that I had sometimes never heard of before. Although many of his techniques were relatively simple, I was surprised with how fast he was able to figure out an injury or condition that a person with a relative understanding of anatomy and physiology would not be able to accurately figure out. By watching him, I feel that I have become a little more knowledgeable to connecting certain signs to an injury of some kind.

Another part of my shadowing experience that I particularly enjoyed was following Dr. Leonard into the O.R. one day back in late June to observe the pinning of a broken finger bone. I have had a couple surgeries done on myself in the past, but it was awesome to be on the doctor’s side of the deal and be able to see the actual operation. It was greatly fascinating to view the entire process and Dr. Leonard’s teamwork with the other medical staff in the room. I was greatly impressed with his dexterity and how smoothly and efficiently the operation went.

Once my time with Dr. Leonard had concluded, I felt that my perspective on doctors had changed in a positive way that makes want me to pursue a physician’s career all the more. Even though I was able to see many of the challenging aspects that doctors have to handle every day, the responsibility that doctors carry and the very idea of healing people makes me wish that I am in working away right now in the Pre-Med program of some university. It was one thing to hear and read about what doctors have to do, but seeing Dr. Leonard visit and treat 20-30 people a day brought it all to life for me and confirmed my passion even more. I am eagerly looking forward to the day when I hopefully have the title “M.D.” next to my name and can finally do what I have seen Dr. Leonard do for myself.

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