The Master’s Thesis, Part 3

Now that I’m finally working on my thesis, I thought it would be a good time to write another update about the process.

Our last course ended early in February, and between then and mid-May we are basically on our own collecting and analyzing our data and writing up the thesis itself. We’ve had a fair amount of preparation over the first half of the course so we all more or less know what to expect, but it’s nonetheless a new and challenging process for most of us.

I am currently in the process of collecting data. Some of my classmates are working with data that was already collected, so they get to skip this step, but many of us wanted to do the field work that comes with data collection. So although I have my work cut out for me, I get to spend two months in El Salvador doing it, so no complaints.

My thesis trying to assess how the introduction of ultrasound in a pediatric emergency ward affects the management of patients. The objective is to understand how ultrasound integrates into this type of setting and what are the challenges of implementing the technology. At least that was the objective the last time I checked – I’m finding that you have to adapt, a lot, and frequently, with this kind of work.

I’m working at a great pediatric hospital in San Salvador. It doesn’t look like much, but I think the folks here provide excellent care for their patients, and it’s a really wonderful environment for a visiting researcher as well.

Hospital Nacional de Niños Benjamin Bloom. Or just "Bloom".
Hospital Nacional de Niños Benjamin Bloom. Or just “Bloom”.

The best part about working here is that I get to hang out with the emergency room staff all day, seeing patients when there is no one to enroll in my study. Bloom is the referral center for the region so anything and everything complicated comes to us, which means there’s a lot to see and learn for a medical student. I took a photo of the incoming transfers last Thursday morning:

IMG_1398I read about all of these conditions in med school but had never actually seen any of them before. I haven’t worked much with pediatric patients before, and that can get rough at times, but it’s a privilege nonetheless to be here and work with amazing people who take care of these kinds of patients every day.

I’m looking forward to learning and making progress on my own work. I’ll keep y’all updated.

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