Realizing the Importance of Opportunity

How shadowing a surgeon changed my perspective

The+University+of+Nebraska+Medical+Center+in+West+Omaha+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Realizing the Importance of Opportunity

The University of Nebraska Medical Center in West Omaha

The University of Nebraska Medical Center in West Omaha

Photo by Alaina Anderson

The University of Nebraska Medical Center in West Omaha

Photo by Alaina Anderson

Photo by Alaina Anderson

The University of Nebraska Medical Center in West Omaha

Alaina Anderson, Op/Ed Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






I’ve always known what I wanted my profession to be. While the other kids listed off policeman, teacher or doctor, I decided I wanted to be a cardiothoracic surgeon specializing in pediatrics.  

Until recently, that dream seemed distant and unattainable in the present moment. However, I was able to shadow Dr. Kim Duncan, the head cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in Omaha, this summer, and I can confidently attest to the fact that it changed my life.

The Saturday morning of my shadowing experience began with going on rounds in the pediatric intensive care unit, which was followed by visiting the patients individually to update their charts. Each patient we visited was under the age of 18 and in critical condition.

While some people may find the PICU a sad and helpless place, I fell in love. The idea of being able to help these children, even if it seems like a helpless case, is the most gratifying and amazing sensation that I have ever felt.  

When we weren’t visiting patients, I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Duncan, which was truly a privilege. He spoke about the importance of relationships outside of technology and the need for more considerate and accepting society, but he especially emphasized the importance of pursuing something that truly interests and fascinates you.

Through this shadowing experience, I have confirmed that my dream of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon is exactly what I want out of my life. However, I wouldn’t have been able to receive this confirmation if I hadn’t be given the opportunity in the first place.  

Before this experience, I didn’t value the opportunities that I was given and often chose to not seek out or pursue opportunities because I consistently convinced myself I was too busy.

However, after spending a day at my dream job, I realized the importance of pursuing any opportunity you are given, whether that be shadowing in your dream profession or simply listening to a lector about a topic of your interest. Without pursuing opportunities, you will be left in a place of unknown and never truly know what you could be missing. 

Alaina Anderson

Alaina joined The Flightline in January of 2017. She is a junior this year and is involved in softball, student council and HOSA. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and going on mission trips. You can email her at [email protected]