Alexa Cornetta ’18: Summer Internship at Medical Associates of Greater Boston

I have the amazing opportunity this summer to intern at the Medical Associates of Greater Boston, shadowing Dr. Deborah Riester. Dr. Riester is a primary care doctor specializing in endocrinology, which means that she treats disorders of the endocrine system. The primary function of the endocrine organs is hormone secretion, meaning that many of the patients that Dr. Riester sees are diabetic or suffering from similar symptoms. Having no previous knowledge about diabetes, this will be a very interesting and informative internship for me.

A few months ago, Dr. Riester switched the location of her practice in order to help the patients of a nearby practice in Framingham because their primary care doctor, Dr. Alfono, unfortunately passed away. As a result of this new location and added patients, it has been exceptionally busy around the office, giving me the experience of having to jump right in and find my bearings quickly in order to be a help in this hectic time.

There is never a dull moment during the day and I have been lucky enough to be trusted with so many tasks so quickly. Within my first week, I was already trusted with calling patients in, taking their blood pressure, performing EKGs all by myself, and even discussing the results of CGMS data with the patients. Today I can refer to these tasks with full understanding and while using their acronyms, but days before I had no idea what any of these things were. I had to quickly study up to be informed about what I was doing so that I could understand results and help patients to be relaxed during visits. I had to learn about electrocardiograms (EKGs), which checks from problems with the electrical activity of the heart, continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGMS), which check the glucose level of the patient’s blood every five minutes for five straight days, as well as how to prick fingers and evaluate the glucose level of that blood and take blood pressures knowing what they mean for that individual.

I know that because of the circumstance of the move I have been given many responsibilities that people of my age would not normally be given, and I am very grateful for that opportunity. My experience has heightened my interest in medicine exponentially as I look toward my senior year, and I am excited to see what else the summer has in store for me at Dr. Riester’s office as I gain more and more responsibilities and advance my understanding of both medicine and what it takes to work in that field!