reresearching (or, finally researching again)

My favorite part of an undergraduate education is doing research for papers. It is the thing I miss most in the summer, so I requested an off-campus VPN log-in so I can get my research fix whenever and wherever I want, as long as I have my laptop. That “Proud to Be a Nerd” moment aside, yesterday, my computer at NSI was set up with access to journal articles abound and I was able to dig for information about infant neural development, cortisol levels, stress in the NICU, infant perception of music, etc. etc. If only Rob Haley could see me now. He is Haverford’s Interlibrary Loan (ILL)  librarian who has definitely written a poem or two to cope with how often I request articles.

Yesterday at Children’s, Dr. Knight gave me the task of perusing through the data input program to familiarize myself with its format to speed up the process of entering data when the study actually gets underway. After this task, Abbie, Dr. Knight’s assistant, gave me a PowerPoint document that included a lot of info about the NICU to help me get a better grasp about how RCHSD’s NICU is set up.

Finally, I gave myself the assignment of looking through all of the various heart conditions that plague infants, neatly described on this website for parents and Wikipedia. I’ve been keeping notes while at the hospital of little snippets of doctorspeak to look up when I get to a computer again in hopes of picking up some of their language. I’m finally getting there with some of the acronyms, as observed in native speakers with sentences like, “This one is SGA* with PDA** and needs ECMO*** stat.” (This sentence does not refer to any baby in particular, and I’m not even sure if ECMO would be needed for a patient with PDA, but I’m learning the nouns and adjectives first, okay? I’m getting there.)

*SGA – small for gestational age

**PDA – patent ductus arteriosis, a heart problem that results from a failure of the ductus arteriosus (a blood vessel connecting the aorta and the pulmonary arteries in fetuses) to close, resulting in a mixing of oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood and strain on the lung arteries and the heart

***ECMO – extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, essentially a heart-lung machine