From the operating room to pediatrics, Northeastern co-op says work in Spanish medical clinic cemented his career goal

Medical dramas like “Grey’s Anatomy” set expectations for a generation of aspiring doctors that they’d spend most of their medical training and career in the operating room, saving lives in a dramatic way.

Northeastern biology major Marcello Twahirwa was lucky enough to get time in both the operating room and with patients during a co-op at a medical clinic in Seville, Spain, teaching him that being a good provider starts with developing a relationship with a patient.

“It was cool,” said Twahirwa, who will graduate in May 2025. “It definitely cemented that I want to do something in health care and specifically in an operating room, but it also shone a light on other specialties.”

Twahirwa rotated through three specialties during his time in Spain in the fall 2023 semester: radiology, surgery and pediatrics. He spent two weeks in radiology, but otherwise split his time between surgery and pediatrics.

On his surgery rotation days, Twahirwa would help with maxillofacial surgeries, holding the suction by the patient’s mouth or other tools while the surgeons did their work. He also scrubbed into a few orthopedic surgeries and got to help with minor tasks like cutting sutures.

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