Sarah Teeman and Dr. John Wedlake

Sarah Teeman, the 2019 Breedlove Extern, has a sincere interest in the brain and nervous system. It was no surprise when she singled out her day shadowing Dr. John Wedlake, neurologist, as a standout moment in her internship. She credits him and his staff with giving her a life-lesson in patient care and comfort.

Sarah Teeman spent the past school year participating in Meridian Technology’s Biomedical Science Program. This summer, she completed the six-week Breedlove Externship through the Stillwater Medical Foundation, giving her a focused look at several career options in healthcare. Her interest in medicine grew out of her family’s health history.

“My sister has a rare form of muscular dystrophy, so I grew up going along to appointments with a variety of specialists,” Teeman said. “Over the past year, I’ve learned about biology from a healthcare standpoint. The unit on the nervous system was my favorite.”

During her internship, Sarah had the opportunity to shadow and visit with several local physicians. Her interest in neurology was cemented through various activities, and her day with neurologist Dr. John Wedlake, was her favorite.

“Each doctor I’ve shadowed has a different approach to communicating with and diagnosing patients. In dermatology, Dr. (Robert) Breedlove emphasized a method of touch and description,” Teeman said. “Dr. Wedlake talked out his diagnosis. He always asked the patient how they were doing, and the first few minutes were spent in good conversation.”

Sarah explained that, by setting up a comfortable environment, he was able to talk through each symptom, apply a process of elimination and diagnose each patient quickly. 

“His approach wasn’t intimidating and made him and the staff more approachable,” Teeman smiled and you could hear the joy in her voice. “Between patients, we were able to talk about the diagnosis and what it meant. I saw brain scans, procedures, and a neurological test, all of which were fascinating. The chance to meet patients and learn how their lives were impacted was humbling and deeply personal.” 

Teeman went on to talk about how Dr. Wedlake and the staff knew each patient’s history well enough to detect discrepancies through conversation. She admires the environment they created.

“Some of these patients were dealing with tough times, but the care they were shown relieved their anxiety,” Teeman said. “I was continually impressed by what they did for patient comfort. I’ll never forget the lessons I’ve learned during the internship, and I know I’ll apply strong communication and calming interaction in my own practice one day.”