Natalie Rechan Earns Senior Spotlight

Senior Natalie Rechan interns at Clara Maass Medical Center for her four-week internship.


Montclair High School senior, Natalie Rechan, is shadowing Dr. Robert Brautigan at the Clara Maass Medical Center for the Career Internship Program.

Several seniors attending Montclair High School will use their four weeks in the Career Internship Program to gain authentic experience in the field they may possibly foresee themselves entering. For Natalie Rechan, a graduating senior who will be attending Georgetown University in the fall, the Career Internship Program has given her the chance to shadow Dr. Robert Brautigan. Dr. Brautigan is a general surgeon practicing at Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, New Jersey and is also the father of Rechan’s close friends, Molly, Hannah, and Amelia. The opportunity to shadow a surgeon at the age of 18 is rare and Natalie spoke with great excitement about the internship and was eager to share every aspect of her day. For anyone who wants to pursue a career in the field of medicine, specifically as a doctor, every ounce of experience matters.

[From left] Robert Brautigan, Natalie Rechan, Edwin Amirata, James Lee. Photo courtesy of Natalie Rechan.
[From left] Robert Brautigan, Natalie Rechan, Edwin Amirata, James Lee. Photo courtesy of Natalie Rechan.
“This internship has given me exposure which is so important because most people don’t have the privilege to intern at a hospital and be up close and personal into the daily life of a doctor.”

An average day for Rechan involves observing Dr. Brautigan “while he is visiting his patients, pre-op and post-op”, and what she believe is the most exciting aspect- watching “him and his partners perform surgeries in the ER”. She has learned a great deal about the technical aspects of medicine, as well as the social aspects of a hospital. Every day Rechan is furthering her knowledge about different types of surgery and how different medical tools are used in various circumstances. For instance, recently Rechan was able to observe a cyst removal and witness how appendicitis is treated. Rechan explained how she has tried to present herself in a mature manner, whether it be through the way she talks or dresses, in order to ensure adults take her seriously. The time she has spent in the hospital, and specifically watching how daily life revolves, has only furthered her interest in science, and heightened her motivation towards pursuing a career within a field of medicine.

“I’m not really sure if surgery is what I would want to pursue, but I am definitely interested in neurology and oncology, and I plan on just going through medical school and seeing where my interests lay there, after I explore more since I really haven’t seen much yet.” At Georgetown, Rechan plans on following a pre-med track, and is hoping to attend medical school after college.

As Rechan concluded her first week of the internship, she spoke fondly of both the ups and downs that come along with working in a hospital. She learned about different procedures and how certain medical tools are used while getting the chance to look at T-Scans and EKGs. She was able to fully immerse herself in the world of medicine; which included almost fainting her first day on the job!

“The biggest challenge for me is being able to watch surgery or any other smaller operation, because the way I thought my body would react, compared to how it actually did, was really different and unexpected. In my head I was thinking, “this is so cool, I’m watching a surgical operation” but then the next moment I felt really dizzy and had to sit down.” But even so, the doctors and nurses all told me that after something like that happens, you can’t let it scare you or stop you from going right back in because this stuff happens to people all the time and those individuals don’t shy away from becoming a doctor or going into a medical profession, they accept the fact it happened and go right back in.”

This internship has surely influenced Natalie and will play a vital role in the future of her medical career and the wonderful doctor she will one day become. As Natalie Rechan goes on to learn, study, and practice to one day become a doctor herself, she will cherish this invaluable experience and is extremely thankful for Dr. Brautigan and the Montclair High School Guidance Department for the opportunity to shadow Dr. Brautigan and be filled with knowledge that will further help her pursue a career within medicine.


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