Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm half PA book smart

The heme exam I was studying for on new years was fine. I feel like some clin med exam topics are harder than others but in the end I always score about the same anyway. Not sure what that means.

Last week my advisor sent out an e-mail mentioning that we had already completed 31 weeks of school, and had 31 remaining until rotations. Which means that as of today, we are more than halfway done with didactic...and I have only blogged 4 times...I'll work on that. Anyway. Crazy. 30 weeks left. Felt like only yesterday when this photo was taken:

white coat swag

You mean that at this point I should be half book-smart to being a real PA?? Hah yeah right. Yesterday was our first Clinical Seminar small group meeting. This is where one student pretends to be the patient, another is chosen to be the PA, and as a group we chug through the differential, H&P, diagnostic studies, diagnosis, and treatment. The faculty seem to get really excited about students who go all out and dress the part of the patient (for example, old people, street walkers, using puppets...). I'm sure for them, they've done this so many times that it's like "meh...*yawn*." Don't worry teachers, I'll do something good when it's my turn!!

I was nervous because I didn't want to get called on to be the first PA. Thankfully I wasn't...but then I was called to be the scribe. This gives me anxiety because I write like a dude and I'm really embarrassed about it, but hey here is a photo and don't judge my handwriting!

Mrs. D did not seem pleased I was busting out my iPhone photography in the middle of seminar but I tried to explain to her that I'm the official class blogger and the authenticity of my posts would be severely jeopardized if there was a lack of photos!!!!!
Alec the PA (bottom left) was killing it up there. After narrowing down the differential, we figured out Mrs. D gave away that Jillian (bottom right) had mycoplasma pneumonia, an atypical pneumonia that tends to affect younger patients living in crowded areas and is characterized by having a slow-onset of generally mild symptoms, including cough with absence of sputum, headache, fever, sore throat, and fatigue. Unilateral lung consolidation in the lower lobe is usually found upon physical exam, and it is treated with macrolides (erythro, clarithro, or z-pack). Applicants, now you have one less condition to know when you get into PA school.

Tomorrow is our first standardized patient encounter of the term. This one is different from our previous encounters because we will do a directed history and physical rather than a comprehensive. This will also be the first time that we'll be on our own with the emphasis on attempting to hash out a diagnosis on the spot. After a whole term of seeing weekly SPs, I've realized the following things help get me through it:

1. Don't freak out.

2. Get yourself pumped! Don't be so worried about doing poorly that you start dreading it. Just remind yourself that this is a simulation of what you have always wanted to do and sometimes the SPs are fun and down to joke around and you're going to make mistakes and miss things and not nearly know everything but as long as you don't do anything malpractice-worthy it's cool.

3. Dress cute. Ok maybe that's just me but whatever.

4. Don't freak out. This really applies to PA school in general.

Waiting in the hallway just before our final SP encounter of fall term. Don't know why we were so excited about it because it wasn't like we weren't going to have SPs for the rest of the year...

I will let you know how the SPs go. Really though, I'm stoked. School is getting real. Also, for those of you lucky enough to be interviewing 1/18 next Friday afternoon, Camilla and I will be leading the tour. Can't wait to meet some of you! Interviewees always look like nervous uptight penguins walking around campus and it cracks me up (don't be ashamed, we've all been there). They put you in this waiting room with glass walls that faces the lobby and every time I walk by, I'm tempted to make funny faces against the glass and do the dougie or something, but then I think, "hmmm...better not."

1 comment:

  1. I am quite sure they will learn lots of new stuff here than anybody else!

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