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Sunday, September 4, 2011

First Rotation

I started my first rotation on August 15th in Internal Medicine. So, far I love it! It is really nice not being in the classroom each day, but more than anything, it feels great making a difference in people’s lives. Each day I meet new and amazing patients. Each person has their own personality and way of interacting with their Doctor and myself.

If there is something that I learned from PCOM other than a huge knowledge base, it is a way of interacting with patients that seems almost second nature. All those standardized patients we were giving over 3 terms taught me well. One may think it is easy; you are just having a conversion with someone about their health, but, this is not true. You are giving patients the opportunity to trust you enough to be honest with you about their personal health and habits. This is personal information. It takes asking the right questions and using the right tone to get the appropriate answers to find out their diagnosis and treat them.

Another great aspect of this rotation is my preceptor, he is amazing. I aspire to be loved as much as he is loved by his patients. He has had patients for over 15 years because they believe and trust in him. I have also seen him tackle multiple obstacles with patients. Diagnosis seems only part of the difficulty in medicine, because once you find this diagnosis you have to explain it to the patient, go through the treatment and see if they are willing to change their habits and accept the treatment. Many cases patients don’t believe in taking medication. Especially for hypertension, high blood pressure, it is called the “silent killer” for a reason, most patients feel fine. We try to explain every day that hypertension is a very serious diagnosis that needs medical treatment and life style changes.

On the other side, there are patients who are relying on you to help them and will do anything you say to not be in pain. Sometimes you have to play the part of a friend and just listen or be a shoulder when they cry. The other day I met a woman who was in so much pain she could not stand or even sit without fidgeting to get into a comfortable position. Unfortunately, there was not much we could do for her pain that would be a cure all. However, she was appreciative of our time and through her tears she told me “your smile means a world of difference and it’s an act that many of us do that costs nothing, thank you.”


  1. I'm in the middle of my IM rotation as well, and I feel the same way about the clinical experience. The interns and residents don't have the opportunity to spend as much time as they'd like with patients, but as a third year medical student I can stretch out the history and physical to let the patients share as much as they'd like. I've found that just listening to patients can help in their healing. Best of luck to you on your rotations!

  2. Hi Jennifer,
    I am a sophomore in college and I really think I want to be a PA. This year is my first year taking college-level sciences and so far I am not doing to well in Chemistry. I was wondering how important our course pre-requisites were when applying to PA school? I know they put an emphasis on Bio, Chem, Organic Chemistry, etc, but will it make or break my chances of getting accepted if my grades are not high? I am really considering going to PCOM because of your blogs. Thank you so much for all of your advice. Reading your posts makes me want to be a PA more and more.

  3. Hi Stephanie,
    I am so glad to hear you are thinking about being a PA. I think that everyone has their strong and weak science classes, chemistry just happens to be your weaker one. Just keep with it and do the best that you can. As far as pre-reqs it depends on the school how strongly they look at each part of you application. I think pre-reqs are definitely important but so is the rest of your application. So, dont put all your eggs in one basket so to speak, strengthen everything. Increase your health care experience, community services, and try to pass chem with the best grade possible. My grades in the sciences were definitely not the best, but I tried really hard and passed them all. I knew for me that was the best I could do and I got into PA school. I did have to explain some of my grades in interviews but I was honest. I also had an upward trend to my science grades which helps because it shows you are improving and taking the necessary steps to do so. My goal, and it is pretty much what I tell everyone, was to get to the interview because I knew that I could sell that by being unique and personable. Ultimately, they are looking for a person to represent the school and become a good PA that is relatable to patients and knowledgable in the profession.

    I am glad you are considering PCOM, it's a great school. You will like it here. .Let me know if there is anything I can do to help in your application process. I am glad you like reading my blog, it's great meeting new people on this and inspiring others.