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Monday, June 13, 2011

Casting and Splinting Lab

            After being in Las Vegas for 5 days, we got back into the swing of school rather quickly.  We woke up bright and early to attend a casting and splinting lab.  Anytime we get to get out of the classroom and do things hands on is refreshing.  We were taught how to do 3 different upper extremity splints, one lower splint, and one cast.  I have to say that I was most nervous about the casting, not because putting it on was difficult but the whole taking it off with a saw had me nervous.  Needless to say, my partner and I left that to the end, as did the majority of my class. 
            I think I did a pretty good job with splinting.  It was nice to have our teachers check over our work and give us tips and encouraging us on how well we were doing.  Doing a splint on the leg was the hardest part for me because the ankle was hard to wrap.  My finished product with that turned out not so great.  However, it did present the opportunity for a good laugh.
            Then it came time to cast and TAKE OFF THE CAST L.  Having witnessed my partner complete this task with no problems I felt more up to the challenge.  I must have really looked nervous though because immediately my teacher Sean pulled out a cast that had already been removed from on of my classmates arms.  He picked up the saw and quickly showed me how the saw went through the cast without going through the stockinet underneath.  For those that are unaware, a stockinet is put over the arm/leg first before putting on the casting material. Sean also showed me by putting the saw on the stockinet and demonstrating how it did not go through it.  Throughout this whole process he reassured me that I would not cut my partner and that I would do great.  That really put me at ease and I will probably never forget that he did that for me.  Sure enough, I cut off the cast without a problem.  Jen 1; Saw 0.  From what I hear all my classmates performed this flawlessly.  Another accomplishment for the books!


            Every year there is an AAPA convention for all PAs and PA students.  This year it was in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Fortunately, each year PCOM tries to allow time for their students to attend, and over half our class was able to attend.  We were required to see at least 2 presentations and present on one to a faculty member and some classmates.  I ended up going to 5 and I couldn’t help but take as many notes possible on each presentation that I saw.  Its incredible how much I have already learned and how much more there is to learn.  It was interesting to see what presentations people decided to attend.  Some wanted to see topics that were already taught to us to see if they would learn anything extra.  I took the opposite approach and wanted to learn new subjects.  The two presentations I loved the most were: maternity and trauma and a how to break the Google habit.  We are learning our OB-GYN unit this coming term so this was a nice preview to that class.  Breaking the Google habit was interesting because it gave us ideas on how to get our patients to NOT search on Google but instead use more useful sites like
            On Wednesday night there was a PCOM cocktail dinner at the Hilton, right next to the LV convention center.  Here we were able to meet alumni and talk to them about being out in the field.  It was also nice to relax with friends, alumni, and faculty.  During this event the director of our program made a speech in which he quoted some of his own calculated statistics about PCOM PA Students.  He calculated that every year PCOM PA graduates see over 1,000,000 patients a year.  He also calculated the top specialties chosen by PCOM PA alumni.  It is amazing to think that PCOM PAs help so many people in the US each year and in so many different fields.  
            While going to Las Vegas was filled with its own perks, I really treated this as a stepping-stone to the future.  Everything is beginning to come full circle.  Soon we will be out treating patients, graduating, and going to future conferences.  I cant help to feel so lucky that I was chosen to become a part of such a great class and school that allowed me the opportunity to truly practice something that I have grown to love.

Officially 1 year in PA school

             It is so amazing how time flies in life.  A year ago I was starting orientation at PCOM; this nervous student that had no idea where to go or what to expect.  Here I am today, in my final didactic term at PCOM, less nervous but fully aware of the possibilities that await.
            Nothing makes this process more real than welcoming the incoming class of PA students; the Class of 2013.  My classmates and I are officially no longer the newbies on campus!  It is strange to think that there are people that look up to us now and ask us for advice.  I remember when I was at orientation I admired the class above and could not wait until I was then someday.  Now that I am I can’t help but feel proud of my classmates and myself.  Also, I feel a strange sense of obligation to help the incoming class on their journey as much as possible.  So, I decided to help with some of the aspects of orientation.  A handful of my classmates and I each got a group of 6 students from the new class and did activities with them that they then presented to their other classmates and family members.  I really had a great group of individuals with diverse backgrounds and personalities.  I couldn’t help but sense their nervousness yet sense of belonging during this whole process.  I really enjoyed being a part of orientation and making the new students more comfortable.
            Later in the week we had a BIG/LITTLE DINNER.  Here individuals from our class were assigned a little from the new class.  This event was great during the year when we were littles.  It was a great opportunity to get personal feedback on the program and what to expect.  This year was no exception, and my classmates were flooded with questions during dinner and we confidently handled them all.  I really like my little; she and I bonded right away.  Many of my classmates had similar experiences with their littles. I am confident that they will make great PAs and I can’t wait to hear/see their progress throughout the year.
            I will never forget those individuals in the class of 2011 who helped me throughout this while process and followed up on my progress.  In just over a month, July 27th, they will be graduating, thus passing the torch on to us to be the leaders.  I hope that they are as proud of us as we are of them.