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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rural PA for Family Medicine

I hope all my readers had a nice Thanksgiving! It felt great coming home in the middle of my rotation to see family. I am currently in LaPorte, PA working at Sullivan County Medical Center. I must be one of the luckiest girls on the planet because this is the third rotation that I absolutely LOVE! For those who have never heard of LaPorte, it has a little over 300 people in the population. Some would say that this would make the rotation boring; on the contrary, I find it a perfect place to learn. While I am a second year PA student, I still find that I have a lot more learning to do, working in a more slow paced environment allows me to learn techniques correctly. The small town atmosphere is a definite adjustment, I am about 45 minutes away from everything: grocery store, shopping mall, and chain branch restaurants. What I love about this area is its simplicity. Many that live here do not earn a large amount of money, however, they are a very giving community. Many times I have been asked by patients to come to their homes for dinner or to celebrate a birthday. The staff has also been given many delicious desserts and presents from patients. LaPorte is located in the woods so many patients come in with stories of bear hunting and deer spotting. One patient even named and feeds a few black bears each year. She took a picture after she fed three bears sitting at a picnic table. Sounds like some fairytale story I know :). I have personally seen a total of 4 bears (mom and three cubs) and probably 12 deer in a total of 2 weeks.

Two weeks ago there was a health fair that we were involved in at the local high school. We gave the entire community free immunizations. I must have given 50+ shots that day, which was great practice for me. While my encounters with “patients” were short I was still told a little of their life story and always told thank you after giving them their shot.

In this rotation I have also had the pleasure of working with 4th year medical students from PCOM. Their rotations are 4 weeks long and mine are 6 weeks long so I have gotten to know two groups of medical students. It is great to finally work with students who have more experience. I really feel like we all worked as a team to help treat patients and educate each other. Since we all live together we all have “family dinners” each night and even make a fire to make some s’mores during the cold nights up here. There is a tradition for all the groups who stay and work in the medical center, you have to complete a puzzle, autograph it as a group, and hang it up in the house. The first group of medical students and I successfully completed our puzzle and hung it up in the hallway of the house. My name will be forever a part of this medical center for future students to see. I hope that future students will love it here as much as I did.