As my ER rotation begins to come to an end I can’t help but think MAN this went by so fast. I have enjoyed my time in the ER. I found my time here to be probably the most educational and hands on. I learned how to placing IVs, suture lacerations, splint broken bones, draining abscesses, perform CPR etc. More importantly I learned to evaluate the patient while keeping in mind “what is the worst case scenario” and how do I prevent it from happening. I have had amazing moments and moments so horrible I would never want to relive. Ultimately, I will is miss this rotation and the people I have worked with. In the beginning I thought ER was not my cup of tea, now I am not so sure.
This blog entry is a little different than all my other entries. As my student experience begins to end I can’t help but think about life working as a PA. What specialty will I go into? Where will I practice? In what state? There are so many questions. I have a little less than 6 months to graduate and my answers to all the above questions are “I don’t know.” I thought by now that I would have had some life altering moment where everything became clear and my path would be chosen for me. It is a blessing and a curse that I have loved all of my rotations, I still have 3 to go. I know that this means I have chosen the right profession for myself. Being a PA will allow me to work in multiple different specialties if I so wish. The flexibility was one of the main reasons for choosing the PA profession. I like having this option, however, I never thought I would need to utilize it.
Let me explain further. So far there are pros and cons to every rotation. For example, I enjoy monitoring my patient’s progress over years and seeing them grow. In the ER mostly you ship a patient to other departments. This means you may never see them again and the ultimate outcome may be unknown to you. In primary care it is the opposite you are the “gate keeper”. You need to be aware of symptoms that warrant a trip to the ER. You are in charge of making sure your patients have their colonoscopy at 50 years old if they have no family history or risk factors. You need to make sure you patients take their medication and follow up for blood work to track their progress. Primary care requires a lot of balance and coordination with other specialties. On the plus side there is more time to build a rapport. These examples are just scratching the surface.
As one can see there is a lot to think about for my near future. In the meantime, I am setting up my elective rotation, I have decided on dermatology. I find the skin fascinating and challenging. Dermatology was the first topic in our clinical medicine class and the topic I enjoyed learning the most about. I am a very visual person, rashes you can see and feel. However, it is challenging because some of the dermatologic conditions look alike and subtle differences in a person’s history can change your diagnosis and treatment. Important questions like have you travelled recently? What came first the rash or the fever? or Are there any recent changes in medication? etc are key. At the same time dermatology is not all about rashes, it can be about acne or skin cancer or simple cosmetic issues that affect a person’s daily life. My elective is in June-July, I hope it ends up being a great fit. If I end up not enjoying it I know that it can only benefit me in the future.