Hello everyone! I’m writing this as I sit in front of the toasty fire place on a rainy evening on my first night off in what seems like forever. Trauma surgery in the beautiful Asheville, NC has been an exciting challenge. Likely one of the greatest challenges I’ve faced all of clinical year. All the skills from my emergency medicine rotation that I completed exactly one year ago have come back into full swing. Luckily for patients, my hands are a little more confident and a little less shaky. Flashback to clinical year week one where I had to throw down a couple of stitches on a teenager’s chin, all the while her concerned parent and siblings hovered over my shoulder, analyzing my every move. My hands were so tremulous it was a surprise to us all that the needle didn’t end up in her eye, instead of her chin.
Looking back as I finish up this last month of PA school, I’ve realized just how quickly time has flown by and how we’ve all come full circle. If I could do it over, I think it would’ve been helpful to be aware of a few things that are to be expected, but often stressful at the time. First off, you might save yourself the unnecessary spike in cortisol by being okay with the fact that most of the time, things will not run smoothly. It may take you several attempts at a procedure before you are successful and you may even forget a simple (albeit crucial) step. On your first day, you might show up exactly when and where you were told only to find out your preceptor was spontaneously moved to an alternate location 30 minutes away and they forgot to notify you about the switch. On top of that, you probably won’t have somewhere to sit or place your belongings and you will seldom get time for a lunch or bathroom break.
Instead of stressing about much of the uncertainty that comes with being a student on rotations, spend your energy on asking more questions, setting daily goals, volunteering to present patients during rounds, following the residents on cases, and using Kaplan to study for EOR exams.
Best of luck to you all and as always, feel free to reach out at any time!