The End of a Beginning

So today was the last day of my first rotation. Reaching this small milestone also meant leaving my new friends, which was my least favorite part of today. I really couldn’t have asked for a better rotation to start the year. I had the best preceptor, the staff was great, and I got to see and do so much. In the beginning I was terrified of having emergency medicine as my first rotation, and now it’s hard to leave.

My preceptor was fantastic. From the very first day he was the most approachable guy, the most patient and encouraging teacher, and a great practitioner to his patients. When we reflected on all the procedures we did the past few weeks, he rattled off everything we did, almost more proud of my progress than I was. It really is such a blessing to a student when the preceptor is a teacher, a cheerleader, and an experienced clinician all in one. Not only did we have a great time seeing patients, but we also had a great time during the lull between patients.

In addition to my preceptor, the other PAs and doctors were all welcoming and kind to us students and even took time to teach, share cases, and answer questions when the opportunity arose. It was helpful to observe the way they practiced, and it definitely did not hurt to have extra instruction and professional opinions. I interacted less with the nurses, but they were all nice for the most part and taught us how to do venipunctures/IVs, so I’m indebted to them. There were also many other staff members who were key in helping us interact with patients and have the best experience possible. I have a feeling this might not be the case at many other sites, so I don’t take it for granted.

With regards to the specialty of emergency medicine, it has its pros and cons. Emergency medicine is a specialty that is fast-paced and deals with the present situation. I think it’s a good match for people who enjoy medicine and don’t seek out building lasting relationships with patients. There is quite a bit of hands-on work that goes on, which I find enjoyable. As for turnoffs or drawbacks, the emergency department is a smelly, dirty, noisy place. Sometimes the patients are difficult, possibly uncooperative or belligerent. Since we often do not know the patient’s medical history, it is sometimes challenging to treat without knowing the whole story. Most days are long and intense, but the thrill of not knowing what is coming next and being able to get down and dirty while practicing medicine is enough to keep many going.

All in all, I will miss the never-ending action and the many laughs with the staff that went on at this rotation site. Would I consider becoming an emergency medicine PA? Perhaps. It’s too early to say. But this rotation will hold a special place in my heart, and the following rotations will be hard to beat.

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