Thursday, June 29, 2006

Party Time


Our exam was changed from July 5th to July 3rd.

And we don't have class until 3pm on July 5th.

Party Time!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Top 5

What am I going to do after I graduate?

That's the question that has been swirling around my mind lately. Will I specialize? If so, what specialty? Will I move out of NY? If so, where will I go?

I did some research and according to the AAPA (American Academy of Physician Assistants) this is where the money is:

Tope 5 States for New Grads

Top 5 States for Experienced PAs

Top 5 Specialties:
CT/CV Surgery (cardiothoracic/cardiovascular)
Emergency Medicine
Surgical Subspecialties

I wouldn't mind moving to California...that would bring me closer to Hollywood. So, I can be an extra on ER or Grey's Anatomy during my downtime as a Cardiothoracic Surgical PA.

Um...I'm working on Plan B. (and C, D, E, & F)!!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I am not a big fan of the 4th of July. Celebrating the Independence of America is great...but I could do without the knuckleheads that feel the need to blow things up.

But, I was looking forward to this year's holiday. One of my friends from class is throwing a party on the 4th. She started planning this party months ago and everyone from class is invited. We've all been looking forward to this party since we haven't really had the chance for everyone to get together for a "proper" college party. pong, keg stands, turbo cups, and jello shots were all on the agenda.

Well, we got our schedule for July today. There is only ONE exam scheduled for the entire month of July.

Guess when that is???

July 5th at 9am!

We offered to take the exam two days earlier than scheduled, but the admin refused. We got the same old speech..."We told you at the interview that you'd have to make sacrifices, that you'd be missing parties, weddings, funerals, etc. "

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

Party or no party...I know I won't get much studying done on the 4th anyway! I'll be too distracted by the knuckleheads blowing up the neighborhood.

Geez, I can't wait until next year when I'll be treating these same knuckleheads in the ER.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Embryology is no longer part of the curriculum. I don't know when that changed, but many of our instructors would refer to embryology during second semester and we'd always respond with, "we didn't take embryology!"

After a few weeks, when a new instructor would refer to embryology, the class would laugh. It became somewhat of an inside joke for us.

About a month ago, the director of the program addressed our class and our concerns about our education. One of the students brought up the fact that every instructor was referring to embryology, yet it wasn't part of our curriculum.

Well, a few days later, the director sent us a memo letting us know that if more than half the class wanted to take embryology then he would set it up. Only a handful of people wanted to take the class but before we had the opportunity to vote...we were informed that there would be a mandatory embryology class. The catch is we wouldn't receive any credit for taking the class nor would it appear on our transcripts.

Needless to say, that didn't go over well with the class. It is a 4 hour class, which doesn't sound that bad in comparison to everything that we've been through. But, the class is broken up to 4 days of 1 hour classes. And before every class, we will take a quiz. Although we won't receive a grade OR credit for the class...we have to pass the quizzes.

So, we had our first embryology class last Friday and the instructor is a PhD. Semester 2 was all MDs and PAs....we didn't have any PhD faculty. And there is a huge...HUGE...difference. Basically, the MDs and PAs teach us what we need to know and the PhDs teach us everything we never wanted to know!

This class is out there. This class is totally irrelevant to everything that we've been learning. It feels like we're going in reverse instead of forward. It feels like we're being punished for speaking up. Yup....that's what it is....punishment.

We had our first quiz today. 10 matching questions in 5 minutes. I thought the prof was kidding...but, she wasn't. Matching questions usually aren't that tough...but these sure were! Although there were 10 questions...she gave 15 choices...and you could re-use answers. It was a nightmare...all the while she was counting down the minutes.

There were a lot of unhappy students after the quiz. And the student who initially brought the missing embryology class to the director's attention really should consider getting a bodyguard.

It's not solely her fault...but, sometimes you really, really, REALLY, have to be careful with what you wish for...

...I certainly wouldn't wish this class on anyone!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Senior Talk

We had the much anticipated "Senior Talk" today. Some of the PA preceptors that we will be doing rotations with visited and gave us an overview of what the next year will be like. We were congratulated for making it to this point in the program and encouraged to continue being successful. At that point, we all smiled and patted ourselves on the back. But...that didn't last very long!

The meeting lasted about an hour and we were hit with a lot of overwhelming information. We received a list of all of the doctors and PAs that will be our preceptors. A lot of the offices/hospitals are located in Brooklyn and NYC. We were also given a procedure log that we need to carry on every rotation. There is a list of 17 required procedures and 7 optional procedures.

Here is the list of procedures (all must be completed 3 times).


IV Insertion
Blood Culture
Arterial Blood Gas
PPD/SC Injection
Nasogastric Tube Insertion
PAP Smear
Foley Catheter Insertion
Pelvic Exam
Rectal Exam
Dressing Change
Throat Culture

Optional x 3:

Chest Tube Intubation
Endotracheal Intubation
Central Line Placement
Wound Debridement
Newborn Delivery
Removal of Foreign Body From Eye
Fecal Disimpaction

Of course the goal is to do every single procedure as many times as possible. As well as do any type of procedure that an MD/PA asks of you.

Every rotation lasts 5 weeks. Here are the required rotations:

Internal Medicine
Emergency Medicine
Family Practice

We have to repeat one of the required rotations as well as choose one elective rotation (ie. psychiatry, dermatology, orthopedics, neurosurgery...basically any specialty/subspecialty of our choice).

At the end of the 5 weeks, there is an exam. You must pass the exam to move on to the next rotation. We will also be assigned a medical topic and have to present a powerpoint presentation to our classmates and faculty at some point during the year. There is also a required community service project of our choice that we have to complete (30 hours). And faculty will be visiting us at the hospitals/medical offices where we will present interesting patient cases including history and physical, labs, diagnoses, treatment (etc) to them.

When the meeting ended, there were a lot of blank stares and strained faces.

The guy sitting next to me whispered, "I'm scared!"

I let out a nervous giggle and winked...

"Me too...but don't tell anyone!"

Sunday, June 18, 2006

On With The Show!

School has been pretty slow and laid back lately. So, I've been taking advantage of the hot weather that's currently blanketing Long Island with my usual favorite outdoor activities...mostly rollerblading and basking in the sun. Although, thanks to my dermatology class...I've become paranoid about every freckle on my body. If I don't become a hypochondriac by the end of this program it will be a miracle!

This past weekend I travelled up to Ontario, Canada to attend a wedding. This wedding was unlike any wedding that I have ever attended. In fact, this wedding is considered illegal in the United States. But, 130 people from around the U.S. travelled to Canada to witness the marriage of two of my girlfriends from college. Same-sex marriages are legal in Ontario and many people travel there to get married, but according to the locals, a same-sex wedding of this size has never been seen. Local news reporters were even there to capture the event!

The ceremony took place in a hotel overlooking Niagara Falls. The site was breathtaking. Both of the bride's fathers gave heartfelt speeches at the reception, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house afterwards. So, in that was like any other wedding I've attended...

Love is love is love is love. Love is Love.

Overall, it was a great weekend spent catching up with old friends, partying like rockstars, and forgetting that I'm a PA student (thanks to the cute bartender at the Martini Bar!). I came back to school feeling refreshed, refocused, and excited to get on with the show.

11 weeks until rotations!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Still Here...

Well, I just realized that it's been a while since I've last written. We're finishing up week #2 of the final semester of didactic year and it's been pretty much uneventful! At this point, not much phases me. Classes have been cancelled and added at the last minute and our schedule for June has been revised five times already (that's a record!). So, it's hard to plan anything outside of school.

There are a few weekends where we have class on Sundays. That is irritating when there is plenty of time to fit it in during the week, but for whatever reason...we have to be there...on Sundays in the Summer. (bummer)

The best decision I made in choosing a school is choosing one close to home. I live about 15 minutes away from campus and my gym is located in between. Some students travel as much as 2 hours (each way) and I would have gone insane by now. Sometimes we'll have up to 6 hour breaks and I can't sit in the library and study all day.

I've been doing a lot of rollerblading lately and I validate that by listening to lectures as I work up a sweat. Or I go to the gym and read my notes while doing cardio. Or in my car at the beach or boat dock. This week it was warm enough to sunbathe and study at the same time! Always a multi-tasker, I will basically find any excuse to avoid sitting at my desk lately.

Another reason why I can't stand studying at my desk is because I've recently lost my email buddies. I had a few friends that I would consistently correspond with over the last several months. Some were email and others were through instant messenger. Some have gotten married, had babies, moved in with significant others, or simply faded. And these disappearing acts happened simultaneously within a few weeks time.

I didn't realize how dependent I had become on having friends to chat with while I was up all night studying. Most of them lived in different time zones so that always kept it interesting. I had friends in Italy and Japan that I would correspond with for hours on end. But within the last couple of months, things have changed. It's always an adjustment when your life steers in a different direction as your friends. That has probably been the most consistent development throughout my 20's.

Here today...gone is constantly changing.

Life changes...but I still have studying to do! That has not changed. I can't wait for rotations to begin. I'm really looking forward to getting started and gettng a move on with my life. Things feel stale lately...somewhat stagnant. I know I am moving forward, but it feels more like I'm treading water lately. That is why they say the third semester is the hardest, I'm tired of drinking from the fire hydrant. I'm ready to start using this information that has been crammed into my head.

I'm ready to hit the ground running...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Semester # 3!

Tomorrow is the first day of the 3rd and final semester of the didactic year! I start rotations exactly 3 MONTHS from tomorrow!!! I can't believe how fast time has gone by!

I thoroughly enjoyed our one week vacation. The last week of finals really kicked my butt. It wasn't fun, but I got through it. And from what I hear, we didn't lose anybody...which is awesome.

We have 8 more weeks of classroom work and then I am apparently ready to take on some patients?!? I have the same feelings about starting rotations as I did a year ago before starting the didactic year. Anxious and scared are a given, but I really feel excited to get out and start practicing. I'm looking forward to seeing what opportunities I find and the different paths that present themselves...and the people that I will meet.

We start off this semester with a bang. This week we have three 12 hour days and that seems to be the norm throughout the month.

I'm looking forward to seeing my classmates again. I'm looking forward to learning again. I feel rested. My batteries are recharged.

Bring It On!