Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Short White Coat

I've had a couple of very nice e-mails, in response to the last post. People want to know when I'll be in town, or what I'm doing when, or generally the whole dealio with the clinical year thing. So here's the two scoops, my raisin brahs:

As of the end of May, after the wedding and once we've returned from Las Vegas, I start up the second year of my two-year program. Basically, now that I've sat in a classroom for a full year, learning a little about everything and a lot about a few things, I now get to run around all day and try to apply it all. This would be the clerkship year.

It's a series of six-week stints in various specialty areas. Because we students (we PA kids are interchangeable with the med students at this point) move from place to place as the year wears on, each of these is called a 'rotation.' As I mentioned earlier, I'll begin by being the student in an Internal Medicine practice not far from where I live. And that means I'll be seeing people with hypertension, diabetes, and everything else that can go awry in the adult human body; the MD will be right behind me.

I'll move on to different practice situations at different locations, in my case covering private offices and hospital departments, in three states. I'll spend time working in Women's Health, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, General Surgery, Emergency Medicine, and then I get to set up an elective rotation. I head back to school periodically, to sit and take a test on the subjects I should have mastered. The year ends with a super-sized eight-week preceptorship, which depending on how you look at it is a chance for a wild fling or a marriage. You can use the time to do something cool and exotic you may not feel like doing for a job the rest of your life, or create a chance to impress some practice group enough that they offer you a job when school is over.

So. I'll be back home just after New Year's 2009, and I still have to figure out what to do with that eight-weeker. For the elective rotation I have lined up something pretty cool... but that's another post.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Here's a crazy thought...

I'm getting married, in less than 40 days.

I have about 35 days of school left, and that means I'll be halfway done with the official part of my training. It also means I'll be ENTIRELY done with the "sitting in a classroom, taking notes" part of my schooling.

Mostly, this scares the crap out of me. Now and then, however, I get a little glimmer of how things are going to work in the next year. Small, sometimes reassuring flashes of the kind of problem-solving and connection-making I will get to practice, and occasionally be really good at.

I also got my letter: when it's time to do my six-week Emergency Med rotation, guess which site they're sending me to?

Here's a hint: I already know where they keep all the supplies, and I can work the computers.

Finally, the new REM is amazing. It's a good week for old guys.