Tag Archives: primary care

First Rotation

28 Aug

Here is a picture of the end point.  Or I guess the beginning.  Long before you get a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies you have to enter into a grueling didactic year and than an even more grueling rotation year.  Let me back up a little and let you know how I got to Philadelphia University.  It all started when I was rejected by my home town program in Minneapolis, MN.  Augsburg College.  The Mecca of PA programs in the midwest.  I obviously had a safety school….which I did not get accepted into.  So I submitted my very expensive application to Philly U, PU for short.  I flew out for an interview and tah dah! moved to Philly months later.

I have lived internationally multiple times in my late teens and twenties, but nothing prepared me for the culture shock of the East Coast.  I moved into a house with four strangers and off we went.  First of all the house was in Manayunk, what kinda name is that?  Hot, steamy, cement everywhere.  Ah, the memories are many from that first year.  I will get back to the didactic year but today I am going back to my first rotation…

So there I was.  My short, snow white, pa student coat.  My frumpy “professional” clothing.  My “I’m gonna change the entire healthcare system” attitude.  I walked into an inner city primary care office and tentatively knocked on the open door of my attending’s office.

“Who the fuck are you?” was the first question out of his mouth.  I stood there and awkwardly tried to explain that this was the first day of my first rotation.  That was a long twelve weeks.  This doctor I worked with called himself white chocolate.  He was a Caucasian who did work with a primarily african-american patient population.  And it was true that his patients adored him.  But the number of off color, rude, and demeaning comments that came out of his mouth was astounding.  Although going to that office every day was painful, I learned a lot about how to adjust your practice style to reach different cohorts.  I also learned to let some things roll off my back.  There were lots of moments where I felt belittled, but I kept going and I was able to learn a different kind of compassion.  Maybe my conservative, reserved, swedish style would not work with many, no most, of the patients we PAs are in the business to reach.    So hang in there during those tough moments.  Take a second to look at the world from a different point of view.  Try not to shut down when you don’t understand the whole situation.

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