Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Yay PA School

School is going very well. Tomorrow is our Physiology midterm and I'm feeling good. My mentality is that I just need to pass, and that's what the faculty keep telling us. They tell us to study to learn, not study to get A's. I'm doing just that. I feel very comfortable with the majority of the material and definitely good enough to get that B. I kind of like knowing that I don't need to know everything. I know enough to pass and that takes stress away, which I think helps me learn more in the long run.

The reason the faculty says "just pass" is because they never get asked what our grades were by employers. They care more about if we bitch and moan, work well with others, act professionally and if we passed. This is a huge difference from med school, which I didn't realize until now. In med school your grades still matter so much, especially for residency. I couldn't imagine needing to care about grades anymore. I'm sick of caring about grades and looking forward to more applications.

It's nice to know that the specialty I want won't be determined by grades, but more by my reputation and job opening. Screw you medschool!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ethical Dilemma

Ethics is my thing, especially bioethics. They were my favorite classes in college and I was always well received in the classes. I hope to one day be on a hospital ethics committee. I'm currently taking bioethics, and it sucks. The professor is horrible. I feel she makes his opinions known way to often, which inhibits the class from telling their true feelings. I know a couple of instances where people didn't agree with what was being said in the class and specifically kept it to themselves because the professor made it so clear what (s)he thought about the issue.

The other day we had an online discussion assignment asking if we thought a patient was mentally capable to make decisions or not. Most of the class went on a tangent and answered the question by saying what they would do as the PA. There was no vagueness to this question. It clearly said, "Do you agree that this patient in mentally capable and explain?" When I read people's responses going into the details of the actions they would do, I cringed. That wasn't the question.

I thought I really killed it. I kept it within the 250 word limit. Directly answered the question and clearly explained how I came to this conclusion. 1-2-3. My response got the most replies of anyone else, and most everyone praised me for the analogy I used. One of the few people who did not was the professor. In short, the professor shat on me.

But his/her criticism was that I didn't take into account societal effects on my decision. (S)he basically didn't like my opinion on why I wouldn't have the person committed. THAT WASN'T THE QUESTION. The professor loved all the answers where people regurgitated the stupid sayings the professor had in class and showed that they cared a lot about what happened outside the clinic to third parties. I could have had a whole discussion on how the actions of the patient outside the clinic do matter at all, but I'll save it SINCE THAT'S NOT THE QUESTION.

AHHHHHH!!!!! This professor is from now on called Prof. Biased.

I e-mailed Prof. Biased highlighting my intentions in the answer and trying to avoid reading more into my answer than intended. No professor, I didn't try to argue whether it's moral to have her committed since that wasn't asked. So don't assume I was trying to do that because everyone else in the class did.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I have recently interviewed for several medical assistant positions. Although I haven't been accepted yet, I would like to ask you some questions about your experience as a medical assistant. I have a B.S. in Biology but no experience whatsoever. I know you were in a similar situation. How difficult was it for you to do certain procedures or duties? Can you please give me some advice or any tips on how to be successful and learn as much as possible?

You graduated from college. You are then totally capable of handling any medical assistant duty they throw at you. The hardest thing for me to learn was how to load a patient and get the starts of a history. It also took me a while to be comfortable taking the notes of what the assessment and plan was for each patient. But this is the stuff you learn in PA/Med school! It's not suppose to be easy. So if you go in accepting that you're probably going to suck at the beginning, then you'll be okay.

There were other things that were easy, but uncomfortable like giving an injection, doing a little cauterization during a surgery, laser treatments. But again, you have to accept that it might suck the first time you do it, but you're not going to kill the person.

Make sure you take the job that will give you the most patient contact possible. I feel like my job gave me an inordinate amount of responsibilities. I was quite literally doing the same job as the ACTUAL nurses.

In short: Accept that there is a learning curve and that you will suck at your job at first. If providers go nuts on you, don't take it to heart. They get what they pay for - an untrained new college grad.

Day 1 Report

Orientation went fine. A lot of the students put us to ease about the impossibleness of the work load. Time will tell if they're lying or not.

Roommate and I went out with a lot of the students tonight. A good time was had and I enjoy the company of everyone.

There are two guys that seem particularly cool towards me. I'm not sure if it's in my head, but Roommate says they've been really nice to him. Don't know what the deal is there. I had told one of the two of them that I'm gay when I had asked him if he wanted to live with me and Roommate. I don't know whether that's playing a role or not. I certainly don't feel like I'm bonding with the guys though. I'll keep you updated.

Physiology tomorrow. Yessss!!! My favorite!!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Why am I up so early (for me)?! School here I come.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I expect to be applying through CASPA next year. I was wondering' which school you're going to and why did you select it? You could help me narrow down my choices...

Sorry but I try to keep my identity anonymous, so I don't tell people where I go to school.

I wouldn't be the one to help you narrow down your choices anyway. I applied to 18 schools. My criteria for school was that it didn't require the GRE, was in a city I wouldn't hate, and I fulfilled the prereq's. Oh, I also didn't bother applying to any schools not on CASPA simply because I was too lazy. My top schools were all somewhat around my hometown, or a city that I really wanted to move to (Boston). I didn't look into things like rotation sites, curriculums, etc. I did check out the schools' PANCE pass rates, but those are generally high at every school (90+%). I was all about giving myself the greatest possible chance of getting into school. Compared to the cost of attending PA school, the application fee is nothing.

As for why I chose my school. I chose it cause it was the only 1 I got into. Lucky for me it happened to be one of those top choice schools. I got very, very lucky and plan on asking the admissions committee what it was about my application that got me in. (it wasn't the grades)

One Hair at a Time

I just went to a hair design school for my haircut. It was the first haircut this girl had ever done. She did a good job, but jesus it took forever. What generally takes 20 minutes TOPS took 2 hours. I literally took multiple naps while she cut my hair. I wasn't sure if I was suppose to tip or not, but I didn't. I figure I'm not going to be getting paid anything while I'm a student, why should she.

It was funny though because she took a lot of picture with her phone. She was very excited and proud of the work she did and she should be.
The countdown says zero, but I actually start tomorrow. Don't cry for me yet.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Schedule

Dr. K, ask and you shall receive.

Summer I: Monday-Thursday 9a-4p
Human Physiology
Psychosocial Medicine
Professionalism and Bioethics

Fall: Monday-Friday 8a-3p
Gross Anatomy/Cadaver Lab I
Clinical Medicine I
Medical Pharmacology I
Basic and Laboratory Science I
Clinical Application I

Spring: Monday-Friday 8a-3p
Gross Anatomy/Cadaver Lab II
Clinical Medicine II
Medical Pharmacology II
Clinical Application II
Basic and Laboratory Science II
Epidemiology and Evidence Based Medicine

Summer II
Clinical Medicine III

Summer III
Clinical Medicine III
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Clinical Rotations: 14 Months
Internal Medicine
Primary Care
Emergency Medicine
Long-Term Care
Elective (Abroad?!)
Senior Year Capstone (Dealing with Death)
Research Methods/Master Project

Thursday, July 09, 2009

My Wallet is Crying, While my Closet is in Celebration

School needs to start soon for the sake of my wallet. For the past three days I have gone shopping for clothes for school. And to make this even more difficult I just learned that Big City doesn't have sales tax on clothing. Gaaaaaah This could never end, and it needs to right now.

But on a more positive note I think I will be the most well dressed male in my program. This isn't saying much since there are only like 9 and I'm the only le gay.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


My prescription antiperspirant cost less than the OTC "prescription strength" one. Niiiiice.

Touchy Nurses

My friend Maria is in nursing school right now. Of my hometown circle of friends she's the only one going into health care. She also plans on eventually going on to become an NP. This is a dangerous situation because Maria is a very aggressive in your face person. I get along well with her, but you don't want to get on her bad side.

My other friend one time unknowingly started a small NP vs. PA battle. He had jokingly said something to me about coming to me when he needs the "good stuff." Maria then looked at me with a confused face and said, "But aren't you going to PA school? How will you get him the 'good stuff." She had no idea that PA could prescribe medication. I don't think she has any idea what the role of a PA is. I'm fairly sure the only PA she's ever seen on rotations was a surgical one and she admitted that they were doing hardcore work with the surgeon. But I still don't think she realize PAs see their own patients in most medical specialities.

Tonight I was playing a drinking game against her and at one point called her "Nurse Maria." She immediately got offended and said, "Whatever. I'm going to be making more money than you." I was taken aback. Not because she was so delusional about that comment, but that she thought I was trying to be offensive. I think nursing is a very respectable field. I don't compare it to being a physician or a PA because they're not the same. Nursing does their thing, and Medicine does theirs.

I try to avoid this whole NP/PA battle as much as possible. I don't judge people's performance at work based off their title. I base it off their actions. If they're a competent provider then I respect them and their opinion. I don't care if that comes from nursing, PA or medical school. Medicine is not this big secret where only med students get taught the magic words.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Classic Convo

[Watching Fox News about Palin's resignation]

Me: (After listening to grandma defending Palin on and on and on..) I'm just going to throw this out - I don't like her.
Grandma: How can you say that?! You don't even know her! I love her!
Me: I know her just as well as you do and we come to two different conclusions.
Grandma: (jokingly) I think you're just a liberal!
Me: Yes, I'm a big liberal that refuses to shave.
[I do in fact refuse to shave because regardless of what my grandparents think, facial hair is not some hippie protest and is actually my attempt to look hot. I've got the Grey's Anatomy scruff going on for the past 5 years. They skill haven't accepted this.]

This side of the family might as well be Evangelicals. Fox News is basically the only channel they watch. They'll watch CNN late at night. But they basically consider everyone outside of Fox News big liberals.

I personally think the liberals and conservatives have run away with what the original Democrats and Republicans stood for. I consider myself Republican and NOT conservative. There is a difference between the two, but the line has been greatly fogged.

The Salesman

Again I wonder if I'm a bad person for telling people the reasons I chose PA school over med school. Some people respond well. Tonight I had the exact opposite experience that I had in that older post.

The pre-med student asked questions about what I thought about her goals, and I answered them truthfully. She listened to the reason why I chose PA over medschool. After everything she said I was a "very good salesman." That made me feel dirty. I'm not trying to "sell" the profession. The profession sold itself to me. I'm just showing her what I liked about it.

I truly am not someone who tries to talk people out of med school. We need doctors. For some people medschool is a better match than PA school. But also there are many, many doctors who realize too late that this isn't what they signed up for. I listened to those doctors and took those opinions into account when I made my decision. I'm a big fan of basing decisions off other people's experience. I realize that I'm not that different from others. If a lot of people tell me one thing, chances are I will react the same way. So if most docs tell me "DON'T DO MED SCHOOL" and most PAs tell me "I LOVE MY JOB," then what's the logical thing to choose?

This specific pre-med's concern was whether she could have a family life, while being a physician. I think this is one of the hardest things to accomplish. Some specialties lend itself better to family life than others. She said cardiothoracic surgery. That is not one of them... I told her that 70%+ of most PA classes are woman. If you asked them why PA and not MD most will tell you "because it's easier to balance being a PA with having a family." It's true.

In college I shadowed a very intense breast cancer surgeon. She was trained by the best and wasn't above name dropping. She talked about job offers she got at Mayo Clinic and such. She was full of herself, but she was good and she was also very happy. The latter was surprising. I asked her if she had any children. She said no, and "by choice." Her profession was her love and enjoyed going home and spending time with her husband. I respected this answer immensely. She knew what she wanted in life, and was honest with herself. She was happy because she understood the reality of the situation.

I'm not the one crushing dreams. It's the reality of life that does that. In the long run I think I'm helping people by pointing out the truths that people like to ignore. Ignoring reality doesn't help anyone, it only prolongs disappointment.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Obvious Revelation

This whole time I've trying to get into PA school and waiting for it to start it never dawned on me what that really meant. It means that I'm GOING BACK TO SCHOOL. Gaaaaaaaaah.

I enjoyed working. I liked doing what I liked, getting paid for it, and going home and not working anymore. Doing the school work was the part of college I don't miss. I mean I always knew PA school was going to be hard but I'm just remembering now what the actual act of studying feels like. It's the shit.

Now I'm going to have to remind myself that it's only 12 months of classes. Rotations I can handle. I prefer the abuse during the day and then going home, rather than sitting in class all day just to study more at home. And yes, I'm well aware that there is studying during rotations, but there is just something different about that I think. Maybe I'm completely wrong. I guess time will tell.

I'm going to go stare at my profile on facebook now. Specifically the education "Grad School: M.S., Physician Assistant Studies." I know I'm kind of pathetic.