You know who really doesn't know everything? You, me, anyone ever. Ever. And anyone who thinks they do is delusional.
Being a student means being humble. This is a thought I've had off and on over the past few months and was reminded of while studying for the quiz we had yesterday. There was a line that advised against telling future employers, "That's not the way they do it at Duke." There are people in PA programs who have years and years of experience and their instructors don't want to hear about how they are used to doing things, which is where the humility comes in. You have to be willing to take instruction and be flexible about doing things the way you are being told to do them. For people who have worked as traveling PAs or worked in a wide variety of places they are probably more used to adapting than others. Since all of my work experience comes from a single job I was used to doing things one way and only that way.
This past month we've had Pam watching over our shoulder during our surg path rotations to remind, correct, and direct us. When she tells us that we've done something wrong (or less correct, shall we say) we have to take that correction and do better next time. There is no room in this experience for ego. No one wants to try to teach someone who thinks they already know everything.
I have done thousands and thousands of small biopsies, but I haven't done them at Duke using their quick text/speed phrases with their guidelines (which are completely different from what I am used to!) and dictation format. So I start over on fairly equal ground with my classmates except possibly with several ingrained habits that make Pam cringe (like picking up derms to measure them...).
It continues on well after graduation. I've previously blogged about the people I used to work with and we all used each other as resources. If something *different or unexpected came up we asked each other what they would dictate/what sections they would submit. If there was still a question then it went up the chain to a pathologist, either over the phone or by going to whoever was on call. At Duke the second year students ask the staff PAs, the residents ask the staff PAs, the staff PAs ask each other or the pathologists. Even the pathologists consult each other. Sometimes it is just a matter of making your best guess based on the collective wisdom of everyone's experience.
*And sometimes you call everyone over just to see the interesting thing you have, like the 8 kg liver mass or anytime there is a dermoid cyst because who knows what is going to be in there this time.