Wednesday, December 12, 2012

So overdue for an update...

I'm winding down three weeks at the VA. It has been a productive few weeks, and I've had lots of chances to do frozens. It is always interesting when I've been away from the VA and haven't been doing them... It is inevitable that my first case after being away is one where the surgeon walks it down to the gross room and sits there waiting for the frozen to be done. Ah, stressful! But it is fine. After being back in the swing of things for a while, I feel comfortable that I can churn out some decent sections.

Plus, it is a useful rotation to be on for a while. I get to see the slides that my sections get turned into and pick up bits of knowledge from the attending pathologists and residents--and we're there with one of the nicest residents (most of our residents are pretty awesome, but she is just really exceptionally pleasant). The VA is a lot more like a regular hospital than Duke is, so it is good to get a mix of smalls and complex specimens instead of the high concentration of complex specimens that you get at a major academic medical center. 

Christmas trees make me happy!
Today was the Christmas party for the clinical labs and there was an enormous amount of food brought in. We snagged some on our way to our lunch time lecture, which was our penultimate class for this course. It has been one of those long weeks where we've had a morning class every morning and a lunch time lecture each day (except Monday). There's been a lot of going from the Duke clinics to the VA back to the clinics and then back to the VA. We take this walkway between the clinics on the way through Duke North when going between the clinics and the VA across the street that is lined with windows. One side looks out over the new center for medical education, the other is the Duke Medical Pavilion--both of which are under construction. Every day, every week, we can see it change. I like the idea of it... things have grown and evolved during our time at Duke and will be in their semi-final state by the time my class graduates (I say semi-final because it seems that hospitals are always changing, but I think they will be happy with the way things stand for a while after this construction wraps up. Although... I'm sure there's someone somewhere in the organization that is already projecting the needs of the hospital system for the next decade that's drafting a whole new set of blue prints for future classes to watch be erected.).

The Christmas party did take me off guard though. This year has just gone zipping past! Our fall semester is going to be wrapping up in just over a week. I feel like I've gotten to gross everything that I've wanted to do, which leaves the spring for refining those skills.

Second year is just so different from first year. I don't get to see our first years much unless I'm on autopsy, but I hope that they're doing well. They have another few days before their exams, but they are coming up quickly! And then they will get to be on rotations with us in January, everyone is looking forward to it. It will be good for them as well to get some hands on experience. January was really a high light of my first year and I think that is a pretty universal opinion. 

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