Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Unexpected Development and Preparing for work

A few weeks back I received an unexpected email from a pathologist in SC saying a PA they were in touch with had given them my contact information for occasional vacation coverage for their staff PA. Since I'll have my mornings completely free, it could be a nice side job. I know one of the staff pathologist assistants from Durham has developed a pretty solid network of other groups that she works with to fill in gaps in their coverage.

It did lead to an interesting dilemma of what exactly do I charge for my services? I did some research and came up with a number, which seemed agreeable to them. Since it'll be a 1099, I may find that I needed to factor more in for taxes, etc but we'll see. It also depends on if/when they'll need me.

Also, whoever passed on my information, thank you for thinking of me... Not sure who it was and not entirely sure how to find out.

Yesterday my future boss gave me a call to go over some of the expectations for the first week, which was greatly appreciated. I think, like anyone, I'm nervous about doing well and not embarrassing myself. There are differences in every pathology practice that will take a while to learn (what? Everyone isn't okay with 97 blocks on a prostate? I know... surprising, right?), even small preferences like having the umbilical cord slice and the membrane roll in the same cassette or in different ones, etc. But she was very reassuring and as nice as she was on the interview so hopefully all will go well. Monday and Tuesday will be official orientation, lab safety, learning Cerner millennium, and all that comes with onboarding, but Wednesday is when the grossing begins.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Concerts and goodbyes (nothing really to do with pathology)

I'm comfortable with being strange, everyone is in their own way. Sometimes--if we're lucky in life--we find people to whom our personal brand of strange feels normal. I've been fortunate to have found three people whose weirdness resonates with my own, where I talk and feel understood instead of having to try to explain things in a different way that makes sense. I married one of them, one has been my best friend since 1996 (when our residential high school paired us as roommates against our will...we'd met at a biotech summer camp the year before and did not get along then), and the third is a friend I met in Durham outside of school (who know knows more about biology and medicine than he was ever expecting just by hanging out with me for a couple years). July has been a month of upheaval. I said goodbye to my classmates who scattered around the country and moved myself back to SC, albeit to a new house that I'm still working to make feel like home. I said goodbye to my Durham friend last week, with promises to visit as often as I can (with more made to the classmates remaining there). And this week my best friend is moving to New York where her girlfriend will be starting her clinical rotations. I'm excited for them but it is hard to have to say goodbye to someone else I love!

Meanwhile, I took a quick trip back to Hillsborough on Friday to clear out my apartment (with the help of my Durham friend, who adopted some of the things I originally inherited from my best friend's girlfriend two years ago, which is nice in a way...) and to see an amazing acoustic duo my best friend introduced me and a classmate to last year when they played a Durham cafe. That cafe closed abruptly a few weeks ago so they relocated to Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough (they have an interesting collection of seasonal microbrews, if you're into that. I can't say if they are good from personal experience since I'm not a beer drinker, but they are locally popular). I felt like it was a sign that I should go see them. It was a great show and the pub folks seemed to appreciate them which made it extra nice...that everyone in the bar got into watching the music (Hillsborough folks are the best). I enjoyed the performance so much that I drove across the state to see them again the next night in Asheville... where my best friend happens to live. So we had an impromptu concert/going away party. It was so awesome and so fun to see them with other people who love their music too! A touch bittersweet but great all the same.

I don't tend to wax poetic about my personal life (although, tomorrow is my oldest son's birthday! He's 9, which is a terrifying realization... I have a 9 year old.), but I like documenting change, and there has been a lot of it lately.

A week from tomorrow I start orientation. I'll have more medically related things to mention then.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Class of 2013 Student Video

I feel like this is one of those moments where I should just be quiet and let the video do the talking. My classmates performing "All My Fellow PAs" they did an amazing job, still sad I was in Tennessee that weekend!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I've graduated and moved

A lot has happened in the last week.
Classes of 2013 and 2014!

Monday and Tuesday we practiced our seminars, and Wednesday we presented. In front of an auditorium overflowing with residents, attendings, and classmates. We sat together, dressed up, in the front two rows on the right side where we never sat before. The students and residents tend to be in the back left corner during grand rounds, so it was unfamiliar territory. But we were all together, cracking jokes and comparing the physical symptoms of nervousness we were each experiencing (sweating palms, shaking hands, and lightheadedness predominated. GI distress threatened but nothing-thankfully-materialized). It would have been impossible doing it alone, but like so many things that we've done over the past two years we made it through together.

The banquet was the next night with even more dressing up, fancy foods, and mingling with so many of the people who have been a part of our education. The evening was topped off with a few speeches from the pathologists we worked with the most and Pam gave a presentation sharing things about each of us. Our class made a short video a few weeks back (I'm not in it! I had to drive to Tennessee that weekend.) and we shared that as well. I'm so glad it got made, one of our classmates did such a good job with the lyrics that it would have been a shame for it not to have been (link pending, the classmate that has the url has been traveling).

So that's how it ended. After that, we handed out gifts and there were a lot of hugs, and quite a bit of lingering. But eventually, we all made our ways to our separate cars and drove away. It happened so fast...the two years, the clinical year itself. And we learned so much and did things we would have never have believed of ourselves. Now it is up to us to take that knowledge and those skills and apply them (for money!). Hopefully we do a good job of representing the program.

As for me... I'll keep blogging my experiences from the transition of student to professional. There is still the certification exam to take (which I'm not thinking about for a while!) and a few other things to touch on. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

This is how things wind down

Yesterday was the dress rehearsal, today we're technically on rotations but the auditorium is reserved
for us all day so people are taking advantage of that. I'm going to go in a little while to do one more run-through but right now I'm still tweaking things ever so slightly. I was hoping there would be an autopsy, just to finish out the clinical year by doing something...well, clinical, but so far it is all quiet on that front.

I just love my dog, so here's yet another picture of him
Tomorrow I'm taking my laptop in to get wiped clean, dropping off the scrubs I've accumulated from the vending machine, giving my presentation, and clearing out my study cubby (which I've already made a start on). It'll be someone else's space next year and while some things convey (the pound puppy from who knows with, a random worry doll, the drawer lined with the collage the previous owner made, the LGBT button center button), they probably don't want all the random debris that I've collected over the past year.

It is strange being around the first years/rising second years (1.5 years?) as they're starting out with clinical rotations. Some of them were watching the autopsy prosection videos on the room computer which doesn't have sound so I narrated some parts of it.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Penultimate Week as a PA student

Next week is seminar practice and autopsies. This is my last week at North, but as first year residents and upcoming second year PA students are grossing I'm mostly stuck on triage/frozens. Traditionally, when I've been on my third week duties I've grossed larges in the morning and done triage/frozens in the afternoon. The PAs were very accommodating about that but right now there just aren't any stations open.

If today was any indication it is going to be a rough week.... Not a lot to do this morning so I went ahead and stocked supplies and cleaned. It took two hours, but now I'm worried I'll spend the rest of the week desperate for something that needs to be stocked or cleaned. But maybe I will get lucky and something interesting will come in... One hopes. It is hard when there are so many things I'd like to be doing (finishing my portfolio/working on my seminar/packing) and instead be hanging around waiting for work to come in.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Technology should be my friend... but it really isn't lately.

The website that we use for autopsy information isn't working. I took a screenshot and emailed it to the pathologist who handles that sort of thing and hope to hear back from him soon... today is a holiday but if it doesn't work soonish then... life gets significantly more stressful!