How to Grow Into a Full-Blown NP or PA
If there's any lesson I've learned in PA school, it is that
mistakes are the fertilizer to grow a healthy clinical year. This month is me
versus the OR (operating room) and if I didn't contaminate my glove, then I
accidently bumped my head into the surgeons or didn't bury the knot correctly
on my suture.
Some of these mistakes I've made four or five times, but by
that fourth exasperated, "OH MAN!
Again!" some synapse in my brain is marred to never ever do that again.
Then there's this mistake: When the surgeon asks you, "What's that?" and you
say artery, but it's really the thoracodorsal nerve right after he pinched it
with a hemostat. Ah, lesson learned. A
guess, or "maybe" is not good enough in the OR.
I'm pretty good at moving beyond my mistakes and not let
them get at my gut. The key is to ask yourself a few key reflective questions: Was
anyone seriously harmed? Did I learn
something? Will this ruin my life
forever? Hopefully, for most of you, as it's been true for me, no one has been
seriously harmed, I do learn something, and my life isn't ruined forever. Thus,
I move on and enjoy being a student. Students make mistakes because students
need to learn.
Clinicals are such a unique opportunity to ask stupid
questions and feel less stupid asking them simply because your nametag reads
"student." Scrub nurses, surgeons, MDs, experienced NPs and PAs have all been
where you've been-clueless and overwhelmed. So stop, take a deep breath, and
finish closing that laparoscopic incision.