The Quarterly Check-up, Part II
We are halfway through my first year as a professional PA.
You may stand up to stretch, run to the bathroom or refill your favorite snack.
But there is no halftime intermission for this PA. In fact, the intensity (and
excitement) of the PA-C life has just begun. As we pass the mid-point, let's
take a look back at what we've learned.
Onboarding Can Take a
Long, Long Time: The paperwork obstacle course constructed at the national,
state and local levels can leave you dizzy and nauseous. My onboarding process
stretched well into the second quarter of the year and, if the howls of my
classmates and colleagues are any indication, it appears I am not alone. Keep
calm and mail those documents.
CME: Pricey and
Priceless: One difference between a good
first job and a great first job: the
former teaches you to perform tasks; the latter expands your medical knowledge.
Nothing beats an investment in your own professional growth.
Try to take advantage of Continued Medical Education (CME) offered
by your employer. But beware third-party CME offered by other companies and
organizations; it often comes with a hefty price tag. Just make sure your
employer picks up the bill.
Find A (Work) Best
Friend: When you work 10- and 12-hour days, your job is like your second
home. That means-for better or worse-your coworkers are your second family. Try
to find at least one person at work with whom you can trust, confide in and
share a laugh. That work best friend serves as an extra support to unload the
weight of a new medical career.
The Bitter and the
Sweet: Working in medicine, particularly in the Intensive Care Unit, can
reveal the unfairness of life. I've cared for patients without hope of survival
and I have watched others defy expectations and walk away from the precipice of
certain death. Sometimes there is no way to predict or explain these ultimate
But I learned that death is far from the worst outcome. In
fact, it can bring relief to both the suffering patient and the loved ones they
leave behind. That sweet finality is sometimes the best care we can offer.
The Stories I
Couldn't Share: Readers of my previous work know that some experiences I
pour out as they happen and others take months to digest and share. The complex
and heart wrenching issues faced daily in the ICU often take the perspective of
time to place in the proper context. There have been rich, human experiences
over the last few months that deserve more than a hasty composition. They serve
you-and me-better as thoughtful lessons than emotional reactions. Stay tuned
and thank you for reading.