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  • Purpose Before Testing

    The nurse asked, ''What labs do you want?'' Like clockwork I responded, ''CBC, iSTAT, POC UA and UPT.'' I walked away thinking about what I just ordered. Really?  Are those even necessary? Am I simply in robotic-non-thinking-mode? My suspicions were confirmed when the supervising physician asked me, ''What are those labs going to ...
    Posted to Adventures of a New PA (Weblog) on March 26, 2012
  • Mental Triage: The Art of Emergency Medicine

    Triage is the act of prioritizing patients based on their probable diagnosis and necessary treatments. It comes from the French word tier, meaning to sift or to separate. Our ED has a ''triage'' area where patients are seen by a nurse who collects basic history and vital signs. We rely upon this information in our overall assessment. Last ...
    Posted to Adventures of a New PA (Weblog) on March 19, 2012
  • Back Up

    As I write this, my body is suffering from a 9-hour jet lag and 4P-4A shift in the ER. On Saturday, I returned to the States after an 8-day trip to Uganda. Our purpose was to teach at a leadership conference in the northern part of the country. We flew in at 2:30 PM that day. On Sunday, my normal schedule resumed.  The shift was ...
    Posted to Adventures of a New PA (Weblog) on March 12, 2012
  • Medical Spanish: Dangerous or Necessary?

    Him, ''No English.'' Me, ''Uhhh, well, ummm, duele (pain)?'' Him, ''Spanish word, Spanish word, Spanish word'' and then points to his right lower quadrant as he writhes in pain. This patient began with the luxury of his PA using the translator phone, but as fate would have it, the phone lost service in the beginning of the evaluation. ...
    Posted to Adventures of a New PA (Weblog) on February 20, 2012
  • No Room for Mistakes

    The medical director said, ''We don't want you to make mistakes because they're too costly,'' when I asked him for some tips. My first day of emergency medicine orientation was spent one-on-one with the ED director. This one stood out. He went on to explain that mistakes are avoided by asking questions whenever you're unsure about ...
    Posted to Adventures of a New PA (Weblog) on February 13, 2012
  • Discount No Patient

    Next week I will start my new job in the ER. Along with reading my Tintinalli Emergency Medicine Manual, I have spent a little time at the PA Forum. If you have not been over there, they have a little something for everyone (pre-PA, PA-S, PA-C). Their emergency medicine section is packed with pearls of dos and do nots, odd ...
    Posted to Adventures of a New PA (Weblog) on January 30, 2012
  • To Epocrates or Not to Epocrates?

    I'm confused. I've been using Epocrates Essentials for two years now, and I love the program. The ability to look up diseases, medications, lab tests, tables and more has made this an invaluable tool in the clinical setting. Then, a few months ago, I downloaded Medscape from WebMD on my iPhone. One striking difference between the two programs is ...
  • ED Rotation: Week 2 Review

    With nine shifts down and six to go, it's hard to believe that my emergency medicine rotation is more than halfway complete. (You may remember that I was originally scheduled to work just 12 shifts this month. Through a change of events, I was fortunate enough to pick up three extra days in the ED.) This month I am given 150 hours on the job to ...
    Posted to Adventures of a New PA (Weblog) on April 12, 2010
  • A Test of Confidence

    Last week my classmates and I began a clinical skills course. The professor described the course as a time for students to ''put away your laptops and notebooks and simply use your eyes, ears and hands.'' Topics and workshops covered include aseptic technique and surgical scrubbing, casting and splints, injections and phlebotomy, suturing and ...
    Posted to Adventures of a New PA (Weblog) on March 1, 2010
  • Always A Patient

    What does it feel like to wait nearly an hour in a cold room with only a thin cloth separating your private parts from the outside world?  More than likely, we have all had some uncomfortable incident where we were the patient.  Now, the dominant perspective has us behind the white coat.  As PAs or aspiring PAs, it is possible for ...
    Posted to Adventures of a New PA (Weblog) on October 12, 2009
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