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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
  • Experience Enhances Preparation

    Friday was my last day as a full-time PA in orthopedics. We had two knee scopes. The day seemed typical. I arrived early so that I could read more from the Tintinalli Emergency Medicine Manual. The supervising physician noticed my studies and made some comment. I said, ''Yeah, I have to be constantly reading because I never know what will ...
    Posted to Adventures of a New PA (Weblog) on February 6, 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
  • Surgery and Its Physical Demands

    If you are interested in surgery, there might be a few things to think about. Yes, there is nothing like the rush of gowning up, seeing/holding the inner-parts, closing up the incisions and seeing the patient off to recovery. It is very rewarding, yet incredibly taxing. Is surgery for you?  I am in surgery 5 days per week. I will arrive ...
    Posted to Adventures of a New PA (Weblog) on January 23, 2012
  • Specialty Settings vs. General Settings

    There are two types of jobs in the world of medicine: primary care and specialty. Primary care is known for its general medical scenarios. The ages, sexes and problems are varied. The medical problems that are far beyond the scope of practice and knowledge of the general practitioner are referred on to a specialist. Those in a specialty solely ...
    Posted to Adventures of a New PA (Weblog) on November 28, 2011
  • Outside of the 8-to-5 Hours

    The majority of PAs work 40 hours a week and do not take call (see the latest AAPA Census Report). More than 31% take some sort of call, whether actual in-house call or simply keeping their phone or pager nearby during the weekend just in case they are needed. Others may spend time outside of the clinic doing “extracurricular” things like ...
    Posted to Adventures of a New PA (Weblog) on October 17, 2011
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