The First Day of the Rest of My Life

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A week ago I sat here trembling in worry that I would fail majestically on my first day in Clinic.  I did not fail majestically.  Or fail at all for that matter.  It turns out that they were right, I know more than I think I know.  I saw five patients with my preceptor, and unlike some of my frantic compadres that chased their preceptors around all day at hectic urgent care and community clinics, my day was rather pleasant!  We had time to debrief every patient visit.  I got all my questions answered.  I wrote up my first official “note” which is doctorspeak for synopsis of problem+exam+solution of patient visit.  I tried out some of the apps on my loathed Android.  Half worked.  I looked stuff up, read, wrote notes, asked more questions, and went home thinking,

I can do this.  There’s no reason any other PA can do it and not me.  In fact, dammit, I WILL do this!

There’s a LOT I still don’t know, and a LOT I’ve already forgotten, but I felt a sensation of peace when I walked out the door.  I am headed back tomorrow morning, white coat in tow.  I really do feel an enormous sense of respect for the power I will have as a provider.  It’s not that having a fancy coat is the be-all-end-all, it’s that people will be entrusting their lives and bodies to my own knowledge, judgment, resources, and character.  That’s a big deal.  It’s more forgivable to have a bad day as a third grade teacher.  Heck, the kids could play games and I could go on the internet.  Not that I ever did that. 🙂  But it’s not so cool to have a bad day as a medical provider.  I’m sure I will, but the stakes are higher now.  Incompetence is all around us, and usually we can just roll our eyes, write a strongly-worded letter,.. maybe even chew out customer service,… not that I would ever do that,.. but incompetence in the medical field costs people their lives.  So, I’m thankful to be in a program where I get this added blessing of Friday clinicals and the mentorship/apprenticeship it provides.  I can say “I don’t know, I’m going to go look that up,” and it’s ok.  As the months go along, I will gain more confidence, and I’ll start remembering more things because I’ll have actual patients to attach things to.  So, that’s where things stand, a week after my trepidatious rant last Thursday.  Wish I could gab about all the cool stuff I learned and the patients I had but I think there’s probably a law somewhere about that………. But the finale of this mini-story is that last Friday was FUN.  Which is a good thing, since this is what I’ve signed on for?  Fun.  Interesting.  Intriguing.  Challenging.  Strangely comfortable.  Fun.  Phew!

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