We have two clinical coordinators who are essentially in charge of organizing our life during the last year of PA school. Each one of them started only a year ago with the class above us. Luckily, they figured out the system of PA rotations during their first year with them, and they are, hopefully, well seasoned to help us out this year.
During the meeting we learned about the process of how the rotations are set up, but most importantly for right now, we learned about the different rotations we could do for electives. In order to make sure everything is set up for the rotating year, we have to meet with with each one of the clinical coordinators and discuss our interests for electives and how to log our hours and time.
Electives are the time of the rotating year where we can specialize or supplement our area of interest. If someone wants to go into ER medicine they may do a plastics rotations to learn the ins and outs of suturing from the best. However, if they are inexperienced in the ER setting they can even choose an ER rotation for their elective in addition to the one we already have to do. Many of my classmates are interested in emergency medicine or something of the like, but they are choosing to do their electives in areas where they would probably never get experience outside of rotations, for example, endocrine, plastics, NICU, hematology, urology etc. Me? Well since the start of PA school I wanted to work in Cardiothoracic surgery, so obviously, this was first on my list for an elective rotation. My second choice was actually pulmonary intensive care (or SICU). I shadowed/worked with an amazing physician who taught me so many things in the ICU, because of his eagerness to teach I requested that I rotate with him as my preceptor for that elective. Surprisingly, I contacted him and he accepted the request; now, all the PA faculty have to do is set up the paperwork and I will be good to go. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will work out as planned since he is one of the best doctors I have ever worked with. I hope that a rotation in the SICU will give me the opportunity to intubate, place/remove chest tubes and become involved in many other hands on tasks! We shall see.
To make sure we are getting the most out of our rotations, we are required to keep logs of all the different patients, types of cases and fields of medicine that we work in. This is mainly to help organize and supplement what we learn on rotations but reading up on conditions in areas that we are weak. The PANCE is not based on only what we experience, it is a collective test of all sorts of clinical cases and conditions so we need to be familiar with everything. By keeping these logs, we can see how many patients we see a day in each unit and what conditions we have covered while working, and what conditions we either have not seen or are less familiar with. (I am sure during the year of rotations I will be blogging about doing my logs).