I've had this Q&A in my files for just over a month...It's been a very busy June for all of us, hence the neglect of getting some of these posts up! But have a read about Mandeep's placement in an ER!
What LP did you do?
I did my placement in Emergency Medicine during the Winter break.
How did you go about contacting and arranging the LP?
I contacted the PA office and the office staff helped me arrange my ER placement.
What were the two main things you learned from this LP?
1) I gained a better understanding of the continuum of care. It was interesting to observe the interaction between EMS officials and the ER team. Often, EMS officials would call into the ER for medical advice and directives before bringing the patient into the hospital. This would then allow the ER team to prepare for the incoming patient, or they would request the patient be taken to a different facility.
2) I learned the importance of good history taking. In most cases, the ER team does not have much medical information about the patient, and as such, they often have to consider a wide array of differential diagnosis. It was apparent that a good history can help narrow down the differentials.
What did you wish you knew to help you in your LP?
Many patients that came into the ER had some orthopedic-based injury so a primary understanding in orthopedics would have been beneficial.
How has this experience helped you clinically, in class and/or in career decision making?
During my placement I was able to conduct histories and physical examinations for lower acuity patients which helped reinforce my patient-communication skills. The physician assistant that I was observing was very approachable and provided numerous suggestions to help improve my history-taking skills.