Lots of our students take advantage of their breaks to do observerships with doctors from their hometowns. 1st year PA student, Kim took some time during our March break to shadow a general surgeon in Dunnville where she had some great hands-on learning that left her really excited about getting to practice as a PA as well as share her experience!
What LP did you do?
I did my LP in general surgery in Dunnville.
How did you go about contacting and arranging the LP?
I know the surgeon in my hometown and in the past, he offered to let me shadow him, so I called his office to get in touch with him.
What were the two main things you learned from this LP?
I learned a ton of things during my four half days with the doctor, but the two main things were how to suture and how to properly present patient histories. The doctor allowed me to suture various wounds and observed my technique in order to give me helpful tips along the way. He also had me see many of his patients in his office to take histories and then had me present them back to him before going to see the patients himself. He gave me helpful tips to think about when presenting which allowed me to get better and more comfortable with each presentation I did. He also taught me various questions that were important to ask patients and how the answers to those questions could help you in your differential.
What did you wish you knew to help you in your LP?
I wish I could have had more knowledge with dermatology topics since many of the patients I saw in one of the clinics had skin cancers or suspicious moles/lesions. More knowledge in this area could have helped me recognize exactly what different lesions were.
How has this experience helped you clinically, in class and/or in career decision making?
The doctor taught me a lot of things that I can use as clinical knowledge later on. He had many patient cases that reflected what we have already learned in tutorial and he was able to explain to me what is done for the patient in a true clinical setting, as well as what to look out for when making diagnoses.
Any other comments?
Overall, my experience was amazing. I was able to take various skills, such as recording and presenting patient histories and suturing, which we have learned in a simulated setting, and apply them to the real clinical setting. I also gained a ton more knowledge in a variety of topics to take with me for future placements and clerkship.