Longitudinal Placements (LP) are clinical observerships organized by the student in domain of his/her choice to gain relevant clinical knowledge in that area of medicine
What LP did you do?
I did an LP in the Emergency Room at Norfolk General Hospital. It is considered a rural hospital with 106 beds to serve about 65 000 residents.
How did you go about contacting and arranging the LP?
I arranged this LP with the help of my Student Advisor. She referred me to a PA who is practicing in the Norfolk ER, and I was able to spend two 8-hour shifts in the emerg. It was great to see exactly what PA's role would be in an ER setting.
What were the two main things you learned from the LP?
This LP allowed me to understand how an ER functions and recognize some of the challenges that rural hospitals face. For example, rural hospitals have their own set of special populations that they need to address, and they have to be especially aware of the resources that are available to them in the area. There is also a great deal of inter-hospital collaboration to allow for more specialized care for patients.
I was also able to observe and be involved in a bunch of procedures, like suturing, casting, INDs, and cardioversion. It was especially exciting to actually get to see the procedures you learn about in tutorials and textbooks in practice!
What did you wish you knew beforehand to help you in your LP?
I wish I had a few a more physical examination skills so that I could have been more involved in the patient interaction process.
How has this experience helped you clinically, in class and/or in career decision making?
Before this experience, I was not familiar with what exactly goes on in an ER. This experience allowed me to understand exactly what kind of patients are managed, and how important it is to have good inter-professional relationships to ensure things run seamlessly.
Any other comments?
This LP was a fantastic opportunity to get a feel for a health care setting and to understand the role of a PA within it. My preceptor and the staff at Norfolk were all very encouraging and supportive, and being at a smaller ER made the space seem much more manageable than an urban hospital might be. That being said, I would most definitely like to go back once I have learned a bit more so that I can be involved more independently next time!
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