Emma Wallace (current MPASA President) goes through the ins and outs of her longitudinal placement in infectious disease.
What LP did you do?
I did an LP in Infectious Diseases at Michael Garron Hospital (previously known as Toronto East General Hospital).
How did you go about contacting and arranging the LP?
Every student in the PA program is assigned a Student Advisor. Student advisors are practicing PAs who are responsible for mentoring 1-2 students in the PA class. At the beginning of the year, I met with my advisor and we discussed which areas of medicine I would like to do LPs in. My mentor was able to give me the name of an Infectious Disease PA working in my hometown. I emailed her and went from there!
What were the two main things you learned from the LP?
Infectious Diseases is a "consult service". This means that other medical specialties recruit the ID team when a patient has an infectious disease or an underlying infection that is challenging to treat. I got to see patients in general medicine, post-surgery, and in the emergency department. ID is an exciting medical specialty as clinicians get to be involved in a variety of different medical settings.
It is important to educate patients about how to take antibiotics properly. The ID team sees patients who have infections that are very difficult to treat. Occasionally, this is because the source of their infection is resistant to most “good” antibiotics. Clinicians can do their part to mitigate this issue by prescribing antibiotics appropriately and educating their patients about how to take them properly.
What did you wish you knew beforehand to help you in your LP?
I wish I had known how to use the charting system in the hospital. Most people will feel this way during their first LP! It is one of those things that you just have to “learn by doing". Everyone has to start somewhere.
How has this experience helped you clinically, in class and/or in career decision making?
Infectious diseases affects many body systems, so I learned a lot on this LP. I also believe that this LP will come in handy in clerkship – in my internal medicine, surgery and family medicine electives I will likely be consulting the ID team or applying relevant knowledge.