Wow. I feel like this is a huge one for me– and also will display a lot of how I have grown and developed as a person, student and now medical provider. I am no where near the person I was in 2013– I am such a better version of myself and I grow, develop and learn everyday.
Before I went into PA school I was “strictly surgery…actual medicine is so boring and for weaklings”. I also thought medicine was black and white (ha!) When asked at the beginning of PA school I was specifically strictly ortho or trauma surgery. I actually did my elective rotation in trauma surgery. We were surveyed and when “orthopedics” was prompted I quickly raised my hand. For anyone who knows me– you know I am enthusiastic and passionate about anything I do.
During didactic year we went through our system based modules and I was in for the surprise of my life. I slowly but surely became more interested in the art of medicine. When our module for women’s health came along, I never expected to love it. I did. Our teacher for this module is also the shit. Rosa is one of those people who has a gift to teach. Everything clicked pretty well for me. I was hooked– like immediately. I e-mailed our clinical coordinator that day and asked if I could please be placed with her on my OB/GYN rotation. It was my 3rd rotation and hands down without a doubt my best rotation. I struggled clinically A LOT on my rotations– my medical background was not strong and taking histories and putting the puzzle together simply took me a bit longer to grasp than others. And that is OK– because I progressed. Anyways, I fell in love with women’s health here is how and why and how I have decided to pursue this career.
Going through PA school and rotations helped me realize I wanted more collaboration as needed as opposed to supervision. I also realized that the operating room just wasn’t for me (shout out to Dr. Opacic who called that shit first year of PA school– I get it now). I can’t describe it– I just simply don’t like the environment. Plus I need frequent feeding and a sterile environment does NOT allow for that 🙂
I wanted my own patient load. I wanted to be responsible for treating and seeing my own patients– basically I desire to practice to the fullest extent of my license.
I want to be able to do my own procedures, too. IUD’s, Nexplanon, colopo’s, LEEPs– whatever I can get trained in and be competent in to do on my own.
Some GYN’s also provide primary care
I don’t want to lose my roots and ability to practice general medicine. PA’s are trained generally and I always want to try and keep a little bit of that flexibility whether it is in my every day practice or in a per diem job or volunteering at a clinic.
The patient population
Sometimes we need to figure out what we don’t want, in order to be certain of the things we do want. I’ve decided this is true of everything in life from relationships to medical specialties. I have spent almost 3 years practicing general medicine of varying acuity levels. Medical consults, Hospitalist, Urgent Care and Family Practice. Here’s what I know I DO NOT want to see everyday: really sick people, patients who have not “tried anything at home”, narcotics– I do NOT want to deal with pain management, children– especially babies (I swear I’m not that evil), people who have a runny nose who think it is an emergency (it’s not the person with the GSW to the head is), etc etc.
Which leads me to well ok well why women’s health then? No one (ok 99% of people) do not show up for an invasive vaginal exam if there really isn’t something wrong. Most patients are able to provide you some semblance of a decent HPI because when something is wrong with your vagina you pay attention to it. They are typically somewhat on the healthier side. The reason I say this is that if you have an awareness of “needing your annual exam” chances are you pay even just a little bit of attention to your health/wellness.
Setting and work/life balance
Are you looking to work in a hospital, ED, operating room or clinic? What type of hours do you want to work? Do you want a set schedule, shift work, do you hate working nights, etc etc.
I am NOT a night person. I worked nights and it was not easy for me. I love being up at 4:30am. I love my workout before work and I want a job that allows me to do these things 🙂
As I said before I do not want to be in a OR– or at least to this point in my career I have not found a position that has made me go “owe I wanna do that!” Never say never, but I know right now it isn’t in my cards.
12 hour shifts are also not up my alley. To me it was like– ok I’ll do EVERYTHING that needs done in my life 7 days from now when I have a day off. Simply not for me. Some people love it.
All things to consider!