Monday, 17 June 2013


The last few weeks have been filled with exams. The level of stress is increasing and the panic of what our schedule is like in July have put people on edge. It has been hard to keep my focus this semester. I do have more energy than last semester when I was recovering from surgery, but the toll of the year has begun to weigh me down. The key factor distracting me from my studies is the nice summer weather. It is hard to sit down and study while watching the clear sunny skies and hearing the kids playing on the street. It is also hard to refuse friends for drinks on the patio in favor of studying. Here is what I’ve been doing to relieve some stress and keep my sanity. 

Exercise – I try my best to do about half an hour of activity a day. This includes either biking around the neighborhood with my dog or doing some P90 weight training at home. What I find most helpful is hot yoga class which I try to attend once a week. It gives you alone time and makes you sweat out the stress. In hot yoga you forget what test/paper/presentation is coming up and makes you in tuned with the present moment. 

Going out for lunch/dinner/drinks – Since I’m able to walk again without crutches I have been taking advantage of this... maybe a little too much :P . Some of my classmates and I love to splurge a little and go for lunch once a week where we can release and vent some of our frustrations. It’s really helpful to be able to talk to people who understand what you’re going through. I couldn’t imagine going through this experience without the support of my classmates. It’s also fun going out for some drinks on the weekend, we all need to let out some steam sometimes. 

After our OSCE in 2nd semester

Spend time with family and friends – This can be grounding. It keeps me in touch with reality and what’s going on outside of the PA program. 

Organize your time – It depends on the individual but for me I need to know what exam/test/assignment is coming up during the week to figure out beforehand how much time I need to finish the task or study. This way I can include all the extra things mentioned above, although school does come first.

The Past June Exams

Microbiology - We’ve had medical microbiology quizzes every Monday worth 10% each. We had our quizzes on sepsis, pulmonary, cardiology and CNS infections. Our last quiz will be on STI’s and immune compromised host infections. 

Emergency – We had our midterm on respiratory, heat, cold and abdominal emergencies

In emerge class - acting out scenarios
Pediatrics – Our midterm was on children’s growth, child protection, common child infections, pediatric oral health, children with seizures and acute child emergencies. 

CPR training
Adult Medicine (Neurology/Ophthalmology Block) – Our exam was on movement disorders, brain injuries, delirium, seizures, spinal cord injuries, migraines and clinical neurology which includes how to differentiate between upper motor neuron and lower motor neuron diseases. We were also tested on cerebrovascular disease, ocular trauma and the differential diagnosis of “the red eye”.

“whew” I'm exhausted from trying to recall what I’ve learned. I’m just hoping it’s still in my brain somewhere. :)

Early Exposures

2nd semester before our OSCE
I’m not sure where I left off. I haven’t written in a while and I apologize for not updating as often.

I had my second pediatrics patient and did a history and physical on a 12 year old boy with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). I admit I did not have in depth knowledge of CF and it was difficult to come up with questions for a focused history. I was guided by my preceptor and was taught valuable techniques in the physical exam. I realized that when studying the physical exams for the OSCE I only go through the motions. With patients you really need to think why you are doing that particular physical exam.

I also shadowed in infections disease and genetics. In infections disease the doctor is super busy. I was able to see how quickly and thoroughly he worked through with his patients. He still gave his patients time to ask questions and empathized with them. I was able to watch how a cast is made as well as shadow a 2nd year PA student who was doing his clinical rotation. He interviewed a patient who began to cry while telling her history. This was a valuable experience. It gave me some insight on what is expected in 2nd year and made me remember why we are learning medicine, we are here to help them.  In genetics I saw a work up for Marfan syndrome and Fragile X syndrome.

Early exposures are valuable. During the didactic year sometimes I forget that patients are people to.  

Male Urological / Rectal Exam

Like the pelvic exam for women we had our teaching session for the male urological and rectal exam. Here we learned how to examine the penis, how to examine for hernias and how to do a proper rectal exam to examine the prostate. This was an interesting experience and again the teaching assistants made us comfortable. I guess there will always be a first time for everything. 


I'll try my best to update more often :) until next time


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