I foresee my parents getting pissed at me in the near future for running off to my former undergrad to volunteer.
It’s kinda sad that this is the sort of thing I get in trouble for, but I’d definitely take this over anything else, haha.
I ran off in the middle of last week to visit people, and basically packed a bunch of activities in each day (lunch with Jon, a research study, dinner with Nadia/Liz on Wednesday | exploring Davis, trying to track down former professors to visit, walking all over downtown, volunteering at the UCD student farm (that was a fail because I had unexpected transportation issues :/ ), dinner + stargazing with Alex because he just finished an astronomy course on Thursday | lunch + dinner with Keat, Dio/Dori’s graduation party, frozen yogurt with Nadia on Friday | clinic on Saturday and a would-be late lunch with Nadia). “Would-be” because Nadia knows me better than I know myself (I prefer to be called ambitiously hopeful.).
F: Depending on whether or not clinic kicks me out, maybe we can grab a late lunch on Saturday before I leave?
N: Okay! What time are you planning on leaving clinic*?
*(Clinic is located 30 minutes away.)
F: I’m thinking of leaving at 1 p.m. :O
N: Alright, so I’ll see you at 3:30 then?
The last time we had lunch plans after clinic was probably back in Fall 2010. (There are a couple reasons for this, but me being swamped at clinic and forgetting to leave/feeling terrible for leaving because I don’t want to ditch my patients is definitely one of em’.) At the time, I’d planned on getting lunch with my roommates at 1-ish, but received sad phone calls from them saying that one of em’ had to leave by 1:30 and that they were already at the cafe. “Stop saving sick people and come eat with us, Farrah!”
Truth be told, I was a little apprehensive about going back because I was kinda afraid they’d kick me out since I hadn’t turned in my forms yet. :[ Luckily, I was not, so I assumed my old PA role until one of my friends (we used to volunteer as PA’s there, but in different factions, so to speak) came in and saw me. This was kinda a big deal because basically everyone I’ve ever known there (other than the preceptors) has graduated.
K: Wait, hold on, you’re in med school! You should be seeing patients with me! We’re short on MS’s today!
F: o_o Uh, is that even allowed?
K: Yeah, let’s go!
I negotiated a sort of middle ground because I didn’t want the clinic to get in trouble, haha. I wrote up one SOAP note for a patient and kinda explained my situation to our head preceptor, so he signed off on the chart for me. The fact that he signed it gave me some confidence in the sense that (a) he didn’t throw me out even though I technically wasn’t supposed to be there, and (b) my SOAP note didn’t completely suck or he probably would’ve told me that it needed major improvement.
So I “shadowed” my friend and we saw several patients together. Since there were PA’s that were shadowing or doing their practicals, I had to keep reminding myself to not take over their job (it was pretty difficult, seeing as how that’s all I’ve done there for the past 4 years). It did help to pretend that I didn’t know what the patient was saying, since it gave me some time to gather my thoughts and think about how to best proceed with the information I’d been given. I’d fully planned on just being a PA while I was there and had no idea I’d get to see my “own” patients. *-* Our preceptor told me that if I got a letter from the dean at my school and sent it over to the one there, I could really actually see my own patients while I was there. (That’s currently in the works, although I’m supposed to go through volunteer services and the earliest they can give me an orientation date = the day I leave for WV again. I’m really, really hoping that if the liability stuff is covered, they’ll just be cool with the rest, because this would be beyond the realms of amazing.)
I wrote up SOAP notes for several patients and we co-conducted the patient interviews. Of all the things I’ve missed about Davis, clinic is definitely in my top 5. Working with them helped remind me of why I chose to go into medicine. It’s not that I was having any doubts about med school, since I honestly don’t have much to complain about (it treats me well), but just being there for a day kickstarted my motivation to study again (so when the preceptor pimps me, I don’t look like a useless piece of crap). I’ve missed this so much. I learn best by doing, and application of knowledge is a little hard to come by these days, when most of what I’m doing involves studying lectures/books. There is no other place that helps me to learn this much.
When we were presenting to one of the physicians, Khai introduced himself and then me.
K: And this is Farrah; she’s a second year medical student in West Virginia.
Dr. K: How come I’ve seen you before?
F: (Oh em gee, you remember me!?) I used to volunteer here as a PA.
I was really flattered, haha. We cycle through 20-ish new PA’s every fall and spring, and all come in on different Saturdays, so I’m not really even sure how many times I’ve seen him before. Kinda cool that he still recognizes me? ? UCD doesn’t take DO students for audition rotations (which probably means I have about a 0.01% chance of getting into their residency program), but I’m hoping to apply to a number of the neighboring ones.
I also successfully completed my very first blood draw on the first try!!! (My school hasn’t taught me how yet, hence the excitement.) Khai may well be the bravest friend I have. He not only offered to teach me how–he also offered himself up as a guinea pig.
1) Look for the vein you want to use. Give them water to drink if they’re dehydrated/their veins are hard to locate. Use a tourniquet and have them make a fist and squeeze a couple times (more of the vein isn’t showing).
2) Use an alcohol swab to clean the area (circular motion, in to out). Allow to dry for 30-ish seconds.
3) Remove tourniquet. Attach other end of butterfly needle to test tube holder.
4) Tourniquet again. Tap the vein to encourage dilation. Line the needle up with the vein and insert with the bevel up. Once you see the flash, insert the test tube.
It was nerve-wracking since I had an audience of about 15 people (“Random super-old-PA-turned-MS is learning how to do her first blood draw and her subject/victim is our MS Co-D?! No way! Let’s watch!!!”). ;_; Made me hella nervous, but holy crap, I did it!!!
Nadia’s prediction was almost spot-on though. I ended up leaving clinic at 3:30. ._.
At present, I have about every limb crossed that this all works out because I’d so, so love to be able to do this.