Life As A New Grad: 10 Weeks Update

IMG_5373I’ve been at my job now for 10 weeks and let me tell you, it has NOT gotten any easier.

The past few clinic days have been pretty much a cluster of ‘OMG. WTF. WHAT AM I DOING!?’ moments unlike this smiling photo taken on my first day in the OR!
Last Friday in smell clinic, I saw my very first patient with HYPEROSMIA (heightened sense of smell). Uh yeah, okay. Almost all of the other patients I’ve seen have the OPPOSITE problem, HYPOSMIA (reduced ability to smell). We forwarded the patient’s MRI to our be read by our radiologist for a second opinion. Interestingly enough,  even my doc says that he’s only seen a handful of patients with hyperosmia! Well isn’t that fun!
The other day in our peds clinic, I saw 2 syndromic patients back to back. A kid with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) that came in with moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) not realizing that kids with PWS have poor muscle tone and that could be one of the reasons that cause his OSA. It’s just one of those situations I wish I was more comfortable with the syndrome to understand the major risks involved and whether or not the patient would be an ideal candidate for surgery. In the end, it was not a big deal, we posted him for surgery to have his tonsils removed.
Then after that visit, I saw a child with VACTERL association. Um. WHAT!?
VACTERL stands for: vertebral defects, anal atresia, cardiac defects, trachea-esophageal fistula, renal anomalies, and limb abnormalities.
Earlier this afternoon, I had a mother call for their child’s sleep study results. I figured that was an easy task. I’ve given a few results over the phone already, shouldn’t be a big deal, right? WRONG! Turns out in this particular child did not have obstructive OSA (commonly due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids), instead, their concern was more of a central sleep apnea issue. Further workup of a brain MRI will need to be ordered to rule out a possible chiari malformation (also known as Arnold-Chiari malformation). The conversation did not go well over the phone. I ended up freaking out mom more than I intended to.
You’ve heard me say it before, “fake it ’til you make it!” It’s certainly easier said than done. I don’t even know if I should laugh about it or cry. The struggle IS REAL, guys! It’s something new everyday. I’m learning a new disorder or something that isn’t even necessarily an ENT complaint as the three cases I’ve shared above.
They say the analogy of PA school is like drinking out of a firehose…
I say, life as a new grad is like drinking out of a pool. Is it any better? I sure don’t miss hitting the books daily, but it certainly isn’t as easy breezy as you may think!
The transition from PA student to early PA career is proving to be more challenging than I thought. Juggling a good work-life balance, time management, staying on top of my readings, having realistic expectations…the list goes on.
Even when I start having doubts in my abilities, I know I can stick to what I know best: staying optimistic, having faith and working hard!
It may be a bumpy road these next few months, but I’m putting on my seat belt and ready to get the show on the road!
Here’s a little pep talk for anyone else that is also on the struggle bus…

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