It’s hard to believe that I’ve been working as a PA for 6 months already!
It still feels pretty surreal at times.
So how have things changed since I’ve first started?
Well… our practice is growing! I went from working with 5 different attendings (3 mainly: plastics/rhinology/otology) to now working with all 7 attendings (2 rhinologists, 2 peds, 2 otologists, and 1 facial plastics/reconstructive).
Just recently, with the addition of our new peds otolaryngologist, I now get to work in our peds clinic (roughly 3x/week). I’m okay with this because I was previously terrified of children (maybe their parents more). Now I’m learning that peds days are pretty fun since you get to goof off with the kiddos!
There are advantages/disadvantages working with so many subspecialists. When you meet an ENT PA, they’re either 1) working with adults or peds ONLY, not both OR
2) they practice general ENT or one specific subspecialty and not ALL aspects of ENT.
Working in all these specialties is great since it adds variety to your schedule, but at times it is difficult to devote your time to all the subspecialties.
To break down ENT training for you: 4 years of med school + 5 years ENT residency + 1 year fellowship in that specific subspecialty.
I’m still waiting to meet with the department to find out more about my 6 months evaluation, but I know that I still have a long way to go!
One of my biggest weakness that I’ve discovered on this journey is my lack of patience. I’m eager to advance in my career and find myself getting so frustrated when I feel like my knowledge and skills are not there.
As of late, I’ve been beating myself up for not mastering how to perform a proper nasal endoscopy. Just like with any new skill, it requires time and patience (i.e. learning how to ride a bike). As much as I love my colleagues and appreciate them, I don’t want to beg them to volunteer their noses for me to practice…and it’s not something that you can really improve on doing by yourself.
Things have been so bad that I think I’ve actually developed a phobia to performing nasal endoscopies (ha, my eyes are rolling as I’m reminded of my awful scoping skills on a patient yesterday).
So I’ll be brutally honest. Things have not been easy! Reflecting on these past few weeks, I don’t think I was even honest or realistic about what I was getting myself into. My first month, I easily stayed at work ’til 7:30-8 every night trying to finish my notes. It was AWFUL. Things are slightly better now, but unfortunately, the job doesn’t end when the last patient leaves the clinic. You’re left finishing up notes, following orders, pre-charting for the next day..etc.
Another reason why being a new grad is tough is the fact that you want to know that you’re doing well and unfortunately, the reality is.. in medicine, YOU HAVE TO BE THE ONE to pick yourself up from the ground. No one will tell you how awesome or great of a work you’re doing. You will not always get the feedback you’re looking for. Maybe that’s why medicine is so humbling?
I’m reminded by my colleagues that the experience and knowledge will come with time. I know it will and I look forward to it.
In the meantime, I just have to continue to give it my best. I know that the office staff and attendings have appreciated what I have to offer so far. Things that I can control, I will (i.e. finishing my notes nightly, taking additional calls/in-basket messages, continue to work hard and be eager to take each day as a new learning opportunity), and the things that I cannot, I look forward to passing that hurdle when I get there.
I’ll update on my new grad journey at the 1-year mark!
“I am learning to trust the journey even when I do not understand it.” – Mila Bron