By Tara Ford (PA), February 2014
I attended a full time 2-year PA program. During the first year, we had classes Monday through Friday and sometimes on Sundays. Some days were long (12 hours) and some days were short (4 hours). During the second year, we completed nine 5-week rotations at different hospitals, clinics and private doctor’s offices.
Bouncing around every 5 weeks to a new facility was challenging in many ways. You had to adjust to a new location, new schedule, new specialty, new patient population and most intimidating was your new supervising physician. Your supervising physician could make or break your experience.
I have to be honest. I wasn't looking forward to my pediatrics rotation. The thought of dealing with cranky kids all day, every day for five weeks, did not appeal to me at all. In fact, the crying and screaming I encountered during my primary care rotation doing routine physical exams on children was downright frightening! I remember thinking to myself, "Who in their right minds would want to treat sick, projectile vomiting children all day long?"
I remember there being a lot of negative feedback from my fellow students about their rotation in pediatrics. A lot of my classmates found it to be a boring rotation. They observed more than they performed. Many of them felt unchallenged. I tried really hard to keep an open mind but dreaded the start of that rotation.
Well, despite the fact that I encountered screaming babies and vomiting children, I loved my pediatric rotation! It was mostly because my supervising physician LOVED being a pediatrician. He loved his patients and their parents. He had been practicing for 25 years at that time and treated every child as though they were his own. If I had to compare him to a celebrity, he was a mix between Larry David and Mr. Rogers! The children adored him and parents respected him. I thought he was incredibly inspiring and he quickly became one of my role models. So although I was puked on, peed on and made a lot of babies cry it was a fantastic learning experience.
Although I haven’t worked in a pediatric office since that experience (and have no interest in the future!), I often reflect on the lessons I learned from the pediatrician. He taught me to be kind, be patient and to do what I love. Even though you may encounter a rotation that you are not fond of try to keep an open mind and you may be surprised by the outcome!
About the Author: Tara Ford is a physician assistant and guest blogger for GradSchools.com