Kristin MorganThe second year of PA school frees us to fly out of our OHSU nest to clinic sites around Oregon, Washington, and Idaho with the knowledge of first year tucked beneath our feathers.  Although rather intimidating, the experience of learning the art of survival every 5 weeks and realizing the potential for learning is extremely rewarding.

Currently, I am in my 3rd rotation of clinical year.  I chose to do an elective in Dermatology and found myself at a fast paced clinic in Boise, Idaho.  My preceptor typically sees between 60 and 80 patients a day, which certainly provokes anxiety and exhaustion.  However, the volume of patients allows me to view the same disease states over and over again with a few not so common ones thrown in. Dermatology, I have found, does not always look like the perfect pictures in our textbook.  The exposure to this number of cases is an exceptionally valuable opportunity.

I’ve realized that rotations can be approached in different ways- similar to jumping into a pool of ice cold water.  You can ease yourself  in starting only with your big toe, or you can just jump.  I certainly jumped into this rotation (I might have been pushed a little, though).  By the end of the first week, I was suturing an excisional biopsy on the jawline of a young woman- something I never thought I would be doing now sitting in the classroom one year ago.

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Ever wondered what life is like as a student at OHSU? What does it take to become a researcher? Just how gross is gross anatomy? Welcome to the blog that answers these – and many other – questions. It’s students writing first-hand about their commitment to careers in science and health care. It’s honest about the challenges as well as the joys. It’s not always pretty. But it is our story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And please, let us know what you think.

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