As you can see from the graduation invitation above, we will complete our 2-year physician assistant school odyssey in just 12 days.  I have mixed feelings about it.

What’s Going Through My Head

  • How can it be over already — I don’t know everything yet.
  • Thank heaven it’s over; I’m not sure how much more of this I can take.
  • Now I can learn what I want to learn – sweet!
  • Man, oh man, am I going to miss all of my classmates.  We’ve become so tight going through all this. 
  • Where’s that old resume?
  • I wonder what specialties my classmates will go into.  For many of us it will be primary care, but for many it won’t.
  • Memories of some wicked good times.
  • Memories of some wicked stressful times.
  • Malpractice insurance?  Salary?  My own prescription pad?  Okay, that’s just weird.
  • What’s next?

What’s Left

For the final few weeks I’ll be doing two things: completing assignments (Yes, up to the bitter end, my friends), and (strangely) experiencing the specialty that I probably know best: psychiatry.  My psychiatric rotation will be at Mather VA Hospital Inpatient Psychiatric Unit in Mather, CA.  I did my ER and Inpatient rotations there as well, so I’m familiar with the setting, the electronic medical record system, and even the patients.  My stay there will be short – just 10 days – but I’ve had plenty of the psych before, so I don’t mind it being so short.  I used to work as an EMT transporting psychiatric patients (Welfare and Institutions Code §5150‘s), and later as a “Crisis Specialist” at a large county hospital.   My job was interviewing and assessing patients who were experiencing a psychiatric crisis.  These were the much the same 5150 patients I had trucked around as an EMT, along with many voluntary patients who were depressed, psychotic, anxious, and suicidal, among other things.

Also, it’s my turn for a common PA student dilemma: what do you do when you rotate through a specialty with which you are familiar — and maybe even possess some skill — because of prior work experience?  Do you share this with your rotation preceptors?  I’ve chosen to remain mum about my past experience.  I figure it’s better to set their expectations low and surprise them than to set them high and disappoint.  Anyway, it should be a great experience at Mather.  I’ll keep you posted.

What’s Next For Inside PA Training?

I’ve had a number of readers ask me if I intend to continue publishing Inside PA Training, and the answer is an unequivocal YES.  I will continue to write about the education and training of physician assistants, and maybe even that of certified, licensed PAs.  The learning doesn’t stop when you graduate.  In fact, one of my big sibs at school was fond of saying that “The real learning starts when you graduate.”  In the near future, I’m hoping to delve deeper into the work and world of PAs, which should include (since I will have a little more time to devote to it) the IPAT smartphone App (stalled in development), more podcast episodes, more articles, an ebook, and maybe even another blog with a different emphasis. Yes, I’m busy, but I love what I do.

So as my mom used to say before finals, “It’s just one last push, honey.”  Only Mom could make labor pains into something to look forward to…[subscribe2]