PA Student: Inject Thyself

Posted By: Paul   |   School Life   |   2 Comments

One of the best parts of being a PA student is all the fun new things you get to do; today, we got to give ourselves shots.

I know, that wasn’t what you expected, but it wasn’t that bad, and there was a point to it.  Get it?  A point?

Wow, tough crowd…

Anyway, the pictures and video you see here are from the end of our lecture on diabetes education – teaching diabetics how to manage their disease.  PA students do a ton of reading, hear a many lectures, and even get hands-on learning during class.  The rest of the hands-on learning occurs in our preceptorships, so all in all, we do a lot of learning.

It turns out that many doctors and PAs are reluctant to begin patients on injectable insulin because they fear that patients won’t want to inject themselves.  Problem is, this keeps many patients on oral antidiabetic medications for too long.  Instead of getting the injectable insulin that often is a better choice, they continue taking more and more pills – pills that become less effective as the disease progresses.

I should add here that no PA students were forced to do this, and most of us had fund doing it.  Some of the biggest guys in our class were too scaredy about needles to do it; we’re a strange group, I guess.    But insulin needles are thin and short, and the dose (amount of fluid) is quite small too.  This makes most insulin injections pretty painless. We also did finger sticks to test our own blood sugar with handheld glucose monitors.

How painless?  Well, that’s what our lecturer wanted us to know firsthand.  The video of my PA student Karina shows how self-injecting with .1 ml of saline subcutaneously is done.  Blowing the whole point of the exercise, you’ll see that Karina thought it wasn’t so painless.  I didn’t think it was any big deal, buy hey, we’re all diffferent.

Next Post: suturing class


  1. Aaron April 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    I like how Karina just throws her used needle down on the table… nice biohazard control there…lol.
    I started administering my own allergen treatment, doing it myself to save $20 per office visit two times per week. The needles are a 1 cc 27ga x .5″, almost identical to an insulin syringe. It is about 80-90% painless. Most times I cannot even feel any pain, just pressure from the needle. Granted, it’s not everday, but 4 shots a week. I used to feel so bad for my grandmother having to inject herself everyday, but it really is not that bad, more of an inconvenience than a painful experience.
    It’s the 14 ga 2″ IM injection that I’ll cry on!
    Now that I’m shadowing a PA I see how much of a part of their practice (in a rural clinic) is diabetes management. It’s crazy.

    • Paul April 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm - Reply

      Ya, I made her put it in the sharps box, believe me.

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