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Self Reflection

Completing my general surgery rotation was unlike all the other rotations I have completed thus far. I did my surgery rotation at Metropolitan Hospital, which marked my first consistent experience in Manhattan since my undergraduate days. I started on the floors, where I spent my days with residents, medical students, and other PA students. Our mornings began very early with rounds on the patients, after which we would proceed to our assigned cases for the day. As a physician assistant student, it’s easy to be overlooked during rotations, but I was fortunate enough to have residents who made me feel welcome and doctors willing to teach.

I observed several surgeries, such as tonsillectomies, fundoplications, inguinal hernia repairs, thyroidectomies, and cholecystectomies. These procedures were fascinating, and I learned a lot by observing and participating in them. The residents and doctors involved me actively, even allowing me to perform instrument ties on a few patients. Apart from our operating room cases in the morning, we had clinic in the afternoons. Depending on the day of the week, we rotated through three different clinics: bariatric surgery, general surgery, and proctology. Additionally, we had a weekly conference where residents presented medical topics and discussed cases, providing a valuable learning experience and a change of scenery from the usual rounding and patient interactions.

In the last couple of weeks of this rotation, I spent my time in the surgery clinic, working closely with physician assistants who practically ran the clinics. We handled wound care, ENT, vascular surgery, colorectal surgery, breast clinic, and plastics. I particularly enjoyed wound care because the nurse practitioner would guide me, and I would change dressings and wrap wounds independently.

This rotation was a unique experience where I learned a great deal and saw personal growth. It was different from my other rotations, and I could see my skills becoming more refined. While I know I still have a long way to go, I noticed improvements in obtaining medical histories, my writing, and knowing what to look for or ask when seeing a patient. I’m looking forward to continuing my growth as I progress through the rest of the rotations.