Coming into this rotation at StatCare – Astoria, I was ready for a much heavier volume of patients when compared to internal medicine. As the pandemic continues to become endemic, we saw the number of patients coming in daily also ease up. Overall, I had a great time on this rotation. I really appreciated the urgent care setting because of the wide variety of cases. Of course, there were a lot of COVID-19 rapid tests, but in the same shift, I came across orthopedic complaints, UTIs, ENT, and respiratory complaints, among many more.
While I initially thought I might not enjoy urgent care, I found that this was a setting that I would definitely enjoy working in eventually in conjunction with working in the emergency department. I feel that working in a center like this to keep skills sharp would be beneficial to my long-term development as a provider. I attribute this change of mindset to my main preceptor, Andrew Liang, PA-C. Over the five weeks, Andrew would make a point to prepare mini-lectures on an array of topics that he felt, in his experience as an ED provider, would benefit me going forward. From common workups, can’t miss diagnoses, and crash courses in suturing and EKGs, Andrew did all that he could to ensure that I left each day learning something, regardless of patient volume.
In efforts to solidify my patient interviewing and presenting skills, I was instructed to go see new patients on my own to triage and interview. From here, I would come back to our provider room to present and share my thoughts for treatment and plan. In these situations, Andrew would then explain whether or not he agreed with my plan and explain what he would do differently and why. Doing this would force me to become comfortable being able to justify my plan in a much more time-sensitive sense compared to when I was on internal medicine and patients were not being discharged at such a fast pace.
Because there were days when the patient census was very low, it gave me the opportunity to work on my technique in doing a full history and physical exam. I was able to work with any patient on the board and do a comprehensive exam and write-up. While I did this, I do think I should have taken the opportunity to work on writing SOAP notes. As we did not have as extensive experience with SOAPs throughout the didactic phase, this is something I need to work on developing over my next two rotations. Being that my next two rotations are in emergency medicine and surgery, these will be perfect areas for working on this.