The Beginning: Didactic Phase, Semester One

         With the first semester of PA school quickly approaching, I am steadily feeling more and more anxious (85% super excited/15% a bit nervous) to begin. Orientation is August 27th (less than two weeks away!!), and my classes begin one week later, on September 4th. Our orientation begins with a medical terminology exam, which I’ve been prepping for since January. Yes, I have likely over-studied, but I feel safer going in over-prepared than under-prepared. The medical terminology I’ve been studying includes everything from common prefixes, roots, suffixes and medical abbreviations/acronyms to terms associated with anatomy, physiology, diagnostic techniques/procedures and methods of treatment. Aside from my preliminary applications and interview back in November (2012), I feel that this terminology exam is a chance to make a good first impression, so I want to do as well as possible!

          I’ll be taking a total of fourteen credits this first semester. Only supplies I needed to buy were a white coat and a bunch of suit shirts (luckily my Dad’s shoes and ties all fit perfectly!). The course list for the semester includes Advanced Anatomy (lecture and lab), Behavioral Medicine (lecture and lab), our first (of three) Clinical Medicine class, and a class that overlooks the PA profession (focuses on current issues, medical ethics, future career options, etc.). This first semester, especially the Clinical Medicine class, focuses on dermatology (skin), HEENT (head, eyes, ears, nose, and throat), infectious diseases, and pulmonary medicine (lungs). The class schedule seems to be less packed than I originally expected, but I’ve heard the schedule is subject to change if we are falling behind on time in any of the classes. Let’s be honest though, any ‘free’ time I may have will likely be devoted to studying anyway!

          My goal is to post on a weekly basis, likely every Friday night, just to highlight a few memorable events from each week. I think it will be a nice weekly break for me, and it will definitely be fun to look back on all of my posts three years from now. Hopefully I can keep up with blogging as the semester progresses and the work load piles on. I may have to resort to one or two-sentence posts as midterm/final week nears, but we’ll see!

          While I’m preparing for my terminology exam, you can try to decode some of these common medical abbreviations/acronyms (answers to follow in next post, likely after my orientation):

1. HIPAA: _______ __________ Portability and ___________________ Act

2. ENT: _______, Nose, __________

3. IV: _________________

4. NSAID(s): Non-Steroidal ____-________________ Drugs

5. PRICE: Protection, ______, _____, Compression, _______________

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