Week 31: Home Sweet Home

          Well, classes have officially begun, and I surprisingly feel like I never left school back in May. Did I really have an entire summer off? Merely a three-day school week, and those three months have already become a blur. Three days of classes, yet my weekend already warrants a twelve-hour study schedule…something I guess I’ll have to get used to early on in the semester! But, I’m actually happy to be back, and ready to take on these new courses.

          In the three days of classes I had this week, six new courses began including Surgery, Clinical Skills, Geriatrics, Health Promotion/Disease Prevention (HPDP), Obstetrics/Gynecology (OB/GYN), and Research. In Surgery, we began by focusing on the history of surgery from ancient times to present day, in addition to complications that may ensue in the first week after operating on a patient. The first half of the semester will focus on general surgery, and then we will cover specific surgical specialties including orthopedic surgery, ophthalmic (eye) surgery, and cardiothoracic (heart and lungs) surgery. I’m super excited to learn about all of these surgical techniques! In Clinical Skills (the physical exam course), we learned how to physically examine a pregnant patient, from determining the extent of cervical dilation prior to the patient’s giving birth, to detecting the heart rate and position of the developing fetus using abdominal ultrasound. In Geriatrics, we focused on the aging process and changes that occur in the structure and functioning of various body systems as one ages, in addition to the nutritional advice that we should offer such patients. For our OB/GYN course, we spend seven weeks of the semester learning about each component (obstetrics and gynecology) of the specialty. This week we began the obstetrics (pregnancy) component, where we focused on the events of conception, how to measure the size of the mother’s pelvis to ensure ease of delivery, and various recommendations for medical screening tests in women (Pap smear, mammography, bone density…etc). So, this first week of PA school was unusually jam-packed, but semester three is definitely notable for it’s speed and LARGE quantity of content.   

          Luckily, this week went well and didn’t come as much of a shock as the first week of my first semester came one year ago. In fact, if I had a first week like this last year, I probably would have lost my mind! It’s amazing how much of a difference one year makes. My goal is to keep up the blog posts on a weekly basis, but as is already apparent, I may be posting on a different day each week, whenever I need a good break from the books. Already one week down…just fourteen more to go…

Question of the week: Late in pregnancy, a female’s cervix may dilate as much as ____ centimeters leading up to delivery.

Pre-semester quiz answers: True; Eardrum; Blue; Inflammatory bowel disease; False

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