I just spent the last month on rotation in the ER. I have to admit, it was one of my favorite rotations! I am located in a smaller town, so I didn’t see many traumas and no gunshot wounds. However, I did see a lot of patients and the most common complaints included: gastroenteritis, chest pain, stroke symptoms, hypertension, sepsis, lacerations, suicide ideation, and broken bones.
One of my favorite things about the rotation was having a preceptor that was an awesome teacher and was willing to let students practice procedures. Suturing lacerations was my most frequent procedure. Even though we practice suturing in PA school, the first time you sew on an actual person feels so scary and nerve wracking, but at some point, you realize you know what you are doing and it is silly to be so nervous. Surprisingly, the patients are really encouraging and often awed at what you are doing.
Trauma was my least favorite thing about the ER. I don’t like that feeling of life being on the edge and having no idea what to do first. The good news is that the ER staff is a well-ordered team when a trauma patient comes in, and each person is doing their part to assess the situation and work on saving a life.
As with all my rotations, it starts off as a scary world of an unknown area of medicine, but ends up feeling like it wasn’t so scary after all.