Melanie Overcash, PA-S Melanie Overcash, PA-S

“You’re comfortable with babies, right?” It was a simple question being asked of me by my pediatrics preceptor on the first day of the rotation. I considered the different avenues I could go with my response:

“I’m great with babies!” was an option, and would certainly have put my preceptor at ease, but it was not the truth. I didn’t really know if I was comfortable with babies because I had never been around one before. (Somehow, I had gotten through 26 years of life without encountering anyone younger than two years old.)

So, I decided to go with the truth and responded, “I’ve actually never held a baby … or really ever been around a baby.” The response definitely caught my preceptor’s attention, and after the worried look receded, he reassuringly said, “Well, we’ll change that.”

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Paul Solis, PA-S Paul Solis, PA-S

PA school is like camp. I bet that’s not what you were expecting, so I’ll explain. See, I grew up going to summer camp and then became a counselor once I turned 18. Camp is my happy place. You get to meet new friends, learn new skills, and develop into a better human being. Some of my best friends are people I went to camp with and I firmly believe that’s where I learned how to be a good friend to others.  

In PA school I’ve already met tons of new friends. The neat thing is that my 88 new friends were all handpicked by a team of intelligent and passionate individuals that would later become our role models and mentors. We do fun things together outside of the classroom, like going to the beach, concerts, and sporting events. We’ve gone hiking and offered up our time to serve the community together. Needless to say, my fellow campers here at Camp DPAP (Duke Physician Assistant Program) are pretty cool. I don’t know everyone in my class as well as I’d like to yet but trust me when I say that everyone here has got what it takes.   

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Chrissy Roualdes, PA-S Chrissy Roualdes, PA-S

“Hey! Good mornin’! How’re you doin’?”

Every morning for three weeks while on my internal medicine rotation, one of my patients would greet me this way. I would arrive to the hospital before dawn, look through morning labs, and then head up to the floor to see how his night went.

This patient and I had established a little routine within the first few days of his admission to the floor. I would always happen to walk into his room as he was eating breakfast, he would offer me some of his food, and I would politely decline, stating, “No, thank you, I want you to eat it!” I would ask how the night went, take a listen to his heart and lungs, and perform an abdominal exam. Then, before I headed to the next patient’s room, I would open the blinds so he could watch that beautiful North Carolina sunrise.

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Rachel Solomon, PA-S Rachel Solomon, PA-S

A Warm Welcome to PA School

When I started PA school at Duke, I felt the normal flurry of excitement and anxiety that accompanies starting any new chapter of life. I was excited to meet my classmates and become a student again after a couple years working as a medical assistant, but I was slightly worried about the large size of the program. I came from a university with a small class size and real community feel and was concerned I would be just a number in a class of 90 students. However, orientation week allayed my fears and surpassed my expectations, as the faculty welcomed us into the Duke family and introduced us to the rich resources now at our fingertips. My classmates and the faculty are the friendliest, most accomplished and diverse group of people, and I am thrilled to have joined the Duke community. 

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Ann Lin, PA-S Ann Lin, PA-S

The things you don’t learn in the classroom

When I think back to didactic year, it’s a blur colored by a mad dash of learning pathophysiology, clinical guidelines, and diagnostics. You name it, we learned it. Outside of lecture, we even had the opportunity to learn different skills for interviewing and the theory behind effective clinical encounters through standardized patients. It was hectic, to say the least. But by the end of the year, I felt ready for clinical rotations.

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