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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Courtney Decker Courtney Decker

Name: Courtney Decker

Position: Communications Intern

Division/Program in department: Chair’s Office

Start date: April 23, 2018 (as summer intern), then August 24, 2018 (as permanent intern)

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Anna Afonso, M.D., MPH Anna Afonso, M.D., MPH

I still remember my first month of intern year — waking up in the middle of the night to check patient charts, labs, vitals and online resources. The transition from medical student to doctor frightened me, and I spent many nights reading through charts moment by moment to reassure myself that my patients were all tucked away and doing well through the night.

When I look back on “intern me,” I wish I could tell myself to go to sleep, among many other things that would have made me a much happier and more effective resident. I have compiled a brief list of my personal Top 10 pieces of advice for the new intern, in my hopes that it may help others in their transition from medical student to doctor.

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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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Christina Makarushka, MPH Christina Makarushka, MPH

Name: Christina Makarushka

Position: Research Program Leader

Division/Program in department: Research Unit

Start date: Sept. 1, 2018

Years at Duke: 4.5 years

Where I worked prior to accepting this role: Duke Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research

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