Sunday, July 22, 2018

4th Rotation, Week 7-Pittsburgh,PA


I have finished my last week at UPMC Presbyterian-Autopsy.  Each student gets 11 weeks total of autopsy experience during their clinical year. Half of the class gets all 11 weeks at Ruby which is WVU’s hospital and the other half gets 7 weeks at Presby and 4 weeks at Ruby. The main difference between the two locations is that Ruby’s pathologists on autopsy service is also a Medical Examiner which means he can perform medicolegal autopsies and collect forensic evidence. 

 As Pathologists’ Assistants we are able to perform autopsies from start to finish.  During these rotations, we learn evisceration, which is the removal of the organs from the body, prosection, which is the examination of the organs after they are removed from the body, and how to write the reports which explain the findings.  There are many different ways to eviscerate.  Some hospitals remove them organ by organ, some do them by functional block (thoracic, abdominal, pelvic), and some remove them all at once still attached.  There are names for each of these methods which I won't bore you with, but at Presby, we removed the organs all at once still attached, except for the pelvic block which we removed separately.

In hospital autopsies, the next of kin must authorize the autopsy or else it cannot be done. On the authorization form they can select which type they want performed which can be a brain only, chest only (heart and lungs), or full (with or without removal of brain).  During my rotation, I participated in 17 autopsies and they consisted of at least one from each type.  At Presby, there is a pathologist on autopsy service, a pathology resident, a PA student (me), and a morgue technician in the room during each case.  We assist in the entire process from start to finish and I really felt like I learned a lot.  Some of my classmates performed the entire autopsy by themselves when they were super busy, but there wasn’t need during my rotation because we were a little slower than normal.  Everyone there is super nice and more than happy to teach you! I’m going to miss it there a lot!

From here, I am headed to UPMC Shadyside!  They are a bone/soft tissue and genitourinary specialty center so I am excited about the type of specimens I will get to gross and I’m happy to get back to surgical pathology in general…I’ve missed grossing!

Monday, June 4, 2018

3rd Rotation, Week 7-Charleston, WV


I have finished my time at Thomas and I am sad to see it go.  I loved this rotation for more reasons than one! The histotechs were great, the doctors were so nice and helpful, and I was near my family so I got to spend a lot of time with them!  I feel as if I continued to grow and this rotation and with my skills and comfort.  During my last few weeks, I had a few “new to me specimens” such as an eye removed because it was painful and a large skin excision for melanoma from the base of the foot.  I had grossed larger skin excisions before, but this one was really big which added a challenge.  I also prepared a few different specimens for frozen sections such as breast margins and oriented skins so that was pretty neat!

Thomas is a great rotation for learning because you are able to take your time most days. If there is a specimen you have never done, it is okay to stop and take your time! The work will get done!  Most students come here with a partner so I was worried I wouldn’t get the work done by myself, but I had no problem.

Another awesome thing about this rotation is that they provide you with a 3-bedroom house which is only about 5 minutes from the hospital.  The kitchen has everything you need such as a coffee pot, dishes, silverware, and pots and pans.  There is a washer and dryer and even cable.  Previous students have kept a binder full of take-out menus and suggestions for fun things to do around town.  I am from Charleston so to me it was just home, but if you are new to town I suggest getting out and exploring! It is a fun town with a growing food scene!

I am back in Pittsburgh for my rotation at UPMC-Presbyterian for Autopsy so I will blog about that in a week or two!

Monday, May 7, 2018

3rd Rotation, Week 4-Charleston, WV


I am almost half-way through my 3rd rotation at Thomas Memorial Hospital in Charleston, WV.  I have really enjoyed it so far!  The day starts at 7:30 AM (which is earlier than most), I gross until about lunch time and I am typically done by 2:00 PM! I have grossed a couple “new-to-me” specimens such as a mandible for squamous cell carcinoma, a submandibular gland for tumor, and an ear for squamous cell carcinoma! I have also got a lot more placentas, uteri, and colons.  The histotechs normally cut the frozen at Thomas, but they will let you cut them if you ask...so make sure you ask! I have enjoyed the practice, because they get a lot of thyroids for frozen, and besides diagnosing it, I basically do everything from start to finish.  Everyone here is very nice and helpful so I am having a good time.  I am from Charleston so I have enjoyed spending a lot of time with my family…and free home cooked meals every night! 

Around the middle of April, I began applying for jobs.  It is still a little early but I thought I might as well start applying for the practice.  I think it will be a long process of finding the right job in the right location.  My husband will graduate from WVU in December as well so it makes it a little more complicated knowing we both need an open position at a job we like, in a city we like.  It is still super exciting to think about either way! I will definitely blog once I have found a job so (much) later in the year I might have some more to share about the job searching process.

I still have 4 weeks here at Thomas, but I can tell I am going to miss it here! I will blog again at the end of the rotation to talk about the second half!