Friday, December 21, 2018

Goodbye Morgantown

I know it has been awhile since I have posted, but life has been crazy in these last few months of school.

Let’s start with my autopsy rotation at Ruby Memorial Hospital.  I had 4 weeks here and I assisted on more autopsies than I had during my 7 weeks at UPMC. That was a combination of UPMC being slower than normal and Ruby being busier than normal, but I was super pleased with the quantity of cases. Ruby started accepted cases from the Human Gift Registry which is something I wrote about last year. It is basically an organization where people can donate their bodies to science. Typically, they end up in a medical programs’ lab for students to practice dissection, but every now and then there are bodies that would not be ideal for that use, so they started sending them to the morgue so the PA students and pathology residents could get more practice performing autopsies. I think this is a great addition because some weeks and months are slower than others and we take what we get during our rotation.  Joy is the PA who works for Ruby and is in charge of the morgue and she is a fantastic teacher.  I learned so much and gained a lot of confidence working with her during my rotation.  I was there with another class mate which made the rotation fun as well!

After I was done with Ruby autopsy, I went to my last rotation at Ruby Memorial Hospital in the gross room.  I am not going to lie, I was nervous going into this rotation because they are busier than most places, and I was rotating with my teachers who know what they have taught us and they expect a lot out of us.  I ended up loving this rotation.  We were very busy and I got a lot of larger cases.  I basically checked off every specimen on my list that I didn’t get the chance to do up to that point.  You also get the opportunity to cut frozen sections here, but my bit of advice to any future or current students who may be reading this: take the initiative and ask to help, they are not going to invite you most days because they are too busy.  Pay attention to when they come in and request to do it. Carie and Trevor are in the gross room with you and they are awesome and great teachers.

During this last rotation I got a job!  Myself and my husband are headed down to Decatur, GA which is basically Atlanta! I am working for a private pathology group and I will rotate through 3 area hospitals.  Everyone seems super nice and I enjoyed my interview a lot! I am super excited!

Graduation was this Saturday so PA school is over!  The program had a nice dinner for us on Friday night before the ceremony and we got to say our goodbyes then! I attached a picture of our class with the president of WVU, Dr. Gee!  I think going back to PA school, and specifically choosing WVU as the program I attended is one of the best decisions I have ever made! All the stress and hard work is totally worth it! The director and staff of our program are awesome and they really prepare you for a wonderful career!  If anyone is reading this and trying to decide on whether or not to go to PA school or if WVU is the right choice for you, I am here to tell you that you will not be unhappy with your choice! I am going to miss it a lot!

I also PASSED my board certification exam last night so I am officially a board certified Pathologists’ Assistant!!! I have spent the past week packing up our apartment and cleaning and I am writing this while I am waiting on the management from our apartment complex to arrive and do our final walk through! So goodbye Morgantown, WV! It’s been real, but I am off to new things.
            -Molly Honeycutt, MHS, PA (ASCP)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

UPMC Children's and AAPA Conference

I finished my rotation at UPMC Children’s recently.  Everyone in the class either gets to have 3 or 4 weeks.  Here, we get to see a few specimens you wouldn’t anywhere else because they specialize in pediatrics.  For example, I grossed a heart transplant case from a teenager for dilated cardiomyopathy. We also get the traditional routine cases, and because they do pediatric surgeries, this means a lot of appendixes.  I also got the opportunity to observe 3 pediatric autopsies which was really cool because they are a little different from adult cases due to the size and the cause of death is normally different than the typical adult hospital cases.  During my rotation, they hosted a lecture and lab for the medical students where they identified different congenital heart defects on actual specimens so that was another really neat thing to see.  We learn about the congenital heart defects in class, but it is pretty cool to hold the example in your hand and see it.

Myself and my classmate Jessica attended the American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants conference in New Orleans the last week of September.  We were selected as the class delegates for the WVU program.  This means we are given small tasks from AAPA during the year (nothing crazy), and we are tasked with writing a manuscript for publication and presenting a poster during the conference.  We have not heard if our manuscripts were chosen to be published, but we did present our posters at the conference. AAPA uses the poster presentation to provide continuing education credits for its members because there are quiz questions on each of the posters for them to answer.  Attending the conference is pretty neat!  We got to meet delegates from the other programs, meet PA’s from across the country, and attend the lectures which were all pretty interesting.  We mixed a little bit of play into our trip and did some sight-seeing during the evening and ate a lot of great food! We had a really good time and it was an awesome experience.  If any future students are reading this, I highly recommend trying to become the student delegate.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

5th Rotation, Week 5- UPMC Shadyside

I have finished week 5 at UPMC Shadyside and I have loved it here! They are a genitourinary and a bone/soft tissue specialty hospital.  There are two PA’s at this facility. One grosses all day and is available to answer questions from the student and residents, and the other PA is on frozen section service so what they get done during the day varies depending on the surgery schedule. 

I have grossed a lot of “firsts” here!  I got to gross a leg amputation for a giant cell tumor, a portion of femur for osteosarcoma, a few soft tissue sarcomas, a testicle for tumor, a bunch of kidneys, and a ton of bladders! For a while, all the bladder specimens consisted of cystoprostatectomies from a male where they take the bladder and the prostate in one specimen so I have gotten really good at those, but this week I got two cystohysterectomies!  Both of these specimens consisted of the bladder, uterus, bilateral fallopian tubes and ovaries, and a portion of anterior vaginal wall!  I was pretty excited to get that specimen under my belt as well!  The genitourinary specimens get triaged and fixed overnight.  For kidneys and testicles, that means we bivalve them and place them back in formalin.  For bladders, we measure, ink, open, probe the ureters, and pin out the specimen on a cork board.  Here at Shadyside, we get a lot of experience grossing and triaging which is a good skill to have!

I can’t believe it is getting closer to graduation already!  My classmates and I have been having job interviews by phone and onsite! I know of at least one person who has even accepted a job offer which is super exciting!  It’s that time of year so more exciting things are going to keep on happening!  Keep us in your thoughts as big decisions are being made!