First things first… graduation countdown is officially at 49 days. FORTY NINE DAYS!!! I have also officially registered for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certification Exam) and will be taking it bright and early on January 7th. I still remember when I got my acceptance letter and it’s hard to believe this time in PA school is coming to an end, but then again I’m SO ready. I just finished up my 11th rotation which happened to be one of my favorites so let’s take a peek into the life of dermatology!
I have been interested in this field ever since starting PA school so I knew early on that I wanted it as an elective. I did the legwork and established a new site for Campbell students in Charlotte. I knew I would like it but y’all… I absolutely LOVED it and I could totally see myself being a dermatology PA. Hair, skin, nails… sign me up!
I find skin conditions very fascinating and believe that skin cancer prevention is so important. Whether it’s shaving off a suspicious mole, doing an annual skin exam, cutting out a cyst, or freezing off a wart, there are SO many procedures to perform. I love being hands-on and this is one of the reasons why I knew I would love this field.
I love derm because I love providing education to patients. If something pops up on your skin, you tend to notice because it’s an external thing. People want to know what’s going on and even though many things they might notice are benign (like seborrheic keratoses) it’s important to give them reassurance on the benign things and to educate them about their skin so they know what to look for in the future.
Another advantage of working at my office was getting the chance to see MOHS surgery. You’ve probably heard of this term but just in case you haven’t, MOHS is done when a patient has basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma (the non-melanoma skin cancers) usually on the face, but can be done anywhere on the body. A dermatologist takes out tiny bits of tissue and immediately looks at them under a microscope to see if all the cancer is there and determine if there are free margins (aka make sure there’s not more left in the skin). This is done to conserve the skin because some skin cancers on the face are larger than you’d think, so the idea is to get rid of the cancer by taking the least amount of tissue.
Ps. Sorry this might be a little graphic for some, but I just wanted y’all to visualize what I was talking about!
The reconstruction is the amazing part. Any medical professional knows that stitching up a circle is not exactly ideal. The MOHS surgeon usually removes a circular area but when it’s time to close, they usually make a bigger linear incision or even use a type of flap to make the skin come together more naturally. They use teeny tiny sutures and the results are phenomenal- you can’t even tell where some patients had their MOHS surgery.
I’m a little sad that this rotation is over because everyone in the office was just so nice and welcoming, and so were the patients. On today’s schedule is our summative OSCE where we have to evaluate a standardized patient (in front of a faculty member this time), order tests, come up with a diagnosis & treatment plan, and discuss that with the patient. Basically, take on the full role of a PA 🙂 Next week will be dedicated to board review so it will be nice to have a little break from working plus it’s always good too see my classmates a little more. Thanks for reading this PA school update and hope y’all have a great weekend!!