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Good morning, readers! I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend.
I started my private practice externship rotation two weeks ago and just wanted to update all of you on how it's going and how it compares to my internship at The Eye Center. As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband and I decided to stay local in the Memphis area for our externships. I'll be spending the fall semester at Dr. Leroy Norton's private practice in south Memphis. Every private practice site is a little different depending on the specific office or the doctor, so the experience can vary from student to student. Dr. Norton actually practices in a similar way to how we see patients at SCO so the transition is going smoothly for me so far. The main difference is the volume of patients I am seeing each day. At SCO over the summer, I was seeing about 3-6 patients in a day. On my very first day working with Dr. Norton I saw 20! Just like when I was at SCO, I am still doing every part of the exam myself. There are no pre-testing technicians at Dr. Norton's office, there is no auto-refractor or NCT, and we dilate every patient. I love this about this site because it's helping me really reinforce my technical skills while also making me more efficient. At some private practice sites, the extern actually has their own schedule of patients for the day and maybe even their own exam room. Dr. Norton runs his externship a little bit differently: Dr. Norton and I work as a team on the same schedule. For example, we'll both start an exam at the same time. Sometime during the exam I'll step out of my exam room and we'll briefly discuss our findings with each other, then we'll either complete our own exam or switch patients for the remainder of the exam. This setup allows me to work with almost every patient on the schedule while also allowing me to participate in good clinical discussion with the doctor. At the end of the day, Dr. Norton and I sit down and briefly discuss every patient we saw that day. The discussions give me good insight into decision-making, how and why we chose the treatment plan that we did, and how certain things are managed in a private practice setting.
Once I began to feel comfortable with the equipment, computer system, and office itself, the transition started to go very smoothly for me. I love being busy all day and getting to use so many of my clinical skills on a regular basis. We see a lot of ocular and systemic disease, pre-op and post-op care, and comprehensive exams on a regular basis. Seeing 20+ patients on the schedule each day was a little scary at first, but I'm absolutely loving it and I'm learning so much every day! I'm looking forward to spending the rest of the semester at this site and I know I'll be a better clinician for it.
Soon it will be time for me to start preparing for Parts 2 and 3 of my National Boards, so I'll be sure to post an update on how that is going in a month or so! Thanks for reading and feel free to reply or message me if you have any questions about our 4th year externship rotations. Have a great weekend! -Lisa