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Quarantine Diary

Experience of a clinical-year PA student during COVID-19 self-quarantine

Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash
Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

On the one hand, I’m surprised to realise it’s already April, and it feels like it was just a couple of months ago that I started the clinical year of training with my very first clinical rotation. At the same time, graduation just can’t come fast enough and I, like many fellow clinical-year PA students, am keen to start practising medicine and helping people using our education and training. Only, there’s one unexpected giant curveball that is the current pandemic.

Everyone in my class was taken off clinical rotations mid-March, and we’ve had interruptions to our schedule since we’ve been staying at home (and will continue to do so until the end of April, at least). It’s safe to say that this is the biggest public health crisis in my lifetime, and it really feels like things escalated so fast since I had my last shift in March. Did I mention “unprecedented?” My heart aches for everyone whose life has been negatively affected, especially those who were underprivileged with less resources than others even before this pandemic hit. I particularly worry about small business owners and staff who have little to no savings and live paycheque to paycheque, and really hope they pull through somehow.

I can’t forget to mention the daily influx of emails about COVID-19 resources from all sorts of organisations, and how I initially felt overwhelmed by information overload. Over time, I learned to simply glance and skim through and read only the most relevant bits of information, like the latest on FDA approvals, ongoing and new clinical trials, and state and local updates such as the stay-at-home mandate. It goes without saying that it’s as important now as ever to turn to reliable sources of information and support, and for me they include the local and state health departments, National Alliance on Mental Illness, CDC, and the World Health Organisation.

For me, a clinical-year PA student, one of the biggest uncertainties naturally relates to the rest of my training this year. Will graduation happen on time? What’s going to happen next month? And June? At once, I also really wonder if life as we know it will ever be the same again. But I remain hopeful, and I hope everyone does, too.

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