July 27, 2012
Arnold Salgado has furthered his dream of becoming a physician assistant by shadowing a PA at the OSF Galesburg Clinic. His hometown is Chicago, Illinois, and he is currently a senior. Arnold is majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry.
Tell us more about your summer internship.
My summer internship was a shadowing experience at the OSF Galesburg Clinic. My future career endeavor is to become a physician assistant (PA), someone who is a mid-level supporter under the guidance of a physician. I was put with Lyle Murphy who is a PA and who also works in Knox College Health Services when school is in session. For the most part I watched Lyle assess and diagnose the patients, and occasionally I would get to interact with the patients such as reading heartbeats, looking at X-rays, and assessing skin abnormalities.
Describe your day-to-day experiences.
Usually during the days I shadowed Lyle he would review patient files for those in need of a medication refill, and he would tell me about their conditions and why they were on that medication. This would sporadically happen in between seeing patients, which would be Lyle asking about the patients' problems and then trying to come up with a solution based on the patients' wishes. The operations from day to day are mostly the same but the patients are always different, changing how Lyle tackles the problem efficiently, while meeting the needs of his patients.
How did you learn about this opportunity?
I heard about this opportunity through Terrie Saline in the Center for Career and Pre-Professional Development, who was phenomenal throughout the whole experience: helping me find it, setting it up, and guiding me throughout the time of the shadowing experience. Once I got into contact with the clinic, I was able to set up my own times by also making sure they worked with Lyle's availability.
How do you think this experience will benefit you in terms of your education and future career plans?
I think that this experience has definitely allowed me to realistically think about what steps I need to take in order to get into a PA program and become a PA! This internship opened my eyes to the kinds of cases I can expect (even though they won't all be the same) and also where I would want to work. In terms of personal development, this has only strengthened my desire to partake in medicine to aid people with disease and illness.
Can you cite an example of how your in-classroom experiences at Knox have benefited you in the internship?
My classes in chemistry and biology definitely applied to Lyle's diagnosis when assessing a patient; I could better understand what he was saying thanks to the introductory classes at Knox.
What was the coolest part of your internship?
I think being able to interact with the patient (checking heartbeat, reading X-rays, checking skin abnormalities) has been the coolest part of the internship. Also, getting to listen to the physicians and nurses speak medical lingo was very cool.
What did you learn throughout this experience?
Upon completion of the internship I learned that people who usually become PAs are people who have been doing some sort of medical work (EMT, working in an ER) prior to applying. I learned that perhaps some other sort of experience should be incorporated and completed before pursuing a career as a PA. I've learned many things about the patients that come into a clinic, such as the one in Galesburg, as well as their problems and how to read their social cues.