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my first reach out

so having gone up to north for an outreach pediatrics clinic, let’ me just say. the snow really sucks! it’s everywhere, piled as high as the houses, and utterly impossible to drive at night when it’s blowing straight into the windshield.

however, i really enjoy this model of genetics accessibility. it certainly provides convenience to the families who live up north who can’t easily make the 3 to 4 hour to impossible drive (depending on snow conditions) down to any major medical center with genetics services. it’s a good way to provide continuing care for these individuals with genetics diagnoses. also it allows people with fewer means, more immediate needs to stay local and get evaluations they might not otherwise have the means to access because of taking time from work, etc.

we saw a slough of patients nonstop from the morning into the afternoon. naturally because of the way these back-to-back and stacked patient clinics work, having a genetic counselor, a counseling student, a resident, and an attending still wasn’t quite enough. i worked fairly independently for the cases i oversaw, taking heights/weights, gathering family and medical histories. it’s interesting too because i thought that it’d be solely pediatrics settings, but there were some pure counseling, preconception cases as well. it was a good throwback to my training in reproductive genetics, and it was very reassuring to start the morning off with a case that i handled completely independently (and frankly, without much immediate, in the counseling room supervision, although i had a lot of background support). definitely boosted my confidence and helped me remember that i’ve really learned a lot since i first started rotating in clinics back in my first year.

i had forgotten my greenwood slides on inheritance! but it wasn’t too difficult to explain autosomal recessive with just my hands any my mouth. it only caught me off guard for a few seconds then i quickly recouped and was able to figure out the best way to visually explain with my hands. thank you counselors from colon cancer clinic!

and hey, some of the perks of outreach clinic are that everything gets paid for šŸ™‚ lodging, transportation, food, and we even had a little side-trip to the outlets at the insistence of my supervising genetic counselor.

however, it is very comforting that we are really helping these people out and hearing their responses. although the clinic was a small, one-story building, and blood draws had to be performed down the street at the hospital (which was only 2 stories, but did have inpatient care and emergency medicine), it was interesting hearing feedback. apparently one of the patients’ families were fairly happy with the information we provided, because at blood draw they told those drawing blood that they had so happy that after 14 years they potentially had a diagnosis for their child. while not 100% true, having a possibility that we can now provide due to advancing technology is pretty amazing.

i feel good. and definitely more confident regarding histories in the pediatrics setting. next month’s outreach clinic will be two days long and i’ll have a better chance and even more independence. i can’t wait.

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