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Call Back Days provide very pertinent information and perspective on what is right around the corner: graduation!

Second Year Student Blog: Kaitlyn Schmutz

Bring your laptop, Ethernet cable, power cord, and nothing else -- for it is a Call Back Day! You have just completed four or eight weeks of a demanding, yet engaging, rotation and it is time to be tested on the entirety of that medical specialty.

While this may sound like a daunting task, you have had the support of classmates and had many study tools at your disposal. Second year provides a hands-on form of learning that is unexplainably more explicit than reading from a textbook. First year provides the foundation, but you will find that the second year is when it all clicks.

Thankfully, Call Back Days involve much more than tests. There are multiple call back days throughout the second year between clinical rotations; sometimes they occur on the last Friday of that particular rotation and other times both Thursday and Friday.

Typically the day begins with examinations for those who have them, followed by announcements concerning the class. You then hear of the new and exciting events that have occurred at DPAP (you will become very familiar with this acronym referring to our home base of Duke Physician Assistant Program) while you have been out on rotation. This is generally followed by lectures on varied topics to either remind you of what we once knew intimately — “Infectious Disease Refresher,” “Test Preparation: A Refresher,” “EKG Review” — or bring newly relevant topics to light -- “CV Review,” “Contract negotiation,” “Contracts and Job Hunting.” At this point, palms are sweating and little butterflies have hatched in your stomach, but overall these lectures are extremely helpful in gradually preparing you all for the elusive life of a PA-C.  

The day is often broken up by a one- to two-hour lunch break. Sometimes lunch is on your own but more often than not it is graciously provided. Throughout the day there is a definite buzz of nervous energy, but excitement to see friends you have been apart from. Lunch is a reserved time for this excitement and a chance to catch up with classmates or your mentee from the class below.

Mentee meetings provide a sense of comfort for both parties; your mentee gains didactic year pearls while you find encouragement as they have the “how in the heck did you get through this” look in their eyes. A reminder of the great amount you already have achieved is refreshing in a time otherwise saturated by early alarm clocks and endless searches through texts and internet resources.

After lunch there is often another lecture followed by a more intimate meeting with your small group. Roughly 10 students per group gather with their shared faculty adviser to participate in guided discussions. These are valuable sessions to gauge how your year is going and gain wisdom from classmates on CV writing, particular rotations, and ethical questions.

A Call Back Day will occasionally terminate in an optional panel that has been arranged for you. For example, the PA-Physician Relationship and PA Residency Panel are extremely useful in the process of deciding what is to come in the first years of our new profession.

Overall, Duke does a fantastic job at “bringing it all together” for you during second year. Call Back Days provide very pertinent information and perspective on what is right around the corner: graduation!