My first rotation was terrifying. Internal medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital in Brooklyn. I remember driving there the first morning, watching the sun peek through project housing, thinking “where is everyone???” As I got closer to the hospital, there was a car frame that had been set on fire sometime in the night – the steel frame still smoking. Still to this day I can remember my heart absolutely pounding, as I walked across the street from my car to the main entrance. I made it. I asked for this rotation. I’m here.
My first rotation was not ideal. My preceptor had it out for me, and I was losing confidence by the day. A stark cry from my studious reputation in my didactic year, I refused to sign my final evaluation, stating that I adamantly did not agree with it. I was told on my last day “you might not be cut out for the PA profession” and “you should look into other career options.” So my usual confidence and previous zealousness for the PA profession had completely gone missing, and I couldn’t even answer a basic medical question at that point . . . even though I sure as heck knew the answer.
I also asked for my second rotation, just hoping that it wouldn’t be in the order received. EMED on a second rotation . . . that’s tough. But EMED with Larry Herman . . . really super tough. Beyond tough. Tough to the point where most people cry on a daily basis. Larry was the guru of Emergency Medicine and he was known to grill students unlike any other preceptor. It would have been super toward the end of the clinical year – a much better chance to be clinically impressive.
I sat on the benches the first morning, trembling. I was 6th in a row of PA students from multiple programs. We were each supposed to say our name, where we were from, and what specialty we wanted to work. Simple. Ok. Others said they wanted to work Infectious Disease, Pediatrics, Surgery. Each time someone mentioned a specialty, I thought, well that sounds interesting. Maybe I’d be good at that. And then it was my turn. I miraculously mustered up the confidence to peep “I’m Lara Manchik, I’m from Grand Island, Nebraska. I want to work Emergency Medicine and I want to work HERE.” Meaning work with Larry. The number one coveted position of them all upon graduation. Gasp. Uncomfortable silence. I remember his posture, with a taken aback type movement. Everything seemed in slow motion.
Then we got our assignments for the day from Larry.
And that was the first of my “how did I manage to say that” moments on rotation #2. He must have taken me quite seriously, because I immediately felt that I might have a chance at this. It seemed like too much of a jump, to even fathom after my first rotation, but my whole life changed that first day with Larry. He respected me. He was sincerely interested in teaching me. He never made me feel rushed. No matter how many patients he had, no matter how complicated things were at the time, I always felt important. I was more motivated to learn than I had ever been in my entire life. I wanted to be like him. And I wanted to work HERE.
It was literally a diarrhea of unfathomably intelligent information at all times, all hours, even lunch. The amount of clinical detail that he could retain and recite was baffling. And teaching – he loved it. Everyone could feel it. It was palpable. Patients immediately felt reassured by his knowledge, and never seemed to mind the fact that a ton of students were standing around them. Even the docs in the ER were continuously going up to him to ask for clinical advice. I was so in awe of Larry’s reputation and his clinical ability that I purposefully never once left on time.
And for whatever reason I wasn’t intimidated by his barrage of questions. Instead I felt confident and smart – something that had previously been taken away from me. With Larry, the answers just came to me, much to my surprise. I remember being in a patient room and he was probing me about Moraxella. The patient was looking at me like “wow this is exciting – I’m sure you won’t get the next one.” And the next one. But it went on for quite a while, and I felt like the Emergency Medicine Gods were looking out for me. This was all supposed to happen, and I was in the right place. The right profession.
I was honored to work with Larry on my self-made elective in ER throughout the rest of my clinical year, and to accept a position in the ER upon graduation. He’s animated. He’s supremely intelligent. He retains an unheard of amount of clinical information. He absolutely loves being a PA, and is damn proud of it. Here’s a link that (I think) gives perspective on his qualifications, if you don’t know him. Just look at the number of recent publications he’s written . . . to say he is qualified on all realms to represent the PA profession is an understatement.
If you haven’t heard a lecture of Larry’s, been a student of Larry’s, a colleague of Larry’s, read any one of his publications, met him at a conference, served on a board with him . . . not to worry. Have tremendous confidence in your vote for Larry as AAPA President-Elect, and you’ll soon be one of many people whose lives have been changed by Larry. Trust me in giving him that opportunity.