Amy Johnson Reflects on Intern Rotation - Pain Clinic

Amy Johnson MD
Amy Johnson, MD Residency Class of 2019

I feel that the Pain Medicine rotation is a perfect example of how Wake strives to continually improve upon its intern year curriculum.  This rotation was originally available to only a portion of the class, but because of its popularity and educational value, every intern now has the opportunity to rotate through the pain clinic.  I appreciated being exposed to this branch of anesthesiology early on in my career, and look forward to doing a second chronic pain rotation during residency as well.

The entire month is spent at a pain clinic in Winston-Salem, which is a nice escape from the typical hospital routine.  I arrived at clinic around 8AM, and the final patient was typically scheduled for 4:30PM.  I found excellent day-to-day variety within the clinic.  The days consisted of seeing patients for follow-up visits and medication refills, meeting new clinic patients, performing bedside injections, and learning how to do nerve blocks under fluoroscopy.  The pain fellows were excellent teachers and were enthusiastic about explaining the anatomy and techniques they utilized for every procedure.  As the month progressed, I gained hands-on experience and was able to perform midline and transforaminal epidurals, medial branch blocks, SI joint injections, and hip joint injections under fluoroscopy with the guidance of the pain team. I was given a comprehensive pain medicine textbook, which helped explain different treatment modalities and will become a valuable resource when preparing for the anesthesiology boards.  I also learned about the pharmacology of narcotics, membrane stabilizers, and other medications that I will commonly encounter in practice.  

The fellows and attending physicians in the pain clinic were approachable and kind, and were willing to be mentors for individuals interested in pursuing a pain fellowship.  The pain fellows were impressed that our residency program allowed for such early exposure to this specialized field, and were envious of our opportunities as first year residents.  We were a welcomed presence at the pain clinic, since we helped to efficiently manage and treat patients in a high-volume, face-paced setting.  We were treated with the same kindness and respect as the fellows, and were considered to be vital members of the care team.  

This rotation was definitely a highlight of my intern year, and I look forward to learning more about the field during the remainder of my residency at Wake.  

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Last Updated: 05-05-2016
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