I learned today what *exactly* an extern is. Or rather, why an extern is not an intern.
Interns - Generally have completed almost all of their training, and often get paid for their time.
Externs - complete hours as part of their training before graduating/getting certifications (i.e. a teaching practicum for education majors) and do not get paid.
I am an extern. A phlebotomy extern to be more specific. At the BYU Health Center. Go me! Which means, I finished a class training me to draw blood (in February, actually) and now I have to complete 40 hours of on site professional training/experience/etc.
It was my second day today. At the health Center (which shall heretoforth be referred to as the "SHC" or Student Health Center), they like their externs to just watch the first day. To get the hang of lab procedure and protocol, the set up of their particular facility, get used to their equipment, etc. I did get to practice on one of my coworkers though.
But, today was my second day! So after one more practice run on another coworker I got real patients! I only did 3 hours today, but I still got a good number of sticks in. I only missed once! But when the real employee tried on the girl whose vein I missed, she had a hard time too and kinda dug around. Which... really sucked for the girl. I felt bad. But, it kinda made me feel better about missing. But after about an hour to an hour and a half this morning, they let me do things pretty much entirely unsupervised unless I had a question or something. They said that is much sooner than they usually set externs on their own. Which means I'm doing a good job!!! :-)
But I've gotten to learn lots of interesting things during my two days so far. I learned the difference between a flu swab an a strep swap, I learned why you do NOT want urine tests for gonorrhea/chlamydia to be "clean catch" samples, I learned about the quantiferon test for foreign students who have receive the BCG Tuberculosis vaccine (they will have a false positive result to the standard TB antibody test used in America, so they have to do some different blood work to test them. And you want to purposely rupture the cells for this test, which is usually something you try desperately to avoid), and I GOT TO SEE A MOLE THAT WAS REMOVED FROM SOMEONE'S ARM!! Which was sweet. It was all gnarly and had all sorts of little arms and roots that anchored it into the skin.
Fun stuff. I'm excited for the rest of my time.