A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life: Paige Cardoza, PA-C

Paige is originally from Sullivan, MO, and earned her undergraduate degree in biology from Columbia College. She started her career in healthcare in 2017 as a patient care technician at BJH in the ED to gain experience for physician assistant school. During her clinical training as a PA, she rotated through the SICU and was able to join the WashU APP group after graduating from SLU in December 2022. Read about her day in the life!

5:00 a.m: Alarm goes off, and Sawyer (my pit/lab mix) ensures I wake up for work! I just started my job 13 weeks ago, and I am getting close to the end of orientation. Wouldn’t want to be late!

I quickly get ready for work, feed the pup, and quietly tell my husband, Nick, goodbye.

6:00 a.m: Time for sign-out! I am scheduled to work in “4400,” the Surgical/Trauma ICU this morning. I am training with Alex, one of the nurse practitioners. We receive sign-out on six patients from our night colleague, Jeanette, to learn about each patient’s background, active medical problems, and potential plans like surgery. After sign-out I walk around the unit to introduce myself to the patients, families, and nurses. I also perform physical exams and gather information on the patients.

8:00 a.m: Time for rounds! In the ICU, we have multidisciplinary rounds, which is great, and a little crowded in the halls sometimes. During rounds, we have an attending physician, a fellow, 1-2 residents, 1-2 APPs, a few medical students, a pharmacist, a dietician, and a few nurses present. Presenting patients can be intimidating at first, but it is great to see our team’s different perspectives and develop a plan for progressing our patients’ care. During rounds, different surgical and medical services weigh in on their recommendations.

12:00 p.m: Rounds are finished, and my coffee cup is empty—time for a refill! The afternoon consists of making multiple visits to follow up with the patients and nurses throughout the day, calling consults, following up on existing consults, and lots of charting. Somewhere between all this, I eat the salad my husband helped me prepare the night before. As time permits throughout the day, I engage in mini-education sessions with my preceptor, the fellow, and attending. Today we learned about ROTEM in an actively bleeding patient.

4:00 p.m: We just transferred a patient out of the ICU to the floor! As soon as they left, the charge nurse and fellow notified me and Alex that we will be receiving a patient from the OR. Before they are admitted to the ICU, I take time to look them up in the EMR and learn about their history, what surgery they are having, how surgery is progressing, develop a plan, and anticipate post-op care or complications that could arise. Once they are here and we have addressed immediate issues, I place their admit orders and, you guessed it, more charting!

6:00p.m: Whew! Long day. Time for sign-out. Luckily, Jeanette is back again tonight, and since she’s already familiar with the patients, sign-out only takes about 25 minutes.

After sign-out, I get home and make dinner with my husband (we are having Italian, our favorite). Then, we take Sawyer on a short walk around the neighborhood. It is already 8:30 p.m. and close to my bedtime. Time to get ready for bed and do it all over again! Just two more shifts left this week, then we are headed out of town to visit with family, and may