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rcreek

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  1. I just graduated from the University of Utah PA Program and took my PANCE yesterday. I felt pretty good about it after taking the CME review course beforehand. As my formal PA education comes to a close and I embark on this career path (already have a job lined up), I just have a few things that I would like to share. I'm a 31 year old father of two young boys. I got divorced in didactic year. I had my fair share of challenges, but realized that I am not really a unique case among other PA students across the country. Others have gone through similar life shake-ups before me and have succeeded. I just put my head down and kept powering through my studies while I utilized the student counseling/therapy services available to me. My faculty was understanding and helpful, which I am grateful for. I want to dispel the myth that you have to give up your whole life and everything you are to succeed in PA school. I used to think that in order to succeed I had to become some sort of study robot. That is not true, and is actually a detrimental way to approach it. You must maintain balance in your life and care for your own mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Only then will you have the mental fortitude to learn what you need to learn. I was able to take up new hobbies. I exercised and lost weight. I went on dates. I developed a new relationship with an awesome woman. I spent time with my kids. With that being said, PA school honestly was a little easier than I expected. Certainly it wasn't harder than handling several science prerequisite courses and a job before PA school. I found the course-load and content to be challenging, but doable. I didn't have to change my study habits much at all. The same study habits that got me accepted also got me through. I was never able to afford health insurance for myself. My school did not offer any good options either. The amount of $ I got to live on through high interest grad plus loans placed me square in the poverty level and I had to rely on some help from my parents to lease a car for me to use. I was dismayed to see that medical students had more options for loans than I did as a PA student. When I was interviewing at PA schools, they all touted these loan repayment programs that are available. These are actually very few and far between and not easy to come by. I'll be paying my loans off the old-fashioned way, as are the majority of PAs. Yes I struggled with self doubt at times. I have learned that this is normal. The clinical rotations especially placed me outside of my comfort zone on numerous occasions, but it made me a better clinician in the end. Coming out of PA school I realize I am far from a medical expert. There is and always will be more to learn in this field. This is a career for lifelong learners. I really feel that the PA profession is best suited for older students who have already had careers doing other things. If I was in my early 20's and new in my undergraduate education, I would shoot for medical school. It's a longer path but it makes more sense financially speaking. Not trying to dissuade anyone, but that is my opinion on the matter. The PA profession is a great one, but there are hurdles facing the profession. It's important for all of us to advocate and be active with groups that influence PA legislation in our states. I realized this more and more as I rotated with other PAs. To all of you considering the PA profession or currently in a program, I wish all of you the best!
  2. rcreek

    PA s in Utah

    My home state and I am sticking around here for the long-term. Applying for jobs now as I finish up PA school. Cost of living is rising a lot, especially in SLC area. Traffic can be terrible, and the air quality is getting horrific in the valleys during the cold months, but can be escaped at higher elevations like Park City. The economy is strong and the population is growing both from the birth rate and numerous people moving here, which bodes well as far as PA job security and demand for healthcare. Compared to the rest of the nation however, starting salaries aren't great. I believe this is largely due to the almost ubiquitous presence of University of Utah healthcare and Intermountain healthcare. Intermountain at times, seems to have a near monopoly. There's not a lot of competition so they pay what they want, and Intermountain treats NPs and PAs as equal, calling them APCs... and paying them the same.
  3. I wish you all the best! Feels like just yesterday I was going through this process. Now I'm in my second year just starting clinical rotations here at UPAP. It's a great program!
  4. Yes, every year students come off the waitlist. A current classmate was waitlisted at #6 (I think). It varies from year to year how many from the waitlist end up in the final accepted class. Keep in touch with Doris about that.
  5. Oh man, is that ever true. Senior folks eating their young. Granted this is based on my own biased observations over the years, and many discussions with EM physicians - but it seems that when you come in as a new provider, you can expect to get the worst shifts, and the most flak (from supervisors to nurses) until you really prove yourself. You've got to know how to handle everything from a drug-seeker to acute peritonitis to a full code. When you leave your shift, you can bet they'll be discussing your treatment plans amongst themselves and whether or not they think you're pulling your weight. You've got to make a good impression from the get go. It's not PA specific and is same with MDs and DOs. But, PAs already have a bit more of a battle, especially from the more senior staff and docs who don't really understand or respect the profession. So much of EM is about earning respect amongst your fellow colleagues and consulting docs so that they trust your professional judgment and medical skills, and are willing to back you up. Certainly, the same could be said about working in many specialties, but I see this being acutely magnified in EM due to the nature of the work, the multi-tasking, the number and types of patients seen on a typical shift, and the constant reliance of others on the healthcare team to make it run smooth.
  6. Helpful thread. Also a first year student. If I end up in EM, I'll definitely do a residency first, even though I worked in the ER for almost 4 years prior to starting my program. In most cases, EM is not a good fit for a new grad. I believe this even more after I saw a new physician coming from a 3 year EM residency get put through the ringer. It takes a thick-skinned person willing to put up with constant criticism, yet maintain confidence in their abilities to start a new career in this field.
  7. I shadowed a PA in an allergy specialty who spent about 1/2 of his time in clinic as an FDA sub-investigator. When working with the research patients, only he was supposed to do the blood draw. So he did several blood draws per day. Of course, this is definitely a special case.
  8. + 1 for the Marriott. It's literally right down the street within walking distance. People have PM'd me about the test already but perhaps I should say something here in the thread. It includes anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology. I prepared with a Cliff's Notes Anatomy and Physiology Quick Review book, also went through a medical terminology workbook. Just focus on big picture with the body systems. Some of my classmates didn't prepare much at all, others did. And we all had different approaches to it. IMO I think it's a great idea to prep for the exam, but I would spend most of your time brushing up on your interview skills, learning about the program, its mission, and issues facing the PA profession, etc.
  9. Krazymonkey, we don't have a say at all. We have a student panel where you can ask us questions, put on a dinner for you, do campus tours, etc.
  10. I don't completely understand how they decide who goes to which interview session. But, a few people from the 1st interview session will get an "early" acceptance. That's the main difference as far as I understand it. The rest of the chosen applicants tend to find out after both interview sessions are conducted. Our class has been preparing for these interviews, and we are excited to meet you! We will be involved with some activities during both interview sessions.
  11. We experimented with a similar thing one time in my Ophthalmology class. They took the average of our individual score on the test, and our group score. I rather liked it actually.
  12. As I recall, there was a question I felt that I didn't answer very well. I think they understand!
  13. This year most of my classmates are from in-state. The program is intense, and such is the nature of any PA program. There is a lot of information to cover and all programs have to meet certain rigorous curriculum requirements to be accredited by ARC-PA. We still have some time to do fun things. This program is perfectly situated to enjoy the SLC night-life or head up to the mountains for recreation. You still must maintain a study/life balance!
  14. Here I am almost finished with my first semester of PA school, wondering what the job market will be like when I graduate. Keeping my finger on the pulse so I can make a smart decision...
  15. They could change it up every year, but for us, we were put into groups of 3. We discussed an ethical scenario, with two faculty members as moderators. There was some role-playing involved. Group interviews in general are designed to see how you work with others. They will take note if you overtalk everyone else and throw them under the bus, or if you are so timid that you don't speak up. Be a middle ground person. Don't argue. Be tactful. Be courteous. Acknowledge the validity of others' viewpoints. Find appropriate times to segway. Build on what others have said. It is very helpful if everyone in the group just takes turns speaking. When you see ahead of time on your paper that day who is in your group interview, go and chat up those applicants so you can all get to know each other.
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