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CVTSPA

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About CVTSPA

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  1. Current 3rd year APAP student here. If you already took all the prerequisites and are about to take the MCAT, stick to that plan and apply to both MD and DO schools. Currently being in the midst of residency interviews, the weight of almost any MD school is greater than any DO school. All the residency programs became governed by the ACGME (think MD accreditation for residencies) this year so a MD degree and the USMLE has become much more important. The DO bias is real and you need to score 10 points higher on the USMLE exams (Step exams) than whatever is competitive for that specialty to be considered equal to a MD candidate at a lot of places. Ten points higher is an appreciable increase btw. Unless, of course, you are pursuing a very non-competitive specialty or going through the military match of which you can just stick with the COMLEX in most cases. The headaches of the LECOM APAP program are not worth it if you have an opportunity to go to any MD school. Plus, things are getting worse since Kaufman is no longer in charge. The new director of the program is consistently offering a "4 year option" to anyone for any reason. What's the point of a 3 year program if the director is offering you a switch to a 4 year program because you had a question about something? Also, you used to have some lee-way with substituting rotations for other rotations so you can get audition rotations for residency in (pretty important) but that is now a thing of the past. The emphasis is strongly for primary care even if you are in an undeclared spot. Feel free to review my previous posts for more details regarding the hoops you need to jump through as an APAP! Basically, the reasons to do APAP, in my opinion are as follows: 1. Financial - the MD and other DO schools are too expensive and finances are extremely important. LECOM has some of the cheapest medical school tuition in the country. This certainly comes at a cost! (See previous posts) 2. Primary care - if your goal is primary care, this is a wonderful option as you are strongly encouraged throughout your medical school career to do primary care. Primary care means IM, FM, pediatrics, and OB/GYN at this institution, just to be clear 3. MCAT and other Pre-reqs - If you haven't taken all the stuff you need to apply to other schools and can't be bothered with it, this is a great option. I knew I didn't want to take all the pre-reqs or the MCAT and wouldn't be taking them if I didn't get into the APAP program (personal choice). It would have added another 2-3 years to the whole process for me and I didn't want to wait that long If you meet one or more of these criteria and are willing to put up with the hoops you have to jump through, this is a good option. Otherwise, you should pursue a MD school preferably or another DO school if you have the option. Again, MD is the way to go and saves you much effort during school and when applying to residency so you can get the specialty of your choice in the location of your choice. With all that being said, I still strongly appreciate the opportunity I was given as I wouldn't be in medical school otherwise at such an affordable tuition without taking most of the pre-reqs for other schools. But boy, are there a lot of unnecessary obstacles that are put in place on the journey through the program!
  2. Yep, Pennsylvania is pretty saturated because of all the PA schools in the state, esp in Western PA. Agree with everything stated above. Would also strongly advise asking for more than 2 weeks PTO and clarifying if you can take it in chunks of 1 week to 2 weeks at a time. 2 weeks PTO seems like the entry level amount for Western PA, unfortunately, but would still ask for at least 3 weeks even if in Western PA. Or even asking for an increase in the weeks of PTO after 1 year of working. The non-compete clause you described is ridiculous and a 3 year contract for a first job seems like a lot. The docs in the practice could be malignant and you'll be wishing it was a much shorter contract in that scenario. I would also clarify what "profit sharing" means. Is it 0.00025% after you bill above 10,000 RVU's per year? I haven't seen many profit sharing opportunities for PA's so this intrigues me. Also, what part of Pennsylvania is this job in?
  3. Hello. I am interested and in process of applying for LECOMS APAP program. Any tips regarding their interview? Do they allow you to rotate in your home state? Any info will be much appreciated! Thx..berta

     

    1. CVTSPA

      CVTSPA

      For the interview, it's a group interview then you have the option of doing a one-on-one interview with faculty (you should take the one-on-one interview opportunity).   For the group interview portion, they ask a general question to the group then encourage you to discuss within the group.  Say something for most if not all the questions and it looks good if you can mention what other people said in their answers to show you are listening.  Generally, it's a scenario type question.  A favorite is, "You notice that a student is not following the dress code and has showed up late for class.  How do you respond?" (Offer to give them clothes to make them comply with dress code and ask if there is something going on in their personal life so you can help them be on time next time).  You'll find that if you browse SDN forums, you can find most of the interview questions.  Just search for something like "LECOM interview questions" on SDN.

      For the one-on-one interview, the first question is generally something to do with "why is primary care important" type question then a silly question like "What is your spirit animal?" (catatonic goat) or "What super power would you want to have?"  I'm sure you can find good answers to those!

      Presently, APAP students are required to set up all their own rotations so at the moment you can set up rotations wherever you want as long as you do all the paperwork (call the office, send in clearances, provide documentation of medical records, etc).  However, there is talk about giving the APAP students a core site for all their rotations starting with the class of 2021 (the class behind me) since it is technically against the rules to make medical students set up all their own rotations.  So I would expect that LECOM assigns you a hospital (likely one that no one else wants to go to since they generally put APAP students at the bottom of the totem pole) that you are supposed to do all your rotations at except for a single, solitary elective (AKA sub-internship for residency audition).  

      I'm more than happy to answer all your questions and give you tons of info about the program since no one gave me the low down before coming here! However, I have 3 board exams in the next 2 months and plenty of residencies to interview at so if I am slow to respond that is why! 

  4. Also did cardiothoracic surgery for a while and completely agree with SquarePeg's response. Varies from hospital to hospital and recommend asking the specifics of what you'll be doing in the OR (i.e. harvest vein and leave, harvest vein then first assist, rotating the RNFA's out for a break from time to time, etc). Valve: CABG ratio varies on the population you are serving and what your surgeons are known for (generally speaking, younger patients = more CABG, Older = more valves). Also good to ask if you help position the patient, put in the Foley, and put in arterial and central lines. I did those things but most CVTS PA's didn't in my experience! My situation was once you are in the OR, you're in the OR until the case is done or the call person relieves you (at 5PM). Did vein/radial harvest then first assisted. If there were enough PA's available, another PA would come in to close while the surgeon talked to the family. Whether or not the surgeon starts working on the chest while you are harvesting is also hospital dependent. My surgeons would be opening the chest, harvest the LIMA, then start to place the venous and arterial cannulas while I was harvesting (so we would both cut at the same time). Wouldn't go on pump and cross clamp until the conduit was ready. Whenever I was done prepping the vein (tying branches), I would jump up to first assist and help them. Hopefully, I was done with the harvest by the time they were done harvesting the LIMA but it varies depending on difficulty of the harvest, whether or not nursing is paying attention to you, etc. It's an exciting field for PA's! Good luck!
  5. Yep, the former PA med students are usually among the best students in the class, shouldn't they want to show us off to clinical sites to build a better reputation for the school? If the now 6-7 APAP students left in my class year are causing that much of a problem with taking other LECOM students' rotation sites than there must be a bigger problem.
  6. Yep, the recently eliminated the other pathways for the APAP program and now you can only do PBL at the Seton Hill campus. My understanding from people I've talked to is the the Seton Hill campus is a more friendly environment but I obviously don't know since I've only been at the Erie campus. The PBL pathway is supposedly decent at Seton Hill but I've heard that the one at the Florida campus is ideal (not an option for APAP). Don't let my words discourage you if you want to do anesthesia! Anesthesia is DO friendly and you don't need high boards scores to match, especially if you are willing to go almost anywhere. The LECOM APAP program is still the best deal in town for PA's going back to medical school for the reasons you mentioned (no MCAT, less rigorous class requirements, one less year, etc). I still don't regret my decision to go back to medical school based on my personal situation. I just want people going into the program to understand some of the pitfalls before they get there because no one warned me about setting up my own rotations, needing to be in class during finals week for a mandated lecture on financial management, the fact that there is this obsessive compulsive need to have you in the classroom as much as possible, needing to do an 8 hour class on pelvic exams on a randomly assigned Saturday, needing to take a preclinical review class with mandatory attendance during "dedicated board study time" instead of just letting me do my own thing like most other medical schools, having 4 hours of OPP lectures/lab every week even this semester when I'm focused on board studies, etc. Most rotation sites I call inquiring about needing a rotation gives me the same response, "Normally, the school does this. Why are you calling us?" But the fact of the matter is that they need to place you in a site if you do not fill all the rotation slots otherwise the school looks bad in the eyes of the AOA. So they will eventually give you rotations in an untimely fashion (April of 2nd year with rotations starting in May of 2nd year).... but they will probably end up being in Erie, PA if you don't set them up yourself (which is fine with me because I only care about where I do my two anesthesia rotations).
  7. I wish I was only in class in the mornings 4 hours a day! There are three pathways: Lecture-Discussion Pathway (LDP), Problem based learning (PBL), and dependent study pathway (DSP). I am in the LDP pathway which is mostly classroom learning so I can only speak from that perspective. First year, I was in class from 8am to 5:30PM most days with the occasional day ending at 3:30 PM or starting late at 9AM. In second year, I'm essentially in class 25 to 40 hours a week with a random 8 hour pelvic exam course on one weekend day. They purposefully fill up all your time so you always have something new to learn (that isn't necessarily important for taking the USMLE or COMLEX). Usually an exam every Monday with a potential for a random lab practical or lecture quiz every week or every other week. Working a job, let alone finding a job to match your ever changing class schedule (seriously, they change the class schedule weekly) is very difficult without sacrificing your grades or board study time. There is one nurse in my class (LDP) who works 15-20 hours a week and you can literally see the exhaustion on his face and how much he has aged in the last two years. Don't think he is doing great in school. Even if you do they other pathways, PBL and DSP, there is still a requirement to show up for probably about 10-20 hours worth of classroom learning each week in addition to your course load for the semester (completed on your own fyi) and board studying. There is a big problem with random gaps in the day with LDP. For example, a one hour class in the morning followed by a two to three hour break then 3 hours of class in the afternoon. The breaks are usually not even in the schedule, the lecturers will just finish early sometimes and say, "Take an early lunch! See you in the afternoon!" It happens usually at least once or twice a week. Very aggravating. For APAP, there are essentially no breaks. You get a week off the summer between first and second year and 1 week of independent board study time between second and third year (most people just take their boards that week). Problem with APAP is that during that week between second and third year, they schedule you for a 2 day History and Physical Course (8-10 hour days) to prepare you for Level 2 usually before or slightly after you just completed level 1 (within days). Winter break is usually 2 weeks though. The curriculum overall is not very conducive to free time or flexibility....
  8. Completely agree with this. Give LECOM a call and see if they would take the PANCE/PANRE in lieu of the ACT/SAT. They may be willing to work with you if you never took the ACT/SAT.
  9. If you have already completed the prerequisites for traditional 4 year medical school programs, it's probably in your best interest to go to one of those schools if you get into one them especially if it's a school with cheaper tuition than LECOM (ex. some schools in Texas).
  10. That is exactly what I said. "I'm paying the same tuition as everyone else, why am I at the bottom of the list for rotation placement?" The reasoning is that I complete a doctorate level degree in 3 years that normally takes 4 years so my 4th year of medical school is viewed as a scholarship for about 55k (tuition plus living expenses for one year). Therefore, I am responsible for finding potential rotation spots, calling office managers, filling out paper work, and securing the site. It's not exactly ideal for board studying. They also gave us a list of APAP preceptors but it seems like most of the ones in the Erie/Pittsburgh area are LECOM affiliated so once again my classmates get precedence over me for those spots and I have to wait until March/April to figure out if I can rotate with those preceptors.
  11. Dual residencies that include something other than a primary care specialty are not allowed. The agreement is that you do primary care (and only primary care) for 5 years after finishing residency before you pursue a different specialty. I don't know how or if they can actually enforce that. For example, if you match internal med then do an internal med residency, can they pull your medical degree from you if you then pursue a GI fellowship subsequently within 5 years? I have no idea
  12. There was a lot that I didn't know about the APAP program before I started. Something else worth mentioning is that they require the APAP students to set up all their own rotations (13 of them) for the third year and you do not have the ability to set up rotations at LECOM sites until March/April when everyone else has been placed already. So for someone like me looking to stay in the Erie/Pittsburgh area, I have to wait until March/April before LECOM will help me get a rotation site at a LECOM affiliated site. Thus, I have only a few rotations set up and don't know where I'll be in 3 months but the non-APAP medical students have known where they will be for the last few months already. And all this rotation setting up on my part is done while I'm supposed to be studying for boards...
  13. Current APAP second year here. Yep. Agree with this list. EM is a popular choice for the APAP students. It seems like most people go for EM since it's only three years for residency, pretty good pay, and relatively DO friendly. The next most common specialty for APAPers is anesthesiology for similar reasons (4 year residency though). Then it is usually a mix of radiology, surgery, orthopedics, internal medicine, and family medicine. One person tried matched cardiothoracic surgery but was unsuccessful with really high board scores(Gen surgery intern year now). Another tried matching interventional radiology (also high board scores and lots of interviews) and was unsuccessful and is now doing a traditional rotating intern year. I've had similar problems getting a list of what specialties APAPers have matched in over the last couple years so most of my info comes from talking to people in my class and those above me. There is only one person from APAP that I know of that matched dermatology and my understanding was that she had worked in dermatology for a while prior to medical school so likely had a huge advantage. The person who matched ortho this past year ended up at Millcreek Hospital which is LECOM's community hospital in Erie, PA. They have a strong preference for taking LECOM students to begin with. Six spots of the 12 APAP seats are reserved for primary care (Ob/gyn, FM, IM, and peds). However, there was a problem with people "accidentally" matching into specialties outside of primary care so they enacted basically a fine of one year of tuition (about $33k) for people who matched outside of a primary care specialty (so you keep your residency match, pay the fine, and start on schedule). But that wasn't enough of a deterrent so they just enacted a policy last year that basically pulls you from the match if you try to match outside of primary care and makes you complete a fourth year of medical school before entering the match again which I think is a much stronger deterrent. From my understanding, if you are pulled from the match that is a huge red flag for when you apply for residency the next go around. The reason they care so much about matching people into primary care is that the AOA approved the program based on the premise that it would increase primary care physicians so if no one is going into primary care, the APAP program could lose accreditation.
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