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About SrTaM

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    Physician Assistant Student

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  1. I'm not a minority but happy to try to help with some of your questions. Current PA student. 1. Yes. I think being a medical assistant is one of the best experiences you can have as a pre-PA. 2. Major doesn't matter. Seriously. Major in whatever you want in order to 1. meet all your PA school prereqs and 2. keep that GPA high. PA schools care about how well you did in your prereqs not what your major was. 3. As far as I know, no. 5. I sincerely hope not. 8. My impression has been (and continues to be) that the demand for PAs will continue. There are some very over-saturated locations in the US, but for the most part I've found that there are jobs for PAs nearly everywhere. That was a huge draw for me - demand and stability.
  2. I was asked this and rather than give specific school names I mentioned which states I had applied to programs in (because I applied to programs all over), and then added "but this program is one of my top picks because...." Kind of dodged the question but they seemed to like my answer.
  3. Not the OP, but am thinking about trying to set up NICU as my elective. @EmPA26 how was your experience? I know it's historically been an NP-dominated specialty, so I haven't met any NICU PAs. Would love to hear if you'd recommend.
  4. Yikes. Most PA programs are fine with you taking them at Community Colleges, but keep in mind those are all 3 tough classes and summer sessions are short/more condensed. If you can take one of them later your GPA might thank you.
  5. If it were me, I'd want to give myself the best shot at getting in the second round and that means looking at ALL aspects of your application and improving anything/everything that you're able to. You could hazard a guess that if you got interviews, it probably wasn't your personal statement that was a problem. But can you say for sure that you wouldn't have gotten more interviews with a different PS? Nope. I'd start over.
  6. Great advice above. We practice A LOT with real "patients", very little with the SIMs (like someone else said, they're more used for ACLS). You WILL act/talk differently when it's a SIM vs a real person, and I personally would much rather get that practice on a real human being. If the majority of your practice is with SIMs I'd hazard a guess you'll be feeling a lot more uncomfortable once clinicals start and you're seeing real patients. So I agree - don't make the choice based on the sim lab alone.
  7. I’m not sure how well you can tell about how well a school cares about your education until you’re actually in the program - I found the way PA schools treat prospective students is very different than how they’re treated during school, at least in my experiences. I will say, though, I don’t think having a cadaver lab matters much. I was honestly glad we didn’t have one for gross anatomy because they’re so time consuming. Try to find out why the school was put on probation. The tuition you mentioned isn’t much of a difference and the length of the program isn’t either. So all that said, look at their PANCE pass rates, talk to some current or past students if you can and find out especially what they did not like about their programs, and then yep... it’s going to come down to a gut feeling.
  8. I don’t think it would be wrong to list it all as PCE. Every PCE job has some number of hours that aren’t spent with patients - for example, I was a surgical tech and obviously not all of my time was spent with patients in the OR. Schools know that. I think distinguishing PCE from HCE is more to separate jobs where you really are interacting with patients daily versus working in a healthcare setting but with minimal patient contact. If I were you I’d put them all under PCE.
  9. I agree. Don't wait, so long as the schools you're applying to allow you to have multiple courses pending. Your GPAs are on the lower end but your PCE is outstanding and you'll stand out to programs because of the PCE. Slightly upping your GPAs isn't going to make much of a difference.
  10. This is perfect advice. I don't think you're going to have a problem getting interviews/acceptances. However, you might start hearing more about this once you start didactic. The majority of our class is straight from undergrad (meaning high GPAs, lower end of PCE), and they have had to be told MANY times "STOP TRYING TO GET ALL A's!" - because in PA school it's impossible and you'll really kill yourself if you try to keep on pushing for that 4.0 in PA school. There are so many exams and so much information in PA school. So understanding early on that you WILL fail some things and you don't need to get straight As on everything is soo important. That said, be proud of what you've accomplished, go in to those interviews confident, and remember that once you start didactic the emphasis needs to be on really understanding the material so that you can treat patients well and pass the PANCE - the emphasis does not need to be on maintaining perfect grades.
  11. You know you need to work harder, my biggest piece of advice right now is to not get so focused on there being more units that you get overly anxious because it's overwhelming and thus aren't able to put in good/hard work. You've gotten yourself in a sticky spot, you CAN get yourself out. Just focus on what you need to do and not that there's so much of it. Don't focus on that GPA number. Focus on each week, each unit, the amount of work you need to put in to succeed. And look closely at how you've been studying and what works/doesn't. If you think you may study better with a group - do it. If you've been doing that and it's not working - stop, or find a new group. If you've been relying only on powerpoints and/or textbooks, add in videos and question banks. If you only type your notes, try handwriting them. Don't be afraid to switch things up. I'm halfway through didactic now and I study differently for every course, you just need to find what works for that material. And I know this is nearly impossible to do in PA school a lot of the time, but especially for clinical medicine, if you can look at the material before the lectures it helps SIGNIFICANTLY. Don't be hard on yourself, and really try not to get overwhelmed. Focus on each day, work hard, and keep going.
  12. I think your priorities are a bit skewed (honestly I don't think rankings, technology, facilities matter much). I moved across the country for PA school and will be moving again to a different state after. Knowing what I know now here's where I would put my emphasis: PANCE rates, how long the program has been established, faulty support/student success (this can be VERY difficult to find out, but really try to talk to current or former students one on one and figure out what they liked/disliked about the program). A few things I wish I'd known going in: what qualifies as passing/failing and what systems are in place for remediation (this varies WIDELY by program) and how the curriculum is built (organ system vs traditional). I also wish I had known how many courses are taught by new vs seasoned professors (this has made a huge difference also). I obviously can't speak to job placement after school in a different state, but I spoke with PAs in my former state before I moved, and regularly checked job boards and there are plenty of jobs. Practicing PAs assured me there would be very little trouble getting a job in the area even without doing rotations there. Hope that helps some!
  13. I worked as a Surgical Tech for my PCE and am currently in PA school. I'd strongly suggest PA over first assist for a few reasons. Not all states recognize CSFA (and my understanding is that even if the job is recognized, there are very few positions available). I worked as a Surgical Tech in Washington, where they're not recognized. Residents, PAs, and RNFAs are the only people I ever saw assisting in surgery. A surprising number of surgeons employed their own RNFA. We discussed CSFA when I was in the surgical tech program, and it's difficult to see the reasoning to get the degree. It's a master's degree, equal in length to most PA programs, and your scope of practice is limited to the OR. Many physicians need the extra help that a PA can provide in clinic and caring for pre and post-op patients, not necessarily in surgery. I was also certain I wanted to work in surgery when I first started thinking about PA school (I had a much different first career before I did surg tech). But now I am VERY grateful to not have limited myself. There are things I love about the OR, and I may consider working in a surgical specialty when I graduate (or at some point during my career as a PA), but I've also found several other non-surgical specialties that I really like as well. I would NOT have believed that possible several years ago, but you grow a LOT as you are exposed to so many different aspects of medicine, and truly one of the best perks of becoming a PA is that lateral mobility.
  14. I considered online when I was applying, the only reason I didn't was because at the time my state wasn't on the list. I'm in didactic now (obviously at an in-person program). I did a lot of my prereqs in hybrid format (lectures online, labs in person) and in PA school I have essentially been teaching myself a lot of the content, just as I did for prereqs. Our lectures are mandatory but a LOT of them are a waste of time. I agree that there are some skills you'll miss out on, but from my experience (so far), not much. We do practice a LOT of physical and focus exams, which is definitely helpful (especially in getting you comfortable with working with "patients"), but if you're self-motivated, you can practice almost everything on friends/family members. If I remember correctly Yale online does have some times you have to be on campus for skills training. The skills like using your medical equipment and learning to cast/splint etc can be learned quickly. I don't really like studying or practicing much with my classmates, so I honestly feel like I could be doing just as well (if not better) if my program were online. And I know that not all programs are like this, but our program is VERY strict about not missing ANY classes, regardless of the situation, which can be extremely frustrating. Also, I don't feel like I'd miss much in regards to building relationships with professors/faculty. So many of our lectures are taught by guest lecturers that a lot of communication regarding course content is done over email anyway. Hope that helps!
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