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  1. Hi! This fall I will commence my undergraduate studies at SUNY Cortland and I'm pretty concerned with being prepared for applying to PA programs, especially in regards to obtaining direct patient care hours. I was doing research and there are programs in which their accepted candidates average or will have even have more than 4,000 hours. This is quite the daunting task considering I plan to be a full-time student over the next four years. As of now, I plan on being involved in the campus EMS squad where I will receive training and will be required to serve a minimum of two 12-hour shifts per semester. However, I will aim to serve at least 1 of these shifts every week. Do these volunteer hours count as direct patient care hours? Additionally, the squad will pay for my EMT-B training throughout this upcoming year's spring semester if I agree to volunteer for them for the two semesters of my sophomore year. Thus, I will be able to at least volunteer as an EMT-B over the next few summers as well. Cortland Regional Medical Center is also a five-minute drive from the university, so I will most likely be able to shadow and volunteer here, but they are not a teaching hospital so they do not often have training experiences. So my overarching question is how am I supposed to get the hours I need by the fall of my senior year when application season begins? Will I most likely have to accumulate hours for another year after my undergrad? Furthermore, are there any other positions I can seek to display diversity within the hours I accumulate, and are there any other pieces of advice you can offer me as I begin to plan? Thanks for all the help!
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