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  1. Hello everyone! I am a newly engaged applicant who's been accepted to an inaugural program starting in January (fingers crossed nothing falls through) and am looking for advice from any PA-S or PA-C on whether to plan a wedding during didactic year to get married during clinicals or plan during clinicals and get married post graduation? I come from a cultural family so wedding's tend to be big and I am assuming planning will take at least a year or 6 months prior to the date. For what it's worth my program is set to graduate March 2023 and my fiancé is projecting 2022 to be the best for him, financially. Would love any insight from spouse PA's who had to make this decision or even attendees in rigorous programs.
  2. Sage Advice for New Graduates Robert M. Blumm, PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA Congratulations! Many of you will be graduating from your PA & NP programs in the coming months. You are about to set out on a clinical career journey that could be as long as forty years. A few years ago, my wife and I planned a trip to Italy where we would visit all of the sights of Rome and Florence. Twelve days in Europe was a gift to ourselves - for me after many years of practice and for her, a lifetime of teaching Humanities to high school students. Our journey started six months before when she, as my task master, gave me several books earmarked with all of the relevant sights we were to experience. This homework was an invaluable crash-course on the art, architecture, poetry and history of all of the places we were to visit. Had she not crafted our course of study, I would have been like a child awakening on Christmas morning to twenty gifts which I could not open, let alone understand. You have just completed an arduous course of study which has demanded a lot of sacrifice: study, financial cost, neglected friendships and delayed marriage plans. The initial goal was just to graduate; now you are required to take a certification examination to determine if all of your hard work was fruitful. When the large envelope arrives with your certification you are then ready to start. Correct? No! Now you will now need to make more decisions that determine your future. And these decisions are just as complex as your clinical training. Just like our trip to Italy, you will need to weigh many options and choices whose decisions will impact your success as a new PA or NP. My graduation present to you is this article which has the potential to better prepare you for your new journey as a professional clinician. It’s advice from me and my colleagues in business, administration and professional practice and will likely make your career journey safer and more satisfying. Like any advice, you can heed or disregard it – but hopefully, it will be a helpful component of your career blueprint for success. These suggestions come from a variety of sources such as well-known PAs, like EMEDPA, a senior moderator on PhysicianAssistantForum.com, many of your PA Colleagues, myself included, Personal Liability Experts such as those from the AAPA endorsed provider and years of observing the pains and rewards of those who have provided healthcare to our nation in their professional capacity. Ø Your first job is about learning your clinical skills, not about money. Ø If you can afford to do a residency in your field of choice, do it! see #1 above. Ø As a new grad you can have two of the following, three if you are lucky: location, specialty, salary. Choose wisely. Ø Read your contracts thoroughly before signing them. Look for hidden details, such as mention of a non-compete clause. [A non-compete clause is a legally binding contract whereby the employee agrees not to work with a rival company or start a similar trade or profession for a specified period of time after leaving his current employer.] Ø Choose a favorite maxim and then try to live by it. Mine remains: “Tis far better to show what you know than to say what you know”. Equally important: “Say, rather than show, what you don’t know.” Ø Join your professional organizations and support them so that you will be empowered to make changes that the first fifty years of PAs were unable to accomplish. Ø Don't take the first job you are offered unless it's ideal. Don't settle for mediocrity, ever. Ø Don't accept a position in a specialty that you detest just because “it’s a job”. You will be miserable in a job that you dislike and you will never achieve excellence. Ø Don’t accept a position that does not offer CME and vacation time that is adequate for you and your family. Do not accept call without pay, weekends without pay and no more than two weekends monthly. Ø Do not work in a critical care setting immediately out of school. Hospitalist, ICU, CCU, pediatrics are all specialties for experienced providers. Spend at least two years of non-critical care clinical work so that transitions to other specialties can be accomplished more effortlessly. Ø Don't work in a very narrow field right out of school unless it is your dream job and you never intend to leave the specialty. I know lots of folks stuck in jobs they hate who can't leave them. Ø If you are getting burned out, consider the following: work fewer hrs./mo., see fewer pts/shift, switch specialty, switch location. Find something new where you are appreciated. Ø An essential lesson that I learned which I discovered after working too hard for others. Your husband/wife/significant other and children should be your first priority, yourself your second, your practice third, and professional politics last. No one will ever care for you like your family. Jobs expire, positions fail to exist beyond their time limits and then you will be forgotten. You can never recoup the time you have lost working for others. I have served this profession as a leader for about thirty years. But I paid a price: my kids placed a photo of me at the dinner table at a certain time in our life. Sad commentary. Ø Don't take a job where your clinical supervisor is an RN or office manager. We are not medical assistants. Ø Don't refer to yourself as Dr Smith's PA. They don't own you. Say instead, “I'm John Doe, one of the PAs here." Or "I'm John Doe, I work with Dr Smith on the surgical service.” Words matter. Don't let yourself be treated like an assistant. Don't regularly take out trash, take your own vitals, room patients, etc. unless the docs in the group do so, too. I can see this in a small office, but there is no excuse for it elsewhere. Well, we have covered many of the rules and suggestions but now let me conclude and write about the most important task on your new medical journey. Remember my trip to Italy which I spoke about earlier? Your excitement as you begin your career is comparable to the thrill and anticipation one feels as they set off to explore the Renaissance. But unforeseen events can destroy that cherished vacation: robbery, an injury to you, a crisis at home. So, as your journey begins, a critically important item to secure is a professional liability insurance policy, better known as a malpractice policy, and it is never more affordable than when you first graduate. The AAPA, your professional organization, has endorsed an excellent provider and secured special rates for you, the new PA. Every PA should carry personal liability insurance for all time periods during which they have practiced. A malpractice suit can be brought against you at any time after seeing a patient (days, weeks, months or even years). And a malpractice suit can jeopardize your professional reputation and impact your credentials with the potential of losing your license by suspension or revocation. Your malpractice history is a matter of public record and your NPI number creates a profile of your lifetime practice. Your ability to secure employment will be decided partly upon this information. New graduates have a one-time opportunity for securing discounted insurance premiums for five years which offers comprehensive protection. Congratulations on your graduation and best of luck!
  3. Anyone had trouble qualifying to take the PANCE because proof of 'program completion' wasn't yet available? Does this hold things up? Here is the situation: I'll be completing my program requirements on December 18th (assuming all goes well!) and was told by the NCCPA people that I could take my exam as early as January 2nd. However, my program is telling me that I need to have documentation of said completion, and therefore the earliest I could schedule the PANCE would be mid-January. Why am I in a hurry to take this test? - baby on the way, due early January, hoping (if I'm lucky) to take the test before life with a newborn.
  4. Doctors Work Together on Plane to Help Passenger in DistressMaria Schamis Turner March 20, 2017Jeffrey Aycock, DMD, was on a plane in conversation with a fellow passenger when he heard a ruckus a few rows behind him. He didn't know what was happening, but the former paratrooper, who served as a dentist in Afghanistan, said that his first instinct was to see what he could do to help. Dr Jeffrey Aycock The commotion turned out to be a frightened woman calling for a doctor because her husband, 74-year-old retired Air Force Colonel Thomas McCay, appeared to be losing consciousness. The cry for help was answered by more than just Dr Aycock, who is chief resident in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch–Galveston. In fact, if you were looking for a doctor, the Southwest Airlines flight from Atlanta to Houston was the place to be. Dr Aycock's fellow passengers included a number of medical professionals returning home from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Meeting (AAAAI). Among those who came to the rescue were Lenora Noroski, MD, an allergist at the Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, who had been sitting next to Dr Aycock; Kristin Moore, MD, an allergist from the Texas Medical Center in Houston; and Andrew Grant, MD, program director of the allergy and immunology fellowship program at University of Texas Medical Branch–Galveston. Col. McCay was cold and clammy to the touch and sweating profusely. His heart rate was low, and he was clearly delirious. Dr David Corry "It's amazing how much you can learn with a simple touch," said David Corry, MD, chief of immunology, allergy, and rheumatology at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who was asked to join his fellow physicians by Dr Noroski. Whatever was going on, it was obvious that Col. McCay was not getting enough blood to his brain. Dr Aycock managed to lay Col. McCay down across three seats, and the other doctors leapt into action. What happened next was a remarkable display of teamwork, Dr Corry told Medscape Medical News. "Everybody self-ordered to get done whatever could be done." Dr Moore and Dr Grant began to administer oxygen to the patient, Dr Aycock and Dr Corry, who has a background in pulmonary critical care, began to track the patient's heartbeat and blood pressure, and Dr Noroski worked to reassure the patient's wife. The airline crew also jumped in to help, relaying information to both the captain (in case an emergency landing was needed) and an on-call physician on the ground. Col. Thomas McCay "It was pretty weird," said Col. McCay, recalling that as he came to on the plane, someone popped an aspirin in his mouth and told him to chew. He could hear the group of doctors talking around him, and said he felt more embarrassed than scared. Although Col. McCay was obviously doing better, Dr Aycock stayed by his side as the plane descended into Houston, and the two of them bonded over their shared military background. "It was the perfect pairing," said Col. McCay, who reported that Dr Aycock has since called him at home to see how he is doing. Col. McCay told Medscape Medical News that he is currently feeling fine and has seen his doctor for follow-up tests. "We just want to thank everybody on the plane — the doctors, the crew, and our fellow passengers," he said. Obligated to Help "I really think that any physician who is in a situation like this is obligated to offer the care that they can," said Dr Grant. Dr Andrew Grant "We don't talk about this often, but a lot of physicians are frightened of becoming involved," he told Medscape Medical News. "But you do your best; that's about all a physician can ever do." Dr Grant said he was particularly impressed with Dr Aycock's performance on the flight. "He was the team leader," Dr Grant explained. "His professionalism and abilities were incredible." "I was just lucky to be part of a good team," said Dr Aycock. "It's wonderful to see people come together and work together." Medscape Medical News © 2017 WebMD, LLC Send comments and news tips to news@medscape.net. Cite this article: Doctors Work Together on Plane to Help Passenger in Distress. Medscape. Mar 20, 2017. Three MD's, a dentist.... and they laid him down, gave O2, ASA and reassurence..... EMEDPA would have done all that, and about 16 more things in the first 60 seconds.... Give me a well trained PA any day!!!
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