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  1. Hi Everyone, I am so so grateful that I finally got in to my first choice PA school, but am not feeling very torn about my decision to attend. I just had my first child (found out I was pregnant right after applying) who will be three months old at program start. I have support from my husband and family, but I am so nervous about the experience negatively affecting my marriage and my mental health. Will I be able to manage studying and spending some time with my baby and husband? I really just want to start school already, but I'm starting to second guess myself that maybe I should defer for a year. I'm feeling sad about missing out so much of my daughter's early life, nervous I won't do well academically, and scared that I will be constantly stressed out. I'm looking for advice, encouragement, anything! Sorry for rambling....
  2. Hello All, Melissa Gutierrez MPAS PA-C I wrote today in my blog how to stand out in clinical rotations below is my thread and my link to my blog hope it helps. HOW TO STAND OUT IN ROTATIONS Popular topic on my thread is how to stand out in rotations, This can be for any medical professional or anyone doing hours of shadowing . I did extremely well in all my rotations and got positive feedback from all my preceptors . # 1 RULE is BE HUMBLE !!! Remember you are a GUEST When you are rotating in these clinics/ hospitals/ operation rooms. You are there to learn as much as yo ucan from the provider and staff. Coming in to a new place can be very scary , and you will be dealing with a lot of staff such as nurses , medical assistants, receptionist, administrators , doctors and mid levels. Do NOT come in with the attitude like you know everything and you are already a professional , come in with a positive attitude. I think what helped me is I always showed genuiene interest in learning how the clinic and staff worked and i was a team player. Yes I was studying to be a PA but If I saw nurse be behind , medical assistant need help etc I would always offer to help. So be a team player and be humble. #2 RULE is be happy ! I always made sure to show up ready to work . This included being a positive energy to work with. I always smiled and made sure to say good morning , good afternoon , hello ,etc. I always made sure to show a bit of my personality, part of being a good provider and colleague is being personable. I love what I do and i want to exude that energy. #3 be open to criticism YOU WILL NOT ALWAYS BE RIGHT , in fact most of the time you aren't right. One thing from being in clinical medicine is that it is very different than textbook medicine, once your out in clinic you will see things are done differently and each doctor and staff has thier own way of handling things. Be open to learn and be open when they correct your technique, treatment plans, patient education etc. #4 BE PREPARED to be PIMPED What do I mean by this , is that your preceptor will ask you questions throughout your rotation. They will put you in the spot in front of patients, in front of other doctors and staff, and any time they can. I myself had my fair share of preceptors who " pimped" me and it was brutal. My first rotation was psychiatry with an Amazing doctor and staff, Dr. Igoa. He was so brilliant to learn from but he was tough. He was the definition of pimping , he would ask you questions left and right, he would give you material to study and read and specifically tell you to be ready to answer his questiosn the next day. I was always so scared but I learned that i may not be right but I can at least try, throughout his rotation i started gaining confidence and trusting what I answered and if I was wrong I wanted to know why. At the end of his rotation he told me, " Melissa I would ask you things that quite frankly i didn't expect you to know the answers too, I want you to work on confidence and trusting your treatment plans and understanding why you chose them." So be prepared to be pimped ! Now there may be some preceptors that will pimp you to make you feel dumb-- sorry to say but it's the truth. Always handle it with grace. I remember havign a rotation like this, and If I would be made fun of for getting it wrong I always responded with, " Well I will make sure to review that and study it to not miss it again, or if they asked me something I didn't know the answer too , " I will look into that and have an answer for you tomorrow." I always made sure to be positive and show my ability to learn and handle thie field. #5 BE NICE with your patients and treat them like you would want your family to be treated If you treat your patients well and show them you care believe me that goes a long way. Be prepared to get resistance-- when some patients hear you are a student many of them don't want to be seen or examined by you, but good preceptors will stand up for you. If you show them you are there to learn and give them good quality care they will gain your trust. In my last rotation I was with the same clinic for 7 months -- so I got to know many of our patients to the point that many of them knew when I was graduating and urge me to return , it reassured me that I was doing something right . Providers will want to hire you when they see how easy you can engage with patients-- this helps their practice grow. # 6 Look the part ! always show up looking professional - no one care if you were up studying until 2 AM, didn't get any sleep and have exams coming up , Always show up with your scrubs/ professional clothes, white coat ironed and cleaned, stethoscope and any other medical equipment needed , note pad & pen. Look the part and be prepared for anything. I always carried my otoscope / opthalmoscope with me, had manual BP cuff in car along with extra scrubs , shoes ,white coat in case of any accident. # 7 go the extra mile Many preceptors will tell you " oh we are supposed to close at 5 but we usually work up till 8 pm, you can leave at 5 pm." I always stayed extra, I always offered to do more , Why ? Because you are onlu a student one , this is your opportunity to grow and learn . Make it known your interested , never ASK to leave early, never ASK if you can miss a day to study, never ASK if you can take a break. Mainly make it known that this is what you're passionate about and work your butt off while you're a student. There's always something you can be doing. If you see the clinic is super behind take initiative, offer to help. All of us have assets that we bring, for example I was a scribe before PA school , I used that as a strength, I was quick at charting and working on notes , Quicker than some preceptors because EMR systems are complicated so i always offerred to help and it went a long way Don't be afraid to stand out , this can land you a job and a forever home as a provider. It sure did for me.
  3. Hello all , I'm a recent graduate from UTRGV Class of 2017, Passed PANCE February 8th and now officially a PA-C. Im passionate about sharing my journey in every aspect and I have a blog. Below i shared today's blog if its something you enjoy please follow my blog and email me im here to help melissa-gutierrez.simplesite.com Face your Fears- Live your Dreams I have noticed a constant pattern of the e-mails I've received . Either for people applying to the program , people in the program , or people preparing for the PANCE fear is something that I get constantly asked. Fear of not getting an interview, Fear of not getting into school , Fear of Failing during the program , Fear of preceptors , Fear of not being prepared for your clinicals, FEAR of failing PANCE. I myself have gone through ALL THESE STAGES OF FEAR. But I've learned that FEAR Is the # 1 reason one fails. Fear paralyses us and clouds our judgement. Let me share a personal story. I've share with you all my ANXIETY. But my anxiety truly stems from fear of failing . About 2 weeks before my exam I had a complete breakdown , My husband was the only one who witnessed it. I usually bottle in all my emotions and then POP, I burst . I was getting upset about I don't know what, But in reality I wasn't upset about anything other than I was anxious about my exam. He brought that up to me and said "I think the whole issue is your test." And He was right. I was in a full out anxiety panic, Crying, hyperventilating, nauseaus, and I felt so vulnerable. I didn't understant why I was so scared when all I did was Study ! Reality was no one was pressuring me but myself, I demanded perfection. In person majority of people see me as a happy, bubbly, posiitve person and really that is the best side of me, But when I get anxious I become the opposite. I was so scared of failing , I felt if I failed , I would fail my parents, sister, husband , friends, professors , and patients I made connections with. When my support system would say something positive to me I would freak out , like if they were adding pressure on me but they weren't. I WAS. During this panic attack, I thought ot myself how is my husband dealing with this so calmly? I would be irritated with me If I was him . And He told me " What's the worst case scenario , you fail this exam. So what you take it again. " I remember him tagging me on a facebook post , It was a statement NFL Football Player Russel Wilson said , it states : " I don't see this as pressure. My dad in coma and my mom tyring to help him, That's pressure. This is football , this is something I love. " My husband constantly reminded me that yes It was stressful but I GET TO practice medicine , that's a blessing. Once I started seeing it in that light, studying for this exam is pressure , it's what I got to do so I get to do what I love. Seeing my patients sick, seeing my patients pass away, having to tell someone they have cancer that's pressure , this exam isn't pressure. When you start feeling bad for yourself and allow that to take over you aren't you anymore. My advise is wake up every morning with a purpose, what has helped me is waking up every morning and looking for a positive quote and live my day off that. When I feel that anxiety creeping up, I have to remind myself of everything I have and I get to do. YES I was scared, every minute and second up to the point of when i found out I passed I was scared. BUT I've learned that in moments when you are scared and unsure those are the moments to kneel down , bow your head and pray. GOD has never failed me , even when I think im not deserving he surprises me and shows me his love abundantly. I don't know what I have done to have all the blessings in my life but I do know that every day I thank GOD for my blessings. KICK FEAR in the face and GRAB hold of your FAITH. YOU CAN DO THIS , Do NOT give up. No matter the challenges. You will get there, it may not be when you want It but it will be right when its supposed to happen. Today's quote of the day: BE FEARLESS IN THE PURSUIT OF WHAT SETS YOUR SOUL ON FIRE.
  4. Hi Im Melissa Gutierrez-Perez MPAS-PA-C. I have a blog and thought I would share today's topic on this thread. IF you like it follow my blog - melissa-gutierrez.simplesite.com STANDING OUT Hello all, another recent thread I've seen in my e-mails is people asking what helps their personal statement stand out. Honestly this is the only part of your application that shows your personality and a little about yourself, Everything else is grades, resumes , experience BUT what I believe will help you stand out -- a good personal statement. Often we all write about how passionate we are about helping people and how much we love medicine -- if you are going into this proffesion that is honeslty expected , truth is they want to know the WHY. WHAT in your life made you so passionate about medicine , WHY is this your calling ? I was trying to find my personal statement for PA school but I couldn't find it but I do remember my WHY and WHAt made me so passionate about this field . Thought I would share and hope it gives you some insight on what you can include in your personal statement. I always knew I wanted to do something in medicine when I was in High school , it wasn't until I was in Freshmen in college that I realized what a Physician Assistant was and suddenly I knew I found my niche. There was many things that aspired me to help others- #1 was the upbringing I had with my parents. We came from Monterrey , Nuevo Leon Mexico . My parents decided to come over here in order to work and be able to help take care of my dad's parents who were both starting to have some medical issues. At this young age I didn't understand the concept of being undocumented, I would go to elementary school and I seemed to be just like the other kids - I felt American. It wasn't until I was in high school that I realized I was not like everyone else. Not even like my own sister. She went to Driver's ED and got her license , would travel, and got to visit colleges. When I came to high school I couldn't get a license, work , or even think of going anywhere else for college. It hit me that my opportunities would be a little sparse, but my parents are the definition of Resilience. I knew that I wanted to go to college and study medicine , regardless of my immigration status. This resilience was the reason I had the drive and fire to enter this career. Reason # 2 was My Padrino ( Godfather) -- I've shared this on my blog before but I had a very unique and special relationship with my godfather. It's almost unexplainable unless you were around us. You would think I was his daughter. He himself was so passionate about medicine, he studied medicine in Mexico didn't finish his full career but I remember going to his house in Monterrey and seeing his medical bag -- with stethoscope, bandaids, tounge depressors, reflex hammers. I wanted to be like him. And he would tell me that I had the ability to help people . My padrino got very sick when I was in high school with liver cirrhosis -- I saw him deteriorate in front of my eyes , I saw someone that I loved slowly be taken away from me. He urgently needed a liver transplant which he received In 2011. I thought to myself YES ! He's going to be okay--- but he wasn't . He suffered from Cardiac arrest in October 2011. 2011 was a hard year for my family, we lost my grandma July 2011, My dad's brother August 2011 , and my godfather in october 2011. I experienced so much illness and loss -- and it hit me that this is exactly the career path I wanted. I wanted to be help my patients in their best and worse moments of their life. I wanted to help their families and their loved ones. My Padrino was my WHY . Still is till this day. I don't think I ever got to tell him how much he actually influenced me but I know he is looking down on me. Reason # 3 - I Am passionate about my community and helping improve it. I live in the Rio Grande Valley , A community that is largey undocumented and undeserved . There is a huge lack of patient education -- which Is a key indicator of why i think patients don't get better- they don't even understant their illness. I believe that if you take the time of day to explain to patients what's going on why their lifestyle modifications are so crucial to their health there's a huge improvement in patient compliance. Often in medicine , we are so RUSHED, have to get to next patient ,next surgery, next meeting but the patient in front of you deserve your full time and dedication. I'm so blessed to have been trained by Dr. Griego and his staff, their clinics are the definition of busy , BUT they take the time to educate their patients and explain everything to them. I made sure to explain in my personal statement that not only did i want to help others but in specifically the community in which I was receiving my training from. Reason # 4 - I have the drive of a lion. My family and I didn't have it the easiest, especially financially. My mom was undocumented as well, only my dad and sister were documented. My dad would work from Monterrey and my mom would take care of my sister and I . Eventually things in Mexico got pretty bad and his business over there started going down, this was a huge obstacle that we weren't expecting, We experienced a lot of difficulties in paying just simple things like water, electricity. I remember having to heat up water with boiler outside and my mom would have to rush it to restroom so i could attempt to shower. OR having to go to my boyfriends ( now husbands) house to shower and do homework afterschool . NEVER once did i feel defeated or emberassed of our difficulties , my parents handled this with class. During these times it just so happened that we also experiened our family losses that i mentioned above. At this point I did see my father break, he lost his mother and two brothers in a span of 4 months. I remember feeling defeated espeically with the loss of my godfather. BUT i couldn't break because He was breaking . The man who was holding everything down on his own was officially broken-- not only did he suffer loss and heartbreak but we were having a hard time keeping our home and paying our bills. I could tell it was stress that was finally crumbling him-- my mother never once brought him down, she was still grilling me to excel in school and sports. She was still focused on getting me to pass my SAT to get into college. That summer we officially moved out of OUR home , it was our home for almost 10-12 years. It was sad , we had so many first in this home and I knew my parents had a hard time because it was all their years of hardwork all GONE. We moved to a simpler and smaller home , one that we could afford. I had everything I needed a roof, food, car, water, a bed. At this point our next goal was to become legal US residents, this was our best opportunity to a better life. That's when I knew that more than anything I needed to bust my butt in order to give back to my parents for everything they sacrificed and given me. I set a goal for myself - I was going to get a 4.0 every semester - A goal that i almost met. The only semester I didn't reach this goal was my first, missed it by one class. I know that for many GPA wasn't the most important , but to me it was. I wasn't going to have the experience other had because I couldn't work to get medical experience or apply to programs or research things because i was undocumented , SO my graded needed to be perfect. We struggled a lot to figure out how to fix our legal status -- this was a fear of mine . All this hard work may mean nothing , what If i graduate but im undocumented ? I won't be able to apply to PA school , It would mean nothing. But my parents promised me that we would figure this out, and we did , 6 months before applying to PA school I became a US resident-- and from that moment on I knew nothing was going to stop me. Everything in my life shaped me to be who I am today. Which is why I say I have the drive of a lion-- because no matter how many times they say no I was going to fulfill this dream. I wanted them to get to know me through my personal statement, when I first applied I was waitlisted-- I was so sad . But I didn't give up I would go to campus weekly and talk to different professors and hope that if a position would open I would get in. I talked to One professor In June of 2015, I was in her office for an hour we went back and forth sharing our experiences. She went on to tell me I was 21 , young and didn't have that much experience they though I could use some more hands on and to just keep applying -- I remember telling her almost in tears , " I know that i may not have the resumes other people do but I can assure you no one has the passion and drive I do. I've been thrown curve balls throughout my life and I did it, graduated at 20 years old with honors with a Bachelor's in Biology and a minor in psychology. I can handle this program ." I almost was emberassed that I got so emotional but she went on to tell me .... look out in your e-mail you may be getting something. The next day I received an acceptance letter . Moral of the story is make sure they get to know you, make sure they read that statement and they remember you . STAND OUT !
  5. I PASSED MY BOARDS! GUESS WHO is a PA-C! Hello Everyone , Now I can Officially Say I'm a PA-C. Thank you for all the warm messages wishing me good luck ! I'm so proud to be able to share every step of my journey with all of you. I have received several e-mails on topics and I decided to write about what helped me prepare for my boards. It's so amazing to see so many individuals getting ready for their PANCE as early as when they get accepted. This is the attitude to have, you beging preparing for PANCE day 1 not after you graduate. Rule # 1 - FOCUS * The biggest thing about preparing is having a schedule , using an agenda or planner will help keep your organized. The NCCPA blueprint is pretty extensive and you want to make sure you cover all of it. For example : Monday ( Cardiology: conduction disorders , Acute Coronary Syndrome , pericardial diseases, Pulmonology : Obstructive and Restrictive Diseases , GI: Esophagus and Stomach ,MSK : shoulder , PANCE MASTER- do review questions on each topic) I will talk about PANCE Master further along in blog. * Don't get distracted : when studying try and put your phone away, stay away from social media. If you notice you are getting easily distracted maybe its time to take a break or change locations. * When preparing for boards you need to be strict with your time, While you are in PA school you have a schedule, due dates , etc when preparing for boards the responsibility lies all on you. So it's important to be strict, usually you take your boards 1-2 months after graduation. If you think about it this is the first time you will solely focus on preparing for this exam . Yes during PA school you cover most of these topics , you've been tested on them but you also have many other aspects you are focused on. So for these 1-2 months BOARDS is all you should think about. My family and friends often told me I was a little overboard with my studying , and I was. All i did was think about this exam, but that's how my brain works. I would go to the gym, listen to podcast, clean the house listen to podcast, while i showered listened to podcast. All i did was eat, breathe, sleep PANCE but It paid off. What I'm trying to say is that this is the time where you need to be extra selfish because this exam is tough and yes after 28 months of school you're pretty much exhausted but this is the home stretch , you can do it! Rule # 2- USE GOOD study materials * PANCE PREP pearl book - PA school bible. I love this book , I have said it time and time again this is NOT a book to use when you're barely learnign material , but once you are preparing for you're exam this is a great review book . * PANCE MASTER- this review course solely is focused on questions but it has a good and diverse question bank and it will show what organ systems are your strenghts and weaknesses * PA BOARD review ( now called MED GEEKS) - I LOVED THIS REVIEW , awesome detail on whole blue print. Has notes, videos ,and audio. Rule # 3 - Strengths and Weaknesses * Know what organ systems are your strong and weak points! Now Cardiology, Pulmonology, GI, and Musculoskeletal are the BIG organ systems these NEED TO BE STRONG so if they aren't make sure you work on these areas. * PANCE MASTER -- this will help you see what organ systems you need to study. * NCCPA has practice exams - I took one right after I graduated I wanted to see where I was and I got to see where I had to put some extra work in, it also is a good predictor of how PANCE will be for you Rule # 4- PRACTICE * a huge part of PANCE is knowing how to take EXAM , Knowing your BUZZ words and demographis for different diagnosis I will be putting some notes up on this so hope it helps !!! Rule # 5- CONFIDENCE * I had a hard time in this BUT I had an amazing support system who reminded me why I was doing this. THIS exam is hard and scary , believe me I know it is . I was anxious studying for it, I would have breakdowns. I was constantly worried about failing but I realized that was the problem. I needed to trust all the work I put will pay off. What helped me was looking back on my journey , I applied at 20 years old , undocumented immigrant with no experience . I was initially waitlisted , once I got in i was initially intimidated by all my peers and how accomplished and experience they were but I had to remind myself I was driven and GOD gave me this opportunity because it was meant for me. I surprised myself on a daily basis once I was in PA school. It wasn't about being " SMART" for me , It was the work I put in . Things didn't come naturally for me , I had to read things several times, you tube videoes, make multiple pages of notes , study hard each day in order to become stronger . From the beginning I strived to not be average but to be GREAT at what I do . I was passionate about my career, and I made that the focus of everything. As clinicals approached I made sure to use each patient as a learning experience . Every day was an opportunity to grow and learn. As graduation approached I had seen how much i had evolved as a PA student. When i graduated, I was inducted to the National Honor society for PA's , 1 of 7 students of my class. This was a humbling and powerful moment from me. Looking back on my journey and that day of my white coat ceremony, every obstacle I had ever faced suddenly made sense. Not only was I one of 7 students , but I was the only Latina Female from my class. This was empowering for me because I strive to serve as inspiration and a guide to all Latinos who are pursuing their dream. Don't allow any obstacle or boundary to get in your way. Looking back on my journey I couldn't allow this test to be the only thing stopping me from beginning my career. I was nervous and anxious but that was normal, BUT I had to trust that all the work I put in will pay off. I knew that I couldn't have done more to prepare. I would study for 12 hours a day, miss birthday parties, dinners, celebrations, I put PA school first for almost 31 months, and now I'm a PA-C. I'm not going to lie i came out of the exam not confident, I was scared, I was like what the hell did i Just take? My husband drove me to the exam so as soon as I got into his Car I told him I felt very anxious about it , He looked at me calmly and said " You passed baby, when you put in the work you put in , there's no way you won't get positive results ", I spoke to my parents , his parents, my sister, friends and they all had confidence I would pass. This only made me more anxious I didn't want to dissapoint them , but one thing they all had in common was they all told me they had seen the work I put in and there was no way I wouldn't get compensated for that. On February 8th I woke up at 8:43 AM to go to the restroom, I said why not check my e-mail ,Maybe I'll get my scores 6 days after my exam-- there it was an e-mail from NCCPA !!!! I felt my heart racing and sure enough I was a PA-C. THAT Moment , was one of the happiest moments of my life. I love sharing every part of my journey, If you would have asked me 3 years ago if I saw my life as it is now I would say NO WAY. I'm married to the man of my dreams, now officially completed my dream to become a PA-C, my family is healthy, I'm a godmother to a beautiful and intelligent little 10 month old baby girl, I have an amazing support system with my husband , parents, sister, inlaws, and friends. TRUST The process- humble yourself up- work hard- stay hungry. YES I may have been a little overboard with how i studied and prepared but it got me the results I wanted . You decide the future you want for yourself. I often told myself and my loved ones that I didn't want to be an average PA I wanted to be GREAT , so I worked my butt off day in and day out. I haven't reached my full potential, I have so much to learn and so much to do but I will continue to stay driven. This exam is hard, it will make you doubt yourself, you will look at some of the questions and literally wonder where the hell did they get this material?! That's the point of the EXAM, the PANCE is not meant to be easy , it's meant to challenge you , they want to make sure you are ready to be seeing patient on your own. I will be sharing some quick hits on cardiology up next! Melissa Gutierrez - Perez MPAS-PA-C blog : melisssa-gutierrez.simplesite.com
  6. Hello all, I recently passed the PANCE and now I'm a PA-C will be sharing my journey from PA- school , study tips , preparing for boards, cases in the real world, etc here's my link : http://melissa-gutierrez.simplesite.com/
  7. Good morning, Melissa MPAS-PA Taking boards in February, Have a blog that shares my daily experiences, tips, study habits, videos , etc. follow it : melissa-gutierrez.simplesite.com
  8. Good morning, I'm a recent graduate from University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. Preparing for the PANCE .I have a blog that shares my daily experiences please follow -- melissa-gutierrez.simplesite.com new video up - youtube link on my blog.
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