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Current UC Davis Students Please Comment!

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Recently I've been hearing a lot of weird stuff about UC Davis. First of all they don't even reply to emails apparently. So I called the program and the person who I spoke with said that each rotation is going to be TWO WEEKS long!! How is it even possible for you to learn anything at a site in two weeks. Secondly, I shadowed a PA who was precepting some UC Davis students and she was really surprised at how unskilled they were which was a big shock to her since she graduated from the UC Davis program years ago.

Do you think the transition from the UC Davis SOM to the School of Nursing is hurting the program? What changes have you noticed? Are you able to discuss any pros and cons you've experienced from being the transition class?

Any insight is greatly appreciated.

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Hi aiviphung. I am a current first year, so I am only about 1 month into the program so take my advice with a grain of salt. I am not sure who told you the rotations are two weeks and perhaps the question was misunderstood, but from what the rotation schedule looks like, each rotation lasts for at least a month, with multiple rotations for Primary Care. Regarding your preceptor commenting on the "unskilled PA students from Davis", the program has begun incorporating the use of the Student-Run Clinics on campus into their curriculum. The PA students are required a certain amount of hours in the clinic seeing patients (as the provider) to hone in those clinical skills. The program has also been modified, now including a "Clinical Skills Course" where we learn the patient interview this quarter. We just saw our first standardized patient today (we are on Week 5 of the program), so as you can see, they really begin cultivating those skills early on. I'd like to say that perhaps your preceptor had a "bad batch", but who knows. I believe the transition from the SOM to the SON was the best thing for the program. We now have access to the most advanced resources and have become a more pivotal program within the school. When the program was part of the SOM, we were sort of the "bastard child" with little recognition or acknowledgement.

 

As the transition class, there are obviously struggles. But when you hit "Submit" on your CASPA application, you are recognizing that you are giving up two years of your life to some of the most strenuous work you will ever do in order to become a phenomenal provider. That said, I think it's important to remain flexible and optimistic with the goal in site (2 years is NOTHING!). Another quick note, as medicine evolves, so much the program in which the student comes from in order to keep up with it. So no matter where you end up going, the program will have some "bumps in the road". This quarter has less structure than I had anticipated, but if you're telling me I'm going to be a PA in 2 years, then I'll do whatever you want me to to get to that point. Hope this helps.

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Thanks for the input Tall Scrubs. The woman named Mercedes who I spoke to said there were a lot of changes for the next cycle (i.e. two week rotations, no more distance rotations, etc.) which I'm a bit sad about but I'll see if I can speak to someone else to double check.

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I am also a 1st year, and would agree with everything mentioned by Tall Scrubs. We are the first 'official' class to not have the distance education & to receive a Master's degree. So we are out of the transition from the distance program already. As far as rotations, I have heard that distance rotations may be difficult but not impossible; we have the same core rotations as all schools (primary care, EM, surgery, psych, etc) and the two elective rotations I believe are 2 weeks long. But we have 16 weeks primary care (which can include EM/urgent care, etc), minimum 4 weeks in surgery, minimum 2 weeks in psych/EM/inpatient/women's health/peds (some of which can be included within the 16 weeks of primary care)... keep in mind that the program is heavily geared towards primary care but we still will get all of the important core rotations.

As far as the bumps in the road.. there have been some challenges, but our class is giving A LOT of feedback.. so we are hopeful that many of the largest bumps will be worked out for next year's class. Bottom line... it's a renowned University with an excellent reputation in the PA program as far as first time PANCE pass rate, endless resources available to us...I'll just say that I still feel lucky to be here :)

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Thank you. It sound like you are both happy with the program and that definitely makes me feel less concerned.

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To be honest, I did get into both programs I applied to and obviously chose Davis. At first I was caught up on the logistical issues, but I am over that and happy with my decision and feel that having UC Davis on my resume will be a benefit when job hunting. PA school is what you make of it! :) Hope you apply!

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I guess I should Chime in. I am a current 2nd year student one week away from starting clinical rotations. Two more days and didactic year is DONE (yay!) This year's current first year class is the first class approved for the Masters, but our class was the first "on-campus" non-distance learning class to troubleshoot the new Master's curriculum. The point is, they have gotten a ton of feedback from us (and this years class it seems-good job guys!) and are adjusting for the better as they go.

 

As far as rotations go, they are placed in 2 week "blocks." This doesn't mean that you'll only be at a site for 2 weeks at a time. For example, we have to do a minimum of 8 blocks (16 weeks of primary care). For my clinical schedule, I will be starting off for 2 blocks (4 weeks) at a primary care site. My next block will be Psychiatry at the VA in Mather (2 weeks). After that rotation, I go back to the same site for primary care for another 2 blocks (4 weeks) then move to an urgent care clinic for another 2 blocks. Inpatient rotation is also a single block (2 weeks) while surgery is 2 blocks (4 weeks). Still with me? Every 4 weeks we all have to come back to school for a week to test out on our rotations, while taking "speed courses." These weeks are known to be crazy intensive, doing 2-4 tests in a week, while taking classes. Like Bgerali said, there are minimum requirements in specific areas that can be fulfilled at your primary care site and you get 2 optional blocks to use if you are interested in a specific specialty.

 

Our class has gotten a really good chance to see some of the changes from the SOM to SON since most of our first year was under the SOM. Under the SOM, our program is very small compared to the Med program (100 students). That means what our priory was really low as far as getting time at the student run clinics or access or clinical skills lab. There were a handful of situations where the SOM wouldn't even listen to our concerns at all. That has changed since the switch since we now have an administrative group that can push for us. They also have a lot more funds to use towards our program and are very enthusiastic towards revamping and improving it. At first I was disappointed in the move, but I feel like its a positive thing for the program and its students.

 

I encourage you to apply! Every school has their pros and cons, but in the end, it is really on you as the student to go beyond your program to help make you a better provider. Best of luck!

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To those who are in the UC Davis program or graduated from the program, how do/did you like the program? I met a student from the program about two years ago, and he said very plainly, "do not go to UCD for PA school." He said that the program isn't well organized or structured (it's pretty new right?) and that other programs are better. I won't be applying to PA school for a few years, but I'm trying to figure out which schools might be are good fit for me. Location-wise UCD would be great, but location can't be my main reason for choosing a school. Please try to be as unbiased/impartial as you can. The program can be good even with its faults. And maybe the program just wasn't a good fit for him. We didn't have an in depth conversation... Thanks!

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Immune: I'm a current first year (as stated above).

 

Now that my first quarter is over, let me share a few things...

 

(1) Program is not new, but the Master's Degree curriculum is. UC Davis meets all standards, requirements and expectations set by the ARC-PA, has great PANCE passing rates, and has an excellent "job-upon-graduation" percentage.

 

(2) Because the program has now added the MS portion, it has become quite unstructured and disorganized. My classmates and I had a very rough first quarter trying to learn how to anticipate exams, assignments, what to study, etc. But then again--it was our first quarter and I suppose that can be said by anyone from any program.

 

(3) The lack of structure comes from the program "transitioning". In order to maintain its desirability, UC Davis must try to implement all the "bells and whistles" that other big programs have. One great example of this is the "Team-Based Learning" curriculum. There are fewer lecturers, less in class time, and more real-life cases that allow the student to work in a team and apply everything they learned to a case. Remember, in order for programs to rain desirable, they must be in constant transition.

 

(4) One of the things that keeps me in love with what I'm doing and why I chose UC Davis is thy as a PA-S1, I am already seeing patients in clinic, diagnosing and treating and educating. It's incredible and I have learned SO MUCH through this. Few programs offer this opportunity.

 

(5) The PA students actually have classes WITH the med students. Our entire physical exam course is taught collaboratively with the med students. This should really help instill and cultivate the idea of "collaborative medicine" with the future physicians.

 

If you're waiting to apply for a few years, I think that gives the program ample time to straighten things out and get its feet on the ground. It has a sh*t ton of money now and absolutely capable of establishing itself given the appropriate amount of time. But remember, everything you hear about any program from anyone is relative. I will forever support this program no matter what because, well, I chose it. But a ton of my classmates are jaded and will likely tell you not to apply. Again, everything you hear is relative. Gather enough opinions and advice to make an educated decision.

 

 

Hope this helps.

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To those who are in the UC Davis program or graduated from the program, how do/did you like the program? I met a student from the program about two years ago, and he said very plainly, "do not go to UCD for PA school." He said that the program isn't well organized or structured (it's pretty new right?) and that other programs are better. I won't be applying to PA school for a few years, but I'm trying to figure out which schools might be are good fit for me. Location-wise UCD would be great, but location can't be my main reason for choosing a school. Please try to be as unbiased/impartial as you can. The program can be good even with its faults. And maybe the program just wasn't a good fit for him. We didn't have an in depth conversation... Thanks!

 

I have to agree with everything Tall_Scrubs said. I'm now on my second block of clinical rotations (PA-SII). I've already done 1 month in primary care and am now in Psychiatry at the VA. I will tell you that it is amazing how much information I have retained. Granted a lot of it has to do with how you study, and how much individual drive you have towards making yourself better, but the biggest concern I had going into clinicals was, "am I prepared?" In short, you'll never be prepared, but I will say that I was NOT unprepared. Because, like Tall_Scrubs said, we have had time in student run clinics, and can take a decent history, do a physical exam, and after didactic year, you WILL KNOW what labs to order, be able to construct appropriated differentials diagnoses and formulate appropriate assessments and treatment plans. I am surprised at how far I am already as I am already doing all of that on my own (ie. seeing my own patients). Yes, the program is chaotic. Yes, the program is transitioning, but has been for the past 3 years, but that's also medicine in general. Be adaptable, work hard and you'll get whatever you need out of this program as with any other program. 1st time PANCE pass rates don't lie.

 

One small hiccup I've already ran into (which I am assuming you will too Tall_Scrubs, along with your class), is the confusion of us being under the School of Nursing... as a PA. I've already had multiple pts. ask me if I'm a nurse d/t the embroidering on my white coat. It's hard enough trying to explain to them what a PA is, and being a student, but why we're part of school of nursing pretty much uses a third of your 15 minute pt. time! Like I said, its probably just an annoying hiccup, as the School of Nursing does have a lot more money and resources that will benefit the program, but just keep in mind for future meetings with the staff about the embroidering issue. ;) See you on campus in a few weeks.

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I'm a prior grad here and just wanted to comment on the self learning. Learning to "learn" on your own is what medicine is all about. Regardless of where you graduate it's not going to be enough and if you expect a program to teach you everything your mistaken. The majority of your learning comes the first year working as a PA and not in school. The first year you are not getting spoon fed material from your supervising doc, but your expected to go see and treat. In my case I was completely autonomous right out the door..and this has allowed me to learn an incredible amount in such a short amount of time. My point is if you are truly invested in your education you will do great and For what it's worth UC Davis has some of the best guest lectures to help you along the way. Good luck in whatever you decide!

 

 

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Hi everyone! I applied to UC Davis this year and received a secondary. I am very interested in this program but would like to learn more about the program. I was wondering if anyone can answer a few of the following questions: what is the typical class schedule during the first year? How many hours and days of the week are typically spent in class? Also I saw the simulation center on a tour and I was wondering if we have access to the simulation center for clinical training? Lastly where are the rotations generally located and what distance do students have to travel for rotations? Thank you so much and I would love to hear any insight from current students:)!

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Hi everyone! I applied to UC Davis this year and received a secondary. I am very interested in this program but would like to learn more about the program. I was wondering if anyone can answer a few of the following questions: what is the typical class schedule during the first year? How many hours and days of the week are typically spent in class? Also I saw the simulation center on a tour and I was wondering if we have access to the simulation center for clinical training? Lastly where are the rotations generally located and what distance do students have to travel for rotations? Thank you so much and I would love to hear any insight from current students:)!

 

I am a current first year and would be happy to answer your questions.

 

1. What is the typical class schedule during the first year?

It changes depending on the quarter. The first quarter, we had class basically 8-5 Monday thru Friday. Last quarter we had class Tues-Friday, with Friday being a half day and the other days basically 8-5 days. This coming quarter we only have class Tues-Thurs, pretty much 8-5. However, we have a hybrid online class, certain days where we have to be on campus until 8 pm, and an all day class on a Sunday.

 

2. Do we have access to the simulation center for clinical training?

YES, absolutely. After the first quarter, you will be in the sim lab at least once per week. Last quarter we did a ton of fun things like mock patient visits, learned how to do basic ultrasound/echos, drew blood, learned male and female sensitive exams on standardized patients, and a final consisting of a full physical on a standardized patient.

 

3. Where are the rotations generally located and what distance do students have to travel for rotations?

Rotations are typically in the Sacramento area, although you can request elsewhere and also your own preceptors if you wish. They do try to accommodate if they can. There are also two rural rotation sites. One is near Eureka, and I'm not sure where the other is. I do know that they are paying for all accommodations if you are selected to go to a rural rotation, which is really nice.

 

Let me know if you have any other questions! :)

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Awesome, thank you so much! That all sounds great and it seems like a really great program! I'm hoping I'll get accepted, and thanks again for taking the time to give that information!

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It is confusing to move Physician Assistant training which is based on the Medical Model to a Nursing School which has a different philosophy. I think PA's should be trained at Medical Schools not at Nursing Schools. While interviewing, I was asked about the differences between PA's and NP's and the interviewer was quick to point out that I did not mention that most NP's are trained at Nursing Schools not Medical Schools and I understand that is not always the case. The name Physician Assistant is already confusing, training them with nurses just furthers the problem. 

 

What really matters is what you do with your training.

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Actually one more question I have is how is anatomy taught at Davis? Is there a cadaver lab? Thank You!

 

I'm not sure what they are planning on doing with the next cohort because we put up a huge stink about this. We had no cadaver lab, it was all done virtually. The program itself is pretty useful, but in my opinion...it is nothing like being hands on. I'm fortunate that I had a really great cadaver lab in undergrad.

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I would love to hear any advice from current students about places to live. What are some good areas to look for rentals within reasonable driving distance? Are there areas to avoid? What would typical rent be for a person living alone? How is traffic to and from school on a typical weekday?  I'll be out looking for places in a couple weeks and definitely need some advice!

 

I'm willing to spend a little more for a nicer place with a few more square feet or nicer amenities.

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racheltanya, contact the the specific division at the UC Davis Medical Center that you want to shadow. I shadowed in the CVICU for two days. They would have let me shadow four, but my schedule did not permit that much time away from work and school. Also, check with Shriners across the street. They require a thorough background check and application process, but since you are a UC Davis student some of that may be waived. They permit up to 30 days of shadowing. Lastly, check with any Kaiser Premanente physicians/physicians assistants that you know. The Kaiser South hospital is particularly open to shadowing, but you need to have a sponsor willing host you. They permit up to 80 hours of shadowing.

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Ryebread203 pls who do I contact at Shriners in order to shadow a PA? I volunteer at Shriners in surgery/recovery, though I've not come in contact with any PA there yet, but it'll be good to shadow one hopefully.

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Nuoodns, you are probably right that there aren't any PAs at Shriners. However, they are very open to having students shadow in their services. I contacted the Dept of Burn Surgery and Plastic/Reconstructive. That department phone number is 916-453-2050.. 

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