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Hello,

 

I am looking to find out some more information on what IPAP was actually like for those whom recently have gone through it. I am putting my packet in this cycle and haven't been able to find very much information on how the program is ran itself.

 

I am currently an SMP Cadet with 3 years as 11b for the National Guard and am trying to weigh a civilian school vs. IPAP

 

Basically, what I am looking for is:

 

What a typical day at IPAP was like?

Where did you get to do your clinical rotations?

Do you choose where to do clinical?

Is there a lot of power point learning or is it problem based?

Is it pretty laid back or is someone constantly jumping down your throat?

Where you close with your fellow classmates?

How is the technology (i.e. learning aids/simulations)?

What was your favorite part?

Was there any leave? (Exodus)?

And finally...

If I am an O-1 while I go through do I get paid as an O-1? (I am assuming yes and it may be a dumb question, but I am literally getting no answers from anyone!)

 

 

 

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What a typical day at IPAP was like?


Phase 1 (San Antonio, TX) Death by powerpoint from 0800 to 1700 (you often get "study time" which means you get out early, this varies though), 50 question block tests most Mondays and Fridays (which you come in earlier for, like at 0700)


Phase 2 (clinical rotations) depends on rotation and site. typically 0800-1600ish. ER rotations on the weekends or at night (or when you can fit them in, varies from site to site)


 


Where did you get to do your clinical rotations?


1 of 14 Army hospitals (or whatever your branch is, Navy has 1 site, Air Force has 4 I think).... you can search on line for a list


 


Do you choose where to do clinical?


Kind of. The class sorts this out, or the administrators get pissed and randomly assign people. Most people in my class got 1 of their top choices. 


 


Is there a lot of power point learning or is it problem based?


Power point. Power point marathons with tests 2 times per week. Some tests are straight forward, most aren't. Honestly most classes were incredibly boring, on full schedule days I had issues trying to stay focused on lectures and would end up studying for the upcoming test or surfing the internet. 


 


Is it pretty laid back or is someone constantly jumping down your throat?


For the most part, on the military side of things, you just have to take a PT test twice a year. Occasionally things get stupid, but mostly it is laid back as long as you aren't late or in the wrong uniform.


 


Where you close with your fellow classmates?


Sure, you end up sitting in the same seat, next to the same person for over year. By the end I was taking warm  showers in the wee hours of the morning with my row-mates.


 


How is the technology (i.e. learning aids/simulations)?


You get a lap top and an internet connection. Simulators are ok, mostly you practice physical exams on other students. We had a model for the OB/GYN portion. We also did a goat lab.


 


What was your favorite part?


The goat lab (it is very humane btw)


 


Was there any leave? (Exodus)?


2 weeks over christmas, a few 4 day weekends, 1 week off between "semesters" 


 


And finally...


If I am an O-1 while I go through do I get paid as an O-1? (I am assuming yes and it may be a dumb question, but I am literally getting no answers from anyone!)


Yup. You can also get promoted (enlisted can't).... but at the end of school your time gets halved. So if you have 6 years as an officer you become an officer with 3years in.... you still get paid for having 6 years BUT your rank might be reduced. If this confuses you, look at the MILPER message. This is a recent change, they used to half your time on day one of starting school (show if you showed up as a Captain, you might become a 1LT). Again read the instruction if you are confused, but yes you get paid at your current rank.


 


Finally it is a tough course. We had people failing out through every semester of phase 1. We had cases were instructors wrote ridiculous tests with poorly sourced, ambiguous  or straight up incorrect questions... and sometimes it felt incredibly unfair. I never failed any academic tests prior to IPAP but I did there (still managed to do decent and graduate). There were lots of really smart people that failed out. Phase 2 was much better but you still run into lots of challenges (and people do fail out during clinicals).


 


So, what I am saying is make sure you really REALLY want to be a PA. Don't show up thinking it will be a breeze because you got an A+ in General Chemistry. It is difficult and incredibly stressful. Oh and the application process is painful, with a long wait for results, so the pain starts before you even show up.

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So it sounds like a typical TRADOC environment? I am more than set on becoming a PA, however, the thought of going through the military makes me a somewhat nervous... My biggest fear is that I won't get as much out of IPAP that I would out of civilian school. Did you learn a lot from IPAP/ do you feel at the end of the course you where just as competitive as other PA's who came from civilian schools?

 

Also for the laptop, do they make you get one even if you already have one?

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I wouldn't say it is typical TRADOC. It is definitely not BCT/AIT or anything like what you have probably experienced in your time in. You don't stand fire watch or practice rifle drills or recite endless creeds; you go to class and take tests. 

 

Yes I learned a lot. I have zero experience in civilian PA schools but IPAP scores pretty high in national rankings (13th I think), it has a good reputation as far as I know. I imagine all schools have strengths and weaknesses... I doubt that any school is insanely better at everything. Does IPAP have some short comings? Sure. I was complaining about the tests and I would bet that every single PA school has the same problem (hell the PANCE had a lot of obscure or dodgey questions, talking to MDs and med students, they seem to have the same issue). Overall my experience was great, it could have been better but I'm not sure if a civilian school would have done things better. Maybe civilian schools do more teaching using friendship circles or meditative workshops, maybe they give out free ponies, hell if I know.

 

On thing about IPAP that is probably different in civilian schools: if you start failing you go to a board and unlike a civilian school (where you are paying to attend) the military has zero incentive to keep you there so, in my opinion,  they take a harder look at you. That being said they were pretty fair when I was there, but we still had many people fail out.

 

Also, for the most part, you are going to get out PA school exactly what you put into it, regardless of if you go to IPAP or some hot shot civilian school. Realistically if there is something you didn't get much experience in school, you talk to your MD or peers and learn on the job.... so it washes out in the end I think.

 

 

 

Laptop: yes, it is pretty much the only way you can get internet in the class room (unless you hot spot a phone) and you take all tests on said laptop. You can use iPads/tablets or your own laptop during lectures though.

 

Keep in mind that getting accepted to IPAP or a civilian school is not exactly easy. One good thing about IPAP is that you don't require clinical hours to apply, so there is that. Also if you go active you have a job right after graduation.

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IPAP is awesome.  Full pay and benefits while a student, no student loans to pay afterwards.  Beat that, Yale.

 

Seriously, though, I think it is an objectively good, rigorous program.  It is not in the interest of the military to produce sub-standard PA's.  

 

There are occasionally threads around here by prospective PA students obsessing over perceived school quality and the importance of big-name alumni networks, and I'd urge you not to fall into that trap.  At the end of the day, I don't think most (any?) employers give a second thought to where you went to school.  If the issue is the quality of instruction, well, I can't really speak to how things are at any other school - but understand that the material is of a sufficient breadth and depth that you will really have to be a very active participant in your own learning regardless of where you do it.  

 

I would focus more on the clinical rotations available in any of your prospective programs than anything else.  I went through the Navy, and we only have one clinical site for IPAP (San Diego) and our rotations were slightly different than the Army and AF sites, but I did:

 

- Otolaryngology

- Psychiatry

- Internal Medicine

- Ophthalmology

- Sports Medicine

- General Surgery

- Dermatology

- Trauma

- Emergency Medicine

- Obstetrics/Gynecology

- Orthopedics

- Pediatrics

- Family Medicine

 

I feel like it was a pretty well-rounded education, and one that prepares you to function as an independent generalist provider of acute care medical services.  I come across many providers who are hopeless on Derm and Ophtho, for example, never having had a rotated through the specialties, and I feel comparatively strong on both.  But then, I see a lot of Derm patients in my practice, and not so much diabetes/HTN/CHF, etc., so I feel pretty weak on that stuff (although it seems fairly easy and I'm sure I could wrap my head around it quickly if/when I start seeing those types of patients).

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A lot of my friends have gone through this program when I was active duty I almost applied to it. Its very rigorous. In the navy portion of the class 9 out of the 15 members who went through it failed out. Most of them got terrible orders afterwards and ended up in 29 Palms, 1st Mar DIV with me. 

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A lot of my friends have gone through this program when I was active duty I almost applied to it. Its very rigorous. In the navy portion of the class 9 out of the 15 members who went through it failed out. Most of them got terrible orders afterwards and ended up in 29 Palms, 1st Mar DIV with me. 

 

What year was this?  My class had 0/15 Navy students fail.  Graduated Phase 1 in 2012 - I feel like I would've heard about 9/15 failures, unless it just happened...

 

Also, orders is just luck of the draw.  We didn't send anyone to 29 Palms, and in fact only 3 of us got green side orders at all (1 to Pendleton, 2 to Lejeune).

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What year was this?  My class had 0/15 Navy students fail.  Graduated Phase 1 in 2012 - I feel like I would've heard about 9/15 failures, unless it just happened...

 

Also, orders is just luck of the draw.  We didn't send anyone to 29 Palms, and in fact only 3 of us got green side orders at all (1 to Pendleton, 2 to Lejeune).

The guy I worked with was in it 2 years ago I think. Hes the one that was feeding me this information and then my LT said the same thing later. I was meaning that if you fail out you'll get not so great orders.

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If you're trying to compare civilian to military programs, what hormiga described about IPAP sounds pretty much what my civilian school was like, minus the uniforms (although I've heard some civilian schools make their students wear business casual every day). PowerPoint hell for the first year, then clinicals the next. And my civilian school would get super shitty if you're late to a lecture as well, that's not really just a military thing once you're at the graduate level. They also have extremely strict passing measures. One guy failed out our first semester because he was one point below the score he needed in Anatomy and my school was like... sorry, not sorry. Probably for the best in retrospect, because I doubt he would have made it through the rest of the program anyway if he was struggled that much in the beginning. We also don't have much in the way of time off besides a week or two during didactic and pretty much no guaranteed time off during clinical year, since it is all site dependent.

 

I'm doing the HSCP program and I'm in my clinical year right now. I imagine every school is somewhat different - one of my friends went to a PA school where they do a lot of PBL learning, which she really enjoys and I sort've hate - so it's all relative. If you want to look at how a school is doing, I would look at its PANCE pass rates, not all schools have great first time pass rates. It does make me wonder about the quality of school if it can't even properly prepare at least 90%+ of it's students to pass the PANCE the first go-round. As far as rankings go, I don't pay attention to the USNWR at all, as the statistical measures they use are worthless. They're basically peer evals. So I wouldn't let it psych you out that IPAP isn't an Ivy League or whatever.

 

Good luck!

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Hello,

 

I am looking to find out some more information on what IPAP was actually like for those whom recently have gone through it. I am putting my packet in this cycle and haven't been able to find very much information on how the program is ran itself.

 

I am currently an SMP Cadet with 3 years as 11b for the National Guard and am trying to weigh a civilian school vs. IPAP

 

Basically, what I am looking for is:

 

What a typical day at IPAP was like?

Where did you get to do your clinical rotations?

Do you choose where to do clinical?

Is there a lot of power point learning or is it problem based?

Is it pretty laid back or is someone constantly jumping down your throat?

Where you close with your fellow classmates?

How is the technology (i.e. learning aids/simulations)?

What was your favorite part?

Was there any leave? (Exodus)?

And finally...

If I am an O-1 while I go through do I get paid as an O-1? (I am assuming yes and it may be a dumb question, but I am literally getting no answers from anyone!)

 

 

If you're trying to compare civilian to military programs, what hormiga described about IPAP sounds pretty much what my civilian school was like, minus the uniforms (although I've heard some civilian schools make their students wear business casual every day). PowerPoint hell for the first year, then clinicals the next. And my civilian school would get super shitty if you're late to a lecture as well, that's not really just a military thing once you're at the graduate level. They also have extremely strict passing measures. One guy failed out our first semester because he was one point below the score he needed in Anatomy and my school was like... sorry, not sorry. Probably for the best in retrospect, because I doubt he would have made it through the rest of the program anyway if he was struggled that much in the beginning. We also don't have much in the way of time off besides a week or two during didactic and pretty much no guaranteed time off during clinical year, since it is all site dependent.

 

I'm doing the HSCP program and I'm in my clinical year right now. I imagine every school is somewhat different - one of my friends went to a PA school where they do a lot of PBL learning, which she really enjoys and I sort've hate - so it's all relative. If you want to look at how a school is doing, I would look at its PANCE pass rates, not all schools have great first time pass rates. It does make me wonder about the quality of school if it can't even properly prepare at least 90%+ of it's students to pass the PANCE the first go-round. As far as rankings go, I don't pay attention to the USNWR at all, as the statistical measures they use are worthless. They're basically peer evals. So I wouldn't let it psych you out that IPAP isn't an Ivy League or whatever.

 

Good luck!

 

Assuming I pass my last 4 exams in the next 10 days I will be graduating phase I and headed for phase II...

 

I grew up as a medic idolizing IPAP. I've had my heart broken a bit but I am sure I made the right choice by coming here. I arrived with a full B.S. in bilogy (just shy of having it in Biochemistry) and a M.S. in Business... despite all the accomplishment scholastically I am a mid-range performer here.

 

It is challenging beyond belief. 102 GRADUATE level credit hours in 16months... I am sure civilian schools ARE tough BUT taking that credit load (~25.25 credits a semester... which is REALLY only 15 wks cause the last week is admin) is insane. They used to do that in a year BUT during the re-accredidation process the ARC-PA did the math and assuming "normal" study requirements and time to eat, and commute ARC-PA determined that the students were only allowed ~ 2hrs to sleep.

 

IPAP leads the national average in all subjects EXCEPT psychiatry... possibly because this place DOES Make you a bit unstable.

 

Military F***-F*** games aside, what makes the program insane is their sliding scale. There is absolutely NO curves but they statistically breakdown the exams and "high-performing questions" (questions that a good percentage of students get right) are removed from the test and MORE difficult questions are selected to keep their average at a acceptable level. This sets you up for success if you graduate as IPAP's PANCE pass rate is 100% for multiple years... Few people actually attend PANCE pass seminars or get review books because by the end of Phase II you are a test taking machine... Seriously, its intense.

 

That said... there were dark, dark, dark times here... when you have a family and failure isn't an option you are stuck just POUNDING through material. You get a "free" education... and a GREAT one at that BUT they will take it out on you here. The level of instructor here is, in most case, phenomenal... but, because the time to read, review and understand the material is to small for instruction to be more than a quick review of material... You really ARE teaching yourself here. This close to the end and people STILL fail out (we have lost more people than I can remember since "freshmen" semester.)

 

I never attended civilian PA school but I was accepted to a number of programs before IPAP came calling... I dont want to dismiss other programs. The intensity here though is incredible... we are fundamentally solid in a number of skills you are expected to learn OTJ on the civilian side... we have extensive Ortho training, surgery training, enough Pharm to qualify us as Pharm D students and we are put through the ringer on radiology and ekg at a level above most civilian programs (generalization, if the shoe fits wear it). As evidence of this claim we need to acknowledge that some people in my class... within a VERY short time of being done with PA school, will be deployed and will be providing EXTENSIVE medical care to a VARIETY of people in austere conditions with less than desirable equipment and ZERO medical supervision from a MD. This is why the attrition rate is high (also a reason why we are only #11 in the country). If we were given the MINIMUM we couldn't accomplish that.. so we are trained to the MAXIMUM. You can hear my pride in this, obviously, but make no mistake... I HATE this place. I jokingly say, "3 deployments to Iraq and I had NO PTSD... 1 year at IPAP and I have PTSD"... there may be SOME truth in my humor.

 

I would say do it... if you can keep up, it is VERY rewarding and you will stand OUT in the civilian sector (I am National Guard BTW). If you fail... odds are being a PA probably isnt for you.

 

If you do have the 'privledge' of going to IPAP... I share with you the ultimate piece of advice... "Never trust ANYONE" <-- sometimes this even means yourself

 

(Disclaimer... don't mistake the tone of this post and mis-translate my intent. It is said for 95% entertainment purposes, there is SOME truth in these words though)

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I agree with everything eischcream said above.

As far as attrition goes, we lost or recycled 20% of our class.

 

I am about to graduate from Phase 2 so here is some perspective on clinicals. I actually think this is where IPAP is far superior to most other schools. You get assigned to one fort or base and you pretty much stay there the whole time. You work in the hospital. You work in clinics. You work days, nights, weekends, and long shifts. But the best thing is that you get to do so much more than most civilian counterparts. A benefit of being in the military system is that it is military and you are protected from all sorts of liability and malpractice. This gives you and the hospital more leeway in terms of your work than many civilian schools. I have friends in civilian PA schools that are amazed at how many procedures we get to do.

 

I was also fortunate that the base I am at had no medical students and very very few residents to compete with. With the lack of residents, again, you get to do it ALL. You are only limited by your initiative and how much confidence your preceptors have in you.

 

IPAP has been a brutal process, but there is no other PA program I would have rather gone to.

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Private PBL program student perspective for comparisons sake, sorry if veers OT some: IPAP is deservedly considered a great prog. And turns out great PAs. The heavy PP sounds awful although a lot of programs feature it. PP is a dangerous narcotic and a bane to higher learning. A lot of profs, esp. Adjuncts act like it's a necessary evil but it's really not and actually a very dull and inefficient teaching tool. Of course I know from experience it's one of the go-to weapons in the Army arsenal. One of the appeals for faculty is that it it can be handed down and reused providing a canned lecture format. Some is fine but there are better alternatives to DBPP. My EKG prof was, a cardiologist,used 2 sheets of word notes for his "slides" and made the chalk fly and really taught the material from a clinical perspective. Our profs often use a short PP AS a base but don't hug the slides the whole time. Pharm is lecture but taught by a great md and pharm d adjuncts with student case presentations and lots of pimping and discussion and the drugs are well integrated into the other courses. I remember when I interviewed at Daemon, a top third USNWR school, it was insanely cold and the student tour guide pointed to a room and said we would spend 18 mo. In there listening to lectures. No thanks. I suspected Touro Manh. My other admit was similar. I didn't want that although I know students who don't care either way.

 

I chose St. Francis Ft. Wayne bc. It's PBL and think it was a great move. You should consider PBL. Wake and S. Illinois also use it (think there are about 20 programs). I agree that you will get out what you put in but look for a good learning fit too; everybody pretty much puts everything in if they have a chance imo:). USF is a small prog (25) and only the first summer is mostly lecture along with ekg and cadaver. Fall term is a mix and then 2 terms of all pbl followed by clinicals. 27 mo. And starts in may. We meet seminar style in 3 groups of 8 and profs are rotated thru the groups as facillitators. They ask a lot of questions and dont give many answers. We did 9 cases in depth this fall and it doubles in next 2 terms. We hang white roll paper on all the walls and lay out the case in sharpie. I find that I learn the material so much better and that everything is layed into a clinical/differential context from the get go. Tests are mostly MC but formated like med board/pance type questions and i use a lot of med board study aids to study. I think we probably retain just as much with a little less chaotic stress and pbl keeps it stimulating. I think the marginal utility of putting students thru total hell vs. Partial hell is limited as the excessive pressure and pace starts to impair retention. Sounds like IPAPs procedure training and clinicals are top notch but we have 100% pance 8 yrs. Running and we haven't dumped anyone (close). I mean what a disaster that is for the student: PA def. Wouldn't be for them anymore as would be really tough to get a seat somewhere imo. You would def. Want to factor the risk of washing out into your decision. It's not free like IPAP but I used GI bill for first two terms.

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