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Hello all,

 

 

I was recently accepted into PA school :):) and I am already thinking of possible paths to take once I finish school. I really like the idea of traveling all over the country as a practicing PA and gaining experience in a variety of settings. I've heard of a travel nurse and all of the benefits, but is there a such thing as a "travel PA"?  

 

I've done some research on this topic and I seem to come across "locum tenens" positions a lot, but is this similar to what a travel nurse does, in terms of working with traveling companies, having a lot of options and negotiation in the contracts, and receiving great benefits, etc.? Is it common for PAs to take only locum tenens positions as their full time source of income throughout the year?

 

What are your thoughts? I honestly just want to learn more and I am open to ANY and ALL feedback! :)

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this can be done , but you need to hone your basic skills for 3-5 years first. I have a friend with licenses in CA, OR, WA, HI, and AK and he works jobs in all of them. doable, but challenging to swing on your own. there are travel companies like comp health and staff care that you can work for as a full time employee with benefits and change settings every 1-3 months. they cover all the licensing, travel arrangements, etc

http://www.comphealth.com/advanced-practice/physician-assistant

http://www.staffcare.com/job-search/?clear=true&k=physician%20assistant

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I agree with rev and E above. I strongly agree with E's point of honing your basic skills. the thing you need to remember is that as a locums you are expected to hit the ground running. they may expect to spend some time training you on the EHR but not clinical skills. Locums IS NOT the place to train IMO. If you want to travel right out of school I would recommend a residency. Yeah I know, it takes longer to be able to practice, but, you will be better prepared, other wise reread E's post.

 

As for Comphealth and Staffpoint: I personally have not worked for either. I do have two very close friends that do/have worked for both. Both have been happy with each company. One was indifferent, the other felt that comphealth was better organized compaired to staffpoint. This is only my third hand opinion thou

 

Granted the staffing agencies do help with the paperwork. I would argue however that you could do it your self. I worked locums in my state for several years and never used an agency. Granted is was in the same state so I didn't have to worry about state license or DEA. Having looked into both I don't thing it would be to much trouble to "jump through the hoops" my self as opposed to have an agency jump through them for me.

 

the difficult part for most is making the contact with the potential employer. If you can do that and present your self as a competent and qualified PA then there's no need to pay an agency for your work. The up side is comphealth ( and others) offer benefits if you work for them.

 

Either way, as a new grad you either need to complete a residency or as E said get 3-5 years of experience. 

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I disagree. Not all new grads are created equal. I feel some need to have their hand held for 3-5 years, but some of us, like me, study our asses off and can do a good physical exam. I disagree that you need to work 3-5 years first. I am going to do locum work when I graduate because I honestly think I can handle it. I plan on studying my ass off my first couple years of working anyway, so why not get paid more to do it? There is a lot of negativity on this website about how you can't do this, or you are dumb for doing that. I have a plethora of medical experience before PA school. I feel that I will be just fine!

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I disagree. Not all new grads are created equal. I feel some need to have their hand held for 3-5 years, but some of us, like me, study our asses off and can do a good physical exam. I disagree that you need to work 3-5 years first. I am going to do locum work when I graduate because I honestly think I can handle it. I plan on studying my ass off my first couple years of working anyway, so why not get paid more to do it? There is a lot of negativity on this website about how you can't do this, or you are dumb for doing that. I have a plethora of medical experience before PA school. I feel that I will be just fine!

 

Studying "your ass off" and doing a good physical exam are great, but it doesn't mean that the vast majority of new grads are the right choice for locums work on day one...regardless of prior experience. Locums tenens positions exist because there is a provider need that cannot be filled permanently. Rural, short-staffed, challenging environment, etc. But whatever the reason is, the shortage is most likely going to translate into less teaching time for you. They're busy, they just want the work done, not taking up more time and resources to ensure you know what you're doing.

 

I don't think it's negativity that guides the responses you've seen, rather practicality and experience. We learn a lot in PA school and through our own experiences, but you seem a little too cocksure. Regardless of what you did before PA school, when we take ultimate responsibility for the patient as a provider, it's a whole new ballgame. And even if you read and study voraciously, the experience of seeing a patient present 1,001 ways, from common to zebra, cannot be replaced. We simply don't have that acumen until we've been in those shoes, making those decisions, again and again.

 

I much rather have PAs and physicians that I will know for more than a few months and that will take a vested interest in my clinical growth, working with me for the first few years out of school.

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