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AAPA conference

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Meh. I find them too big and busy. I have always found my state association meeting to be a little more personal and I get to meet and spend time with other PAs that share my practice rules and regs. As time went on many were a great resource for me (and still are after 27 years in practice) and I sometime get the opportunity to be a resource for someone else.

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As a new grad, is it worth attending AAPA conference??


As you can see from the comments, with time and experience, where and how you network will evolve as time goes by ...


I say, as a student, yes, national (and state) conferences WILL benefit you.  


If you are going to school in one area, but have aspirations to practice somewhere else, whether it's where you moved from or a new location entirely, a national conference can be good place to meet others from the area.  (caveat:  I haven't attended an AAPA conference, but this has been my experience in another industry).  That being said, you should already have that future location in mind, so that you can make good use of your time and opportunities.  In addition to the basic people network activities, there are job-seeking avenues at the conference from what I've heard and seen on the agenda.  


Be sure to check the agenda for any social gatherings for the state association where you want to practice as well.  It should go without saying that if you have a particular geographic destination in mind, you should have already joined the state association in that area.  It will never be less expensive than when you are a student and you'll typically get news about what's happening with your future profession in that region.  I am a member of the state chapter in the state where I am in school as well as the state chapter where I will eventually live/practice (FWIW, I joined my home state chapter when I was a pre-PA and they were generous enough to convert it from Pre-PA to student for no additional $$ when I was accepted at a student; AAPA then did the same!).  


If you're still completely open about what field of medicine you want to practice, there are a myriad of topics on the CME agenda, and some interesting paid workshops (I can't afford any, but a few looked interesting even as a novice).  Again, those are an opportunity to meet other professionals in that specialty.  I have attended state conferences, and I can attest that while you won't get the day-to-day of what a specialty really entails that you'll get on your clinical rotations, you will learn a lot just from the casual conversations and insightful discussions some PAs will have at the conference.  Also, like the state / constituent organizations, the national conference can be an opportunity to get more familiar with the specialty groups if you do already have a good idea of what area of medicine you want to practice.  


And last, with a student budget in mind -- I am in PA school after many successful years in another profession and after almost a year, my change in circumstances is STILL an adjustment!  :)  -- it will be one of the cheapest opportunities to attend a national conference you will EVER have!  


I'm attending AAPA in San Antonio this year.  I have pseudo-family in the area, so I'm working on an almost no-cost place to stay (okay, so it's actually my ex-husband's family, but we are friendly!).  And I found a source of funds for professional development within my program's school, so at least a portion (if not all) of my conference registration is likely to be reimbursed.  I have a ride to San Antonio and I may have funding for my transportation while there and then back to school in conjunction with a volunteer leadership role I sought.  Luckily it falls at the end of our short break between spring and summer semesters.  While I will probably miss a day or two of the summer semester, our program is typically forgiving of a short absence for a professional development activity.  Like any conference, there will be worthwhile sessions and some duds.  


But I'm looking forward to it!

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