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Shadowing Problem- What Did I Do?


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So I finally found a PA to let me shadow them that was fairly close by. It was perfect- or so I thought.

First day- the PA barely talked to me in between patients. I didn't mind, I just figured they didn't want to talk and complete paperwork at the same time. So I answered emails on my phone during the down time. I asked questions when I could, but they seemed kind of annoyed when I did.

At the end of day 1, the PA told me to stop using my phone.

 

Day 2- I kept my phone in my bag the whole time. The PA got 4 patients the whole time I was there, and the PA  wouldn't even let me sit next to them at their desk. I was sitting behind them at a different desk. They told me to read a book from the bookshelf since nothing was happening.

 

Day 3- 2 patients and then they told me to just go ahead an leave, 2 hours early.

 

Today- I get there, I check in to the front desk and wait about 5 minutes. Then, I get an email saying they didn't have patients scheduled today, so I should just go home. They sent me the email 10 minutes after I would have gotten to the office, so I was definitely already there. Because it takes me a while to get there, I emailed them back asking, politely, if there was anyway they could let me know ahead of time if they don't have patients, so this doesn't happen again. They said sure.

 

Cut to 10 minutes ago- they just sent me an email saying they don't think I should shadow them anymore.

 

Did I do something wrong? I was quiet, I didn't say a word when we were with patients except to ask them if they wanted me to leave during certain procedures. I wasn't rude. I just don't really understand what happened.

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I'd say it's probably best to keep the phone put away all the time when shadowing...it just looks more professional.

 

That said, it sounds like the PA in question was very unprofessional. I wonder why he/she even agreed to let you shadow in the first place.  You shouldn't have to waste your time with that sort of treatment. Hopefully you can find someone else and get a better experience. 

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When I met PAs during shadowing, I would get super excited and ask them different questions. Especially in between patients. I have never had this issue, so maybe with the next one, you should ask them questions about the patient, their training, things to expect, etc. Definitely don't have your phone out unless its a friend you're shadowing. 

 

Also, this PA didn't have a lot of patients scheduled, so it should've given you more time to discuss.. 

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I think it was the phone. next time, leave your phone in the car, Many of us walk into a patient's room and they're on the phone, wasting my time. I typically start closing the door and say "I'll be back when you're ready." I guess the point is that it's rude to use your phone when you're shadowing a PA. It can give the impression that you're really not interested, and the PA may think you are not interested in learning either. 

 

It's a tough call to say that was the problem; however, next time keep it in the car. It's also possible you just picked the wrong PA to shadow. Additionally, if they have no patients to see, what do they do all day?

 

Consider it a lesson learned.

 

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I am applying this cycle and have been shadowing as much as possible lately. If there is a university based hospital nearby try to find PA's to shadow that way. I am in Salt Lake and the University of Utah hospital system has been an incredible source for shadowing. They are a teaching hospital (University with Med and PA schools attached) so all of the providers are accustomed to seeing lots of students and are happy to answer questions and actually teach you. If you have something similar nearby that would be a good place to look. Also, stash the phone, which shouldn't be a big problem if you find a busy practice to shadow in because if they have actual patients you will be too busy taking notes and asking questions in between. 

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I think you've learned already that the phone isn't the best idea. But that issue aside, the PA definitely did not seem open to having anyone shadow him/her. I'm sorry that happened to you. When I shadowed, both the PA and her SP were extremely open to teaching and in fact, I didn't have enough questions for them lol.

 

I guess they won't be writing you a letter of rec, huh?

 

...too soon?

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I don't think the phone thing was a big deal. If that was the cause, then it was blown way out of proportion.

 

It just sounds like the guy was a bit of an ahole. Not sure why he agreed to let you shadow if he didn't want you there. It's probably more of an issue with him than you. I wouldn't worry about it.

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The phone thing was only an issue the very first day. The rest of the time I was there I kept it in my bag.

The ONLY reason I was even on my phone the first day, was because the PA literally would not talk to me. I would ask them questions, they'd give a short response, and it would go back to silence. I was there for 4 hours, and they probably said a total of 10 words to me the whole time. 

It was strange because they were very friendly with their patients and with their MAs. 

It was awkward.

Every day after that was the same except I was staring at the wall instead of my phone. 

 

This PA barely got any patients, and she basically just did paperwork the whole time I was there.

 

It wasn't much, but at least it was close by. I don't have a car and it was 5 minute bus ride, so that was nice. Oh well.

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I'm sorry you had this experience. Just remember PAs are human too, and have a wide range of personalities, good and bad. I think the majority of PAs (or at least the ones I've shadowed) WANT to promote their profession and cast a positive light on what they do. Unfortunately, it seems the provider you shadowed is either unhappy with his work or unwilling to share his knowledge. Find the silver lining from this experience: now you know what type of PA you do NOT want to be, and keep this in mind if one day an eager student asks to shadow you.

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I actually called this PA's office and left a message. The PA called ME and said I could shadow, and after the first day told me I could come back as often as I wanted. So no, their SP didn't force them into it.

I think this person just hated having a shadow, I don't think they really thought it through. I felt like a burden the whole time I was there.

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I don't think the phone thing was a big deal. If that was the cause, then it was blown way out of proportion.

 

It just sounds like the guy was a bit of an ahole. Not sure why he agreed to let you shadow if he didn't want you there. It's probably more of an issue with him than you. I wouldn't worry about it.

Pretty presumptuous of you to think the PA was automatically a male lol.

 

I agree with you on the point that if in fact all this stemmed from the phone thing it was definitely blown way out of proportion.

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So I finally found a PA to let me shadow them that was fairly close by. It was perfect- or so I thought.

First day- the PA barely talked to me in between patients. I didn't mind, I just figured they didn't want to talk and complete paperwork at the same time. So I answered emails on my phone during the down time. I asked questions when I could, but they seemed kind of annoyed when I did.

At the end of day 1, the PA told me to stop using my phone.

 

Day 2- I kept my phone in my bag the whole time. The PA got 4 patients the whole time I was there, and the PA  wouldn't even let me sit next to them at their desk. I was sitting behind them at a different desk. They told me to read a book from the bookshelf since nothing was happening.

 

Day 3- 2 patients and then they told me to just go ahead an leave, 2 hours early.

 

Today- I get there, I check in to the front desk and wait about 5 minutes. Then, I get an email saying they didn't have patients scheduled today, so I should just go home. They sent me the email 10 minutes after I would have gotten to the office, so I was definitely already there. Because it takes me a while to get there, I emailed them back asking, politely, if there was anyway they could let me know ahead of time if they don't have patients, so this doesn't happen again. They said sure.

 

Cut to 10 minutes ago- they just sent me an email saying they don't think I should shadow them anymore.

 

Did I do something wrong? I was quiet, I didn't say a word when we were with patients except to ask them if they wanted me to leave during certain procedures. I wasn't rude. I just don't really understand what happened.

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Pretty presumptuous of you to think the PA was automatically a male lol.

Why do you assume that by saying "him", the previous poster assumed the shadowee was male?  In classical usage and in many other languages, a person of uncertain gender is referred to with a male pronoun.  Modern 3nd person plural usage ("they/them") is very common in English, but it isn't the only way to address uncertain gender.

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Wow. What a jerk. I had great shadowing opportunities. Definitely just move on to the next one and forget this person.

 

To be honest. The first time I shadowed was in critical care. I witnessed this gnarly central line placement on this horribly burned victum. Literally vaso vaged and passed out. The PA helped me so much and encouraged me that it happens to everyone the first time their exposed to this. She also answered all of my questions and was really encouraging.

 

Point is, these people exist. Just find a better/friendlier PA.

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Sounds like a tough time and probably not a good match.

 

The phone thing has been beaten to death; pretend you are there to shoot a movie of her life. If you have nothing to do, take out a pathophys textbook or something similar. 

 

Learn where the coffee, etc is and then say, "I'm going to get a coffee; is there anything I can get you?" Basically offer to be helpful.

 

Don't go crazy asking questions in the hopes of showing how turned on you are by the experience. And ask questions when they have what looks like downtime. Don't try to be impressive -- just attentive, personable, and helpful.

 

You can do everything right and it still doesn't work out. Not all PAs remember when they were shadowing. (Fortunately I now teach with the first PA I ever shadowed; a great way to end my career.)

 

Better luck next time!

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I have always find doctors more welcoming to shadow anyways. They have been very laid back and super encouraging compare to PAs. I wish PAs were more supportive of students and had a more stronger bond like NPs and MDs.

I haven't had that experience at all. The PA's I shadowed were very supportive and encouraging. The OPs wasn't in this particular case, though.

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I have always find doctors more welcoming to shadow anyways. They have been very laid back and super encouraging compare to PAs. I wish PAs were more supportive of students and had a more stronger bond like NPs and MDs.

Yeah, I don't buy that either. Our PAs in our office are basically shadowed or are precepting pretty much continuously. Med students, NP students, PA students, whomever. 

 

Don't let a bad experience color your assessment of how the world works.

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It sounds like they didn't want you to shadow in the first place.  

 

The 2nd and final PA I shadowed since Septermber 2015,  just recently finishing my last shadowing session with them because they took another job that wouldn't allow the possibility to shadow.  They were all about teaching me. I felt the good vibes and the worth of her willingness that I just stuck with them without even looking for anyone else to shadow.  I learned so much from them it is insane. They had me reading x-rays, mri's and letting me take a guess at what we were looking at.  Also, taught me hemoglobin, WBC, and bilirubin levels, MRCP, ERCP.This was internal medicine by the way. On top of it I was able to talk to students from my first choice school who were doing their rotations with this PA.  I was not letting this opportunity go.

 

But in your case, the PA sounds like they just didn't want to do it from the get go.  Move on and find a PA who is willing to put time into the next generation.

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I have always find doctors more welcoming to shadow anyways. They have been very laid back and super encouraging compare to PAs. I wish PAs were more supportive of students and had a more stronger bond like NPs and MDs.

 

 

Not true at all in my experience and only anecdotal.  

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They didn't want you there, and the phone set him/her off.  There wasn't much you could do after that.  Don't sweat it or take it personally.  Just move on and find someone else.  Most PA's are pretty cool people, but like everywhere, there are a few bad eggs.

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