Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
denyelmybell90

Health Care Experience

Recommended Posts

Hi All,

 

I'm really excited to pursue a career as a PA, but I'm nervous that I don't have the right experience. I have health care experience, but not necessarily doing direct patient care. I worked in patient registration for two years in the ED, and then another year in hospital admissions. I've also worked as a ward clerk/unit coordinator for urgent care for about 6 months. Then I worked as a project manager for 6 outpatient clinics to reduce no-shows. Would these experiences count as health care experience? I had direct contact with patients in each of these roles, but I was not responsible for any care plans. Now, I'm a community health worker for an affordable housing agency where I provide health education and accompany patients to their medical appointments. Would this be considered health care experience even though I am employed by a social service agency and not a medical provider?

 

I've considered becoming a CNA, but I'm afraid it would be a backwards step for me. Please note I do not intend to offend anyone because I have much respect for CNAs, it's just that getting my CNA would be a financial burden for me at this time. I finished my MPH two years ago, so I must work full-time to fulfill my financial obligations and going back to school for CNA would require me to reduce work hours. Instead of getting my CNA, could I use shadowing experience?

 

Thanks for any advice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the CASPA, there is a section for what I call patient care experience (can't remember the official term off the top of my head), and general healthcare experience. Based on what you've said, your experience sounds like healthcare experience. Most (if not all) programs that say they require so many hours of experience are talking about patient care experience.

I know exactly what you mean. I'm basically supported mostly by my husband because I'm working as a diet tech to get my patient care experience. However, I can see how direct patient care experience is valued by programs. Some argue say that it is unlikely a person could know whether being PA is what you really want to do if you've never taken care of a patient clinically (not saying this is the case for you, although I found it true for myself.) I also worked in an administrative position in a healthcare setting, and while you may understand billing, infrastructure, and insurance better than most, programs want to see if you have compassion for patients outside of the office setting... where you know the smell of C. Diff diarrhea, or can tell the difference between a true cry for help or someone who is clinically delirious. You don't really need to know what C. Diff diarrhea smells like, but you will if you pursue being a PA.

 

That being said, research programs that don't require direct patient care experience or very little, and apply there. Maybe try being a CNA on the weekends just to get your feet wet and see if this is what you want. If you don't get in, want to increase your chances, or REALLY want this, bite the bullet and go full time, if you can survive financially. Programs will respect that, but it? s up to your family situation.

 

Oh, and shadowing doesn't typically count as direct patient care experience, as far as I know.

Best wishes to you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information and advice! It is really helpful. 

 

I know that I want to be a PA after shadowing and working closely with PAs as a community health worker. It's just hard to make that transition from my current role to CNA, especially when the pay is a lot lower. However, I really like your suggestion of being a CNA on the weekends. My fear (probably like many others) is that I am making huge changes (like going back to school to take prerequisites in the evenings and a career shift) with the possibility that I will not get in to PA school. It's a scary feeling! But as you said, if I REALLY want it, then I need to bite the bullet.

 

Do you know if my experience as a community health worker counts as direct patient experience? I essentially work with patients to make sure they understand their care plans, as well as help them identify and address barriers that prevent them from adhering to those care plans. I'm sort of the communicator between the patient and the medical provider. I also do BP and blood sugar tests for some patients.

 

Thanks again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have great healthcare- related experiences and an advanced degree that will help you as you apply to PA school. 

 
To answer your questions about healthcare experience:
  • You should look for PA programs that set minimal to no requirements for patient care experience. Your experience as a community health worker will help you.
  • You can probably leverage your prior and current networks to find a medical assistant position that only requires on-the-job training rather than a certification. 
  • PA programs usually evaluates the quality of healthcare experiences on a case-by-case basis. It sounds like you have great patient interactions and an understanding of care plans as a community health worker. You should frame your experiences to highlight these aspects during your application.

Hope that helps!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could likely justify some of it as HCE, but realistically none of it is direct patient care (which you seem to understand).  The problem lies in that when we (this site, schools, etc) often imply that HCE is preferred to be PCE (patient care experience).  

 

Do you have HCE?  Maybe, probably.  But you don't have PCE which will likely hinder you to some degree when applying.  You should definitely consider shadowing PAs but it is not going to count as HCE or PCE - it counts as shadowing - which is still a favorable quality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By aa1041557
      I’ve recently been offered a position as a dialysis tech in an outpatient center. I shadowed the other day and the staff seamed friendly. My main duties would be weighing patients, cannulating them and setting up the machines, drawing labs, and monitoring their vitals throughout treatment. This all would be under the supervisions of an RN. I would work 8 and 10 hour shifts. I was hoping someone who has worked as a dialysis tech or knows someone who has could give me feedback about their experiences. I do already have 2 years experience volunteering as an EMT-A on a fairly busy service and plan on continuing to do so.  
       
      I have also been invited to interview for a medical assistant position at an urgent care, but the interview is after the deadline to decide if I’m going to accept the dialysis position. 
       
      The pros I see in working as a dialysis tech: Getting to know my patients and their cases. Experience in the chronic disease side of medicine. 
       
      Cons: It’s could be repetitive work and I would really only learn about kidney disease.
    • By PANCEon
      I wish at 18, I would've chosen the pre-pa route and gotten an associate's degree in DMS or an echo cardiogram tech then continued to get certified in different specialties. I may have taken pre med courses as well. Became a CNA and worked in many different specialties, hospitals, hospice, nursing and rehab facilities for experience, money, connections, letters of recommendation, on the job training to get certified in imaging, phlebotomy, resp tech, occupational or physical therapy technicians, basic EMT 1-IV, ER tech, pharmacy tech, and become a American Red Cross CNA trainer or at least CPR, AED, BLS, first aid and phlebotomy instructor's. Setting up blood drives, charity events etc. Too many ideas to count. I know now that being a healthcare professional  is my calling. Some ppl can just play the piano, which I can't, but medicine/biology/anatomy, makes perfect sense. But, I'm 40 now, and my Psychology degree I got in 2001 afforded me sales positions from food broker territory manager, pharmaceutical sales, animal diagnostic laboratory sales manager. I worked from home and travelled all over. I liked being my own boss, and other's as well. I then became a seller and writer of mortgages. Now, I have been on disability for 10yrs and am ready to do what I was meant to. I just wish I was younger. That's why it's important for me to manage my time and not waste a minute doing something that isn't going to help me get in a program. 
       
       
       
    • By cMore
      I am looking to submit by tonight and would appreciate the help. I would prefer if you are a PA, work at the pa school, admissions, or something of this sort but all help is definitely welcome.
      Please PM me if you can provide some assistance
       
      cMore
    • By samweres
      Hi everyone. I am planning on applying for my second time this upcoming April 2019. This past cycle i decided to apply in June 2018 and didn’t get my apps in until late July. I just applied to two programs that i already qualified for. I think my main error last cycle was applying so late and to so few schools.  I should’ve just waited until this cycle, but it is okay because now i am more prepared and have a bulkier application. If anyone could give me advice on areas to improve on that’d be great! 
      Bachelors in Respiratory Care (2017)
      cGPA: 3.4 (Caspa 2018 calculation)
      sGpa:3.4 (Casap 2018 calculation)
      Since last cycle i have taken or i plan to have completed before this cycle: Bio 2(A),Chem 2(A), Genetics (A), Orgo I (TBD, estimating a B+ to be on the safe side), Stat (TBD, est A). This should bring my GPA up to at least a 3.5 - 3.6ish?
      3,300 hrs PCE as a Registered Respiratory Therapist (full time current career)
      100 hrs volunteer/HCE medical mission trip to Peru.
      25 volunteer hours from various events in college
      500 hrs leadership experience for running student run organization in college(dance team)
      4 years of being on college dance team.
      700 hrs non HCE work as nanny of 3 children including one autistic child
      24 hrs PA shadowing (cardiac surgery, critical care/pulmonary, plastic surgery)
      GRE: scheduled for March 30 (have started studying, hoping for a 300)
      LOR: 1 PA I shadowed, 1 from my Respiratory Care Manager, and one from my Resporatory peogram director/professor(?). I can probably do another PA if that would look better, but I know some schools require a professor  
      Any criticism would be helpful! My goal is to apply before May 15th this cycle to about 7 schools! Thanks in advance everyone!
       
    • By Finntastic
      Hi everyone,
      Wondering if any of you have any insight into the validity of being a Clinical Research Assistant. I started working at a diabetes research clinic this summer and was offered the chance to continue working there this school year. My question is, should I be looking for something more hands on for HCE later? I know it depends of the school and how you sell your job description. In general I help out with in-clinics that have human subjects. I can do intake, vitals, medial history, lab tests, non-venous boood draws, device insertion/removal, and I work closely with NPs and PAs. It might not be life or death, but I am in a position where I am responsible for looking out for adverse hypo/hyperglycemic reactions and other study-related risks. Any thoughts?
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More