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Finally got a chance to shadow

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The application process to shadow where I work took forever. They required me to get all my titers drawn again, a t-spot, in spite of annual PPD tests. Then they sent back my flu vaccine, and  I see why they did. The expiration date for the vaccine used is six months prior to when the shot was administered, so I had a little chat with HR and went and bought the shot out of pocket at the local pharmacy. (Did I mention all the blood work I paid out of pocket? LOL)


I had to explain why I wouldn't get hep B again, which is because I've had the rotation multiple times and do not mount a defense, so I'm going to an immunologist to find out why before I do it again.


FINALLY. Months later. I was able to shadow this weekend with one of our PAs. It was great. I kept quiet in front of patients, but often since I had them as patients myself, they'd say hello so I'd respond in kind. I picked her brain about some of the acronyms they used (that were not necessarily on the standardized list of acronyms) that I couldn't find a reasonable definition for on google, and wrote down every single diagnosis that I even had small questions about. Even if I was familiar with it, I wrote it down to make sure I was familiar with it. I learned quite a few more disease processes that day as well. We talked billing codes and what makes each different from an assessment stand point and differences between facilities and their scopes of practice.


She asked me at the end if anything surprised me and I admitted the amount of documentation did. I don't know why it surprised me. Nursing documents non stop as well. Healthcare really has devolved into paper work, paper work and more paper work. So I'm not sure why I expected any less for those actually prescribing.


I am actually glad the one program I am applying to required it now. I thought I understood the profession from working with physician assistants daily, and I did have a decent grasp of it. However, I was never privy to the behind the scenes aspect. It was pretty enlightening.



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If the PA you shadowed seemed interested in your career path, send them another thank you note, and ask them if they know any other PAs whom you might be able to shadow.  They may be able to connect you with PAs who work in other areas (e.g. surgery, small clinics, specialty work) who can help.  Also, they can provide you with an introduction (which can convince PAs who would ignore a cold call to give you a bit of their time).  


Good luck!

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