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Hi all,

As a sole practitioner for the past 20 years, I have not had any recent supervisors or school experience to look to for a LOR. I have a solid reference from a PA who is a department head at a major hospital. I have several current and past patients who have work in a professional capacity (medical doctors, lawyers, nurse practitioners, etc). I also have a long time family friend who is a priest who works for the local diocese. The PA school I am looking to apply requires 3 letters of reference and only one needs to be from a PA. I am looking for someone who knows me in a professional capacity. I prefer not to ask a patient but I will if need be. Any suggestions?

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What type of solo practitioner are you? Most of us who are in practice have peers who are often called upon to write recommendations for us for hospital privileges, etc. I would shy away from using patients. Consider professors (assuming you have been taking prereqs), peers, and people who can reflect on your character, even if they work in other areas.

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First, I want to mention that I enjoyed reading your book. My wife grew up in Vienna, WV, and went to school at Marietta College. I chose your book because at the age of 46 I am also a non-traditional student.

Thanks so much for your reply to my question about the LOR. I have been a chiropractor for 20+ years in solo practice with my own business. My peers are other chiropractors that I see occasionally at continuing education and health fairs. Also, since going to PA school will require me to close my practice, I don't want to let the cat out of the bag so to speak. Chiropractors as whole generally work solo or have an associate working for them.

My question boils down to this; do I need references that will be able to qualify me as a professional in my work environment or will personal references suffice? I have several personal references that have know me for years (a priest, a nurse practitioner, a friend that is a college professor, etc). Regarding my recent education experience, I took a couple of online courses so I did not get to know the instructors very well. The school that I am applying to (Mt. Union in Ohio) is willing to look at my application even though my prerequisites are over 20 years old.

BTW...I am interested in the PA profession because I want to do  more in the healthcare field. After adjusting or 20+ years, I'm looking to be able to do more for patients. The PA profession will allow me the flexibility to pick and choose different areas.

Thanks again.

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Thanks for the kind words about the book. I hope it gave you some encouragement to try something new; it’s seldom too late.


I see where you’re coming from. Clearly you have way more HCE as an applicant than anyone I’ve met! That you have a clean record with your state’s medical board (or whatever board licenses you in WV) should suffice to cover you from a professional standpoint.


I would concentrate on people who know you long and well and can speak to the kind of person you are. You friend the professor may be key: hopefully he can talk about your willingness to learn and adapt to new situations. Once question committees sometimes have about us older folks is how well we will adapt to being back in school again. The NP and the priest also sound like good references.


If Mt. Union will look at you with old prereqs, that’s great. Now just to convince them that (1) you understand what a PA does and (2) that an older dog can be taught new tricks!


Best wishes to you and I hope we meet sometime.

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Great advice. I feel comfortable moving forward. My wife says that my references sound like the beginning of a joke. A priest, a nurse practitioner and a college professor walk into a bar...

I'm going to go for it and very much appreciate your feedback. If you are ever in the Cleveland, Ohio area, let me know.

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