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Which healthcare experience should I choose?


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Hello, 

 

I am currently choosing between job offers and was wondering which of the following would be better patient care experience from a PA admissions standpoint? 
 

Job 1: Cardiac Technician in a private practice Cardiology Office
Role Description: Clinical chart preparation, obtaining vitals (ECG, BP, etc) as well as chief complaint and reason for visit from patient; reviewing current medication list, past medical history and review of systems. Applies and instructs on holter monitor use. Authorizes prescription refills; enters EMR data; and provides patient education. We also do some exercise stress testing with patients. 
 
Job 2: Inpatient Exercise Physiologist at Cardiac Rehabilitation 
Role Description: Primarily focused on patient ambulation in cardiovascular patients (post surgery, PCI, re-vascularization, etc) which involves basic bedside range of motion exercises and/or walking. As patients progress the exercise physiologist team encourages ambulation on exercise equipment on the CVCU floor while monitoring blood pressure and vitals. Another large component of the job involves patient education, risk factor modification, and facilitation of patients into a Phase II cardiac rehabilitation program after discharge. 
 
I want to be in the best position to learn as much as possible while getting exposed to things and setting myself up well for PA school. Any and all comments are welcome. Thank you. 

DCDarling
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I second the vote towards the first job. I was an EKG tech before starting PA school but I was more inpatient and did a lot of reading and reports of 12 leads and holter monitors.

If you end up taking the cardiac tech position I would encourage you to learn all you can about EKGs and it seems like it would have some good opportunities for that. The exercise stress tests will be a great experience! Likely in a clinic setting like you described you will have the opportunity  to get to know the providers working there with you.

Option 2 seems closer to a physical therapy aid and you may not have the chance to observe and participate in as many diagnostic procedures and tests.

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Guest HanSolo

Hi HanSolo, 

Do you think inpatient/hospital setting would be better exposure and look better than a private practice? 

I don't think the setting matters as much as the job responsibilities, which is why I say go for the first job.

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Thank you to everyone for the advice! 

One last piece I have to ask is while I like the first job better it is in a more expensive area (higher cost of living with more income taxes) while the second job is in a cheaper area and I would be closer to family. 
 

Do you think the bit of financial sacrifice (I'd still be saving just not as much) and the smaller support network would be worth it in the long run? 

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Guest HanSolo

Nobody can answer that question for you. That's too personal a decision with so many individual factors at play. Any job that provides for a better lifestyle is going to be pretty high on my list. Remember, it's just a job, but you are also the one who has to do it. 

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I think you can make either job work for you from the PA program application standpoint. Your initial question was kind of generic, as if both jobs were of equal interest, equal pay, equal location, etc. That's clearly not the case. 

 

The Vanderbilt job also has the advantage  work with people (including PAs possibly) who themselves have a variety of healthcare jobs, giving you a good intro to the healthcare scene. It could also ultimately expose you to other jobs there that might prove to be a better match for your skills and interests.

 

Most decisions involve multiple factors. It's your life; pick the job that best fulfills your needs. Good luck!

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Yes, sorry for the incomplete information. Maybe I'm over thinking things. I just worry about not being challenged since as much as this is to 'fulfill a requirement' it will be for a couple years and id like to grow my skills. But I am excited to be immersed in a hospital setting. I think there are some intangibles from hospital flow and the variety of providers that wouldn't be available in private practice.

 

I sincerely appreciate the patience and input from those of you who have taken the time to respond. Enjoy your weekend!

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Guest HanSolo

One additional thing to keep in mind: there are certain advantages of working for a larger hospital system, especially for pre-PA healthcare experience. It's much easier to change jobs since you are already "in" and will be applying as an internal rather than external candidate. Thus, if your job does get boring (let's be real - it probably will), then you may have more options down the road. 

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...I just worry about not being challenged since as much as this is to 'fulfill a requirement' ...

 

This is a valid concern and an okay reason to move on from a position. I was worried about having a spotty resume come CASPA time but I jumped the gun and job hopped 2 different positions in less than 5 months because I got bored. However, after diving into my 3rd job in less than a year, I feel more fulfilled and content compared to 2 previous position. I've been at this spot since 2015 because I'm challenged and I am learning something new every week. 

 

Pick the position you're more drawn to and give it a shot, and if you find yourself getting bored, be proactive in finding another position and move on :P.

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