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Hi Everyone,


I am hoping by Spring 2018 I will be prepared for the next CASPA application cycle, but my one hindrance is PCE/HCE. Recently, I've acquired a job working as a scribe in the ED at a local hospital. I have been in communication with several prospective PA programs in my area, and they all seem to "accept" this as HCE (not necessarily PCE, though they have admitted a fair number of applicants with scribing experience alone), but I can't help to notice that scribing is so heavily saturated with pre-med/pre-pa students that I am beginning to wonder if scribing alone is truly enough, all things considered. Anyway, I was thinking about supplementing my scribing experience as a "Dialysis Patient Care Tech" at Davita or something similar. Several of the local dialysis providers offer jobs working as a dialysis tech and include your paid training, as opposed to going to a technical college and earning a separate certificate. Does anyone have any insight about working as a dialysis tech? Is it worth it for hands on PCE? Another problem for me, is the fact that scribing is so low paid. There is no way I can survive working $10/hr full time very much longer...lol. However, I can definitely see the value of scribe experience, so I do not want to give it up completely. Thank you in advance!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The goal of any direct or hands-on HCE is to interact with patients, which is why some programs differ on what they consider to be patient care experience. Of course that doesn't negate the valuable lessons of some indirect healthcare experience as you can definitely learn about healthcare and insurance, or the hospital environment. But typically, most schools value experience that is centered on your care and interaction with patients. Someone who is working at the reception desk of a hospital unit does not see patients the same way a CNA would. One answers call lights and fills out paperwork as well as solves technical issues on the floor, while the other helps patients with their daily activities and retrieves vitals/glucose checks. Both are incredibly important to the unit and both posts would allow someone to learn a great deal about patients, disease, and the hospital but schools would prefer a CNA over a receptionist due to their different healthcare duties.


Would a Dialysis Tech provide you with the opportunity to work up close and personal with patients? If yes, go for it! If not, perhaps you might want to look into another job such as a CNA or EMT, although like you said, that would require you to have an additional license. I know you said money is an issue- since you're working FT at the hospital, are you able to use any of their benefits for education purposes? My hospital had tuition reimbursement for up to 8 credit hours, although I'm not sure if that included technical college. Also earning a certificate on top of finding a job can take anywhere from 3-6 months, so keep that in mind. 

I've interviewed with applicants who were only MAs, or social workers, or athletic trainers. You just need to find the right schools that accept those as PCE and be able to use your experience in your application. Go through some interview questions- are you able to use an example from work to answer it? Hopefully you can. Think of your HCE as the spine of the body of your application- all your answers are connected to your HCE. Your essay and interview points should draw from your experience working with patients. Unfortunately I don't know of anyone who has worked as a Dialysis Tech so I can't give you specific information, but overall the more patient interaction the better. Best of luck!


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probably reasonable experience for getting to know folks. you will work with a lot of people with diabetes, hypertension, and many of the disorders in the geriatric population.

If you take the work seriously you will probably learn a lot about acid/base, electrolytes, sterile technique, venipuncture,  etc

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I work as a scribe at a private clinic and make 15$ an hour. In addition to charting I will look at lab results, EKG's, and Xrays with my supervising MD. Try seeing if they will allow to do things that that as programs like Duke and Quinnipiac really liked the experience that I am getting at my clinic because it is more than a regular scribe.

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