I'm a new grad starting out in ambulatory surgery-- I'm super excited because I love being hands on in the operating room. I was just wondering if any of the Surgical PAs could give some insights about ambulatory surgery? The site I'm going to be working at has 12 surgical subspecialities (list below). From what I gathered through the interview process, I'll be able to get experience in all of them. That being said I'm worried about being prepared and knowledgeable for cases. Anyone have any tips of how to study up, or even get more comfortable once starting? I have a little over a month before start date so any resources are welcome. Thanks in advance!
List of subspecialities/ topics to brush up on🤯🥴:
Head and neck surgery
Minimally invasive gynecologic surgery
Sports medicine surgery
So my particular PA school uses the PACKRAT to determine if students are ready to take the PANCE or not at the end of clinical year (this is new and never counted like this before). This year's most recent PACKRAT version national average is apparently a 167, 20 points higher than the last 3 averages on PAEA's website and 40 points higher than last years national average of 128 (according to my PA school). They have informed us that if we do not get within the 2 point standard deviation, they will not allow us to take the PANCE until we reach an adequate grade on the PACKRAT. Can they legally do this?
According to PAEA, the PACRAT can be done open book so these scores are skewed and shouldn't count for my class.
There is nothing in our program handbook about the PACKRAT being a requirement for graduation.
By Aunt Val
Hi, everyone! There have been several questions about taking the PANCE lately, so I want to add my experience in the hopes that it will help those who are preparing for it. I just took it a couple weeks ago, so the experience is still fresh on my mind.
I took a couple of months after I finished school to study before I sat for the exam. I think that for me, it was good timing, though two months may be too long for others. I used two main resources: PANCE Prep Pearls and Rosh Review. I like both of those and found them to compliment one another well. I also used Anki for making flashcards, and I listened to podcasts from physicianassistantexamreview.com over all the body systems that I scored low in. Highly recommend! Additionally, I took the two NCCPA practice exams to gauge my progress. They're $50 each, so not cheap, but it was worth it to me to make sure I was on the right track.
Before I started studying, I made a calendar that mapped out what I needed to study each week in order to fit everything in. A couple of friends and I got together over Zoom in the mornings to study, and then in the afternoons we studied individually. The accountability of having others who knew my study schedule and expected me to be on our calls was really helpful. Study time was six days a week (I took Sundays off).
On the two days right before the exam, I didn't study at all but gave my brain a break to rest up for the PANCE "marathon". It was tempting to want to cram in a few last-minute things, but I decided not to, following the advice of Brian Wallace, the host of physicianassistantexamreview.com. He only recommends one day off beforehand, but I went ahead and took two just because one of those days was really busy with other things.
On the morning of the exam, I got to the testing center and did their check-in process (wearing a mask, of course). The exam has 5 sections with 60 questions each, and you get a break between sections. Toward the middle to end of the second section, my mind started wandering off and I had to stop and refocus. Same thing happened with the last section. I finished each part with a few minutes left on the clock. Some questions were super basic, and some were a lot more challenging. There were a few that I had to completely guess on.
After the exam, you have to wait up to two weeks to get your score back. My score report actually came in 3 days; I don't know if that's normal. And I passed! Not with as high a score as I had hoped, but passing is all that really matters.
So that's my story. I hope it's helpful.
Hi all. Our EM practice is in the works of developing a head PA/NP position (manager in a sense). Currently we have a liaison who is a physician-but the physician wants to turn it over to the APPs. Since this is a new trial process for our group, I wanted to reach out and see what the job description and stipend/benefits your group gives to the PA/NP who is essentially "in charge" of the APPs at your practice. If you could tell me the type of practice you work in, location (state), job description for head APP (rough expectations), and stipend/benefits for that position I would greatly appreciate it.
Should I go back to Medical school AFTER becoming a PA?
Specialties interested in: Internal or Emergency Medicine
Here are my personal thoughts:
I don't like to disparage my profession, but the way we learned medicine was through memorization of algorithms and buzz words. We were not taught the basics of science from a molecular level working upwards. We basically skipped step 1 and went straight into step 2 clinical knowledge. Doctors can see and understand things we cannot. And make connections that we cannot. I think this is what I am craving for. To be that kind of an “expert.” To understand medicine at that level and solve complex cases. I think the funny stereotypical word for this is “mental masturbation” or “intellectually stimulating” haha. I have the personality type of being the best in whatever I do. I feel limited in that sense as a PA.
Financially, I would say I am kind of lucky. I wouldn’t normally tell this to people, but just to give you guys an idea of my situation. I actually don’t have any loans or interests at the moment after PA school. I paid out of pocket. But I was given some personal loans from close families and friends. I do have to pay them back eventually, but there is no time limit. And they would understand if I decide to pursue medical school. I would still have to take the MCAT, apply, do interviews, and then start the following year (this could take 2-3 years; here I could work as a full time PA and save money for medical school). The medical schools in my state are $100k for 4 years. Which is not bad compared to the crazy $200-400k type of other medical schools.
For family life, wouldn’t it still be possible to have? Instead of working 8 hours a day, I would be studying or going to lectures. And then spend time with my family. Especially since I am not a typical pre-med student. I will be entering with a stronger background knowledge from PA school. However I do understand that the residency years will take a huge toll on my work/life balance for 3 years. (My mom or future wife would still have an income during the 4 years of medical school).
But at the end of it all, won’t I truly be knowledgeable in a field of medicine, from basics to advanced. With the reward of earning a higher income and becoming a doctor (not what I’m going for, but still a benefit). I will be done around age 35 and can work 30 more years until 65. Won’t the money gain as a doctor in that time cover any expenses I had? And then be able to teach the next generation as well, confidently. I have a desire to teach as a professor at PA or MD/DO programs. And precept as well.
This is my current thought process, BUT if you guys think that I am delusional or crazy, please call me out on it! Give me reasons why staying as a PA from age 26 will be better for my life in the long-run. And to not make the mistake of going to medical school for 7 years, with unnecessary stress. I want to hear both sides and arguments really well.
How different is the autonomy in internal or emergency medicine between PA and MD/DO? Can I learn step 1 on my own while working as a PA, and be just as knowledgeable and happy? Or is the in-depth training of medical schools and residencies unmatched? And no amount of clinical experience as a PA can ever replace that? (I have my own thoughts of course since I have done clinical rotations, I just want to hear from what you guys think).
***Here are some more of my thoughts that I just private messaged someone:***
Thank you so much for replying, I really need guidance in my life. I am confused and don't know WHAT path is actually WORTH taking.
I love medicine. I have grown super passionate about it. I also love academia. I watch a lot of medical school vlogs and wish I went through the rigorous schooling like they did. PA school felt like a joke to me. It was mainly memorizing buzz words, without understanding the "why's".
Now, I know I can learn the why's using third party resources on my own - like sketchymedical, boards and beyond, pathoma, premade anki decks, etc. However, if I am going to do that, why not do it through medical school and get rewarded with prestige, money, and autonomy?
But that does come with its cons - such as a losing lost income as a PA, family time, and basically life. For 7 years.
I am interested in Internal medicine (hospitalist) or Emergency Medicine. What I want to really know is if there is a huge difference in autonomy, day-to-day job/tasks, etc. Because if it's 90% of the same job, then I am not sure if 7 years of medical school is worth it for me. I know people recommend PA to MD if you want to go into either surgery or a specialization of some sort.
Basically, is 7 years of medical school worth it for me (I am single and 26 years old; I only need the MCAT to most likely get into this DO program in my home city; this way I can be with family and friends and not miss out on life events). It seems like a fun journey to me, something that I would look forward to.
But there is this other easier, more convenient, and relaxing path - which is to remain as a PA and practice medicine. Earning a six figure salary. Living life. And also studying step 1 material with the resources I mentioned earlier.
*sigh* Do you see my dilemma here. Like what is the right path for me - in terms of happiness, life, money, etc.
If I were to redo my years of schooling, I would 100% choose medical school. But because I finished PA school and am interested in specialties that might not be that different as a doctor, is it worth it? Because I do realize I will have to go through numerous standardized examinations - MCAT, Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 3 CS, and residency boards. Also the stress of interviews, applications (both initial and for residency), research papers, etc.
Or will I always regret not going back for medical school?