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I PASSED MY BOARDS!

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GUESS WHO is a PA-C!

Hello Everyone ,  Now I can Officially Say I'm a PA-C. Thank you for all the warm messages wishing me good luck ! I'm so proud to be able to share every step of my journey with all of you.

I have received several e-mails on topics and I decided to write about what helped me prepare for my boards. 

It's so amazing to see so many individuals getting ready for their PANCE as early as when they get accepted. This is the attitude to have, you beging preparing for PANCE day 1 not after you graduate. 

Rule # 1 - FOCUS 

* The biggest thing about preparing is having a schedule , using an agenda or planner will help keep your organized. The NCCPA blueprint is pretty extensive and you want to make sure you cover all of it. 

For example : Monday ( Cardiology: conduction disorders , Acute Coronary Syndrome , pericardial diseases, Pulmonology : Obstructive and Restrictive Diseases , GI: Esophagus and Stomach ,MSK :  shoulder , PANCE MASTER- do review questions on each topic) I will talk about PANCE Master further along in blog. 

* Don't get distracted : when studying try and put your phone away, stay away from social media. If you notice you are getting easily distracted maybe its time  to take a break or change locations. 

* When preparing for boards you need to be strict with your time, While you are in PA school you have a schedule, due dates , etc when preparing for boards the responsibility lies all on you. So it's important to be strict, usually you take your boards 1-2 months after graduation.  If you think about it this is the first time you will solely focus on preparing for this exam . Yes during PA school you cover most of these topics , you've been tested on them but you also have many other aspects you are focused on. So for these 1-2 months  BOARDS is all you should think about. 

My family and friends often told me I was a little overboard with my studying , and I was. All i did was think about this exam, but that's how my brain works. I would go to the gym, listen to podcast, clean the house listen to podcast, while i showered listened to podcast. All i did was eat, breathe, sleep PANCE but  It paid off.

What I'm trying to say is that this is the time where you need to be extra selfish because this exam is tough and yes after 28 months of school you're pretty much exhausted but this is the home stretch , you can do it!

Rule # 2- USE GOOD study materials 

* PANCE PREP pearl book - PA school bible. I love this book , I have said it time and time again this is NOT a book to use when you're barely learnign material , but once you are preparing for you're exam this is a great review book . 

* PANCE MASTER- this review course solely is focused on questions but it has a good and diverse question bank and it will show what organ systems are your strenghts and weaknesses 

* PA BOARD review ( now called MED GEEKS) - I LOVED THIS REVIEW , awesome detail on whole blue print.  Has notes, videos ,and audio.

 

Rule # 3 - Strengths and Weaknesses 

* Know what organ systems are your strong and weak points! Now Cardiology, Pulmonology, GI, and Musculoskeletal are the BIG organ systems these NEED TO BE STRONG so if they aren't make sure you work on these areas.

* PANCE MASTER -- this will help you see what organ systems you need to study. 

* NCCPA has practice exams - I took one right after I graduated I wanted to see where I was and I got to see where I had to put some extra work in, it also is a good predictor of how PANCE will be for you 

Rule # 4- PRACTICE 

* a huge part of PANCE is knowing how to take EXAM , Knowing your BUZZ words and demographis for different diagnosis 

I will be putting some notes up on this so hope it helps !!!

Rule # 5- CONFIDENCE 

* I  had a hard time in this BUT I had an amazing support system who reminded me why I was doing this. THIS exam is hard and scary , believe me I know it is . I was anxious studying for it, I would have breakdowns. I was constantly worried about failing but I realized that was the problem.  I needed to trust all the work I put will pay off.  What helped me was looking back on my journey , I applied at 20 years old , undocumented immigrant with no experience . I was initially waitlisted , once  I got in i was initially intimidated by all my peers and how accomplished and experience they were but I had to remind myself I was driven and GOD gave me this opportunity because it was meant for me.  I surprised myself on a daily basis once I was in PA school. It wasn't about being " SMART" for me , It was the work I put in . Things didn't come naturally for me ,  I had to read things several times, you tube videoes, make multiple pages of notes , study hard each day in order to become stronger . From the beginning I strived to not be average but to be GREAT at what I do . I was passionate about my career, and I made that the focus of everything.  As clinicals approached I made sure to use each patient as a learning experience .  Every day was an opportunity to grow and learn. As graduation approached  I had seen how much i had evolved as a PA student.  When i graduated, I was inducted to the National Honor society for PA's , 1 of 7 students of my class. This was a humbling and powerful moment from me. Looking back on my journey and that day of my white coat ceremony,  every obstacle I had ever faced suddenly made sense. Not only was I one of 7 students , but I was the only Latina Female from my class.  This was empowering for me because I strive to serve as inspiration and  a guide to all Latinos who are pursuing their dream. Don't allow any obstacle or boundary to get in your way.  Looking back on my journey I couldn't allow this test to be the only thing stopping me from beginning my career. I was nervous and anxious but that was normal, BUT I had to trust that all the work I put in will pay off. I knew that I couldn't have done more to prepare. I would study for 12 hours a day, miss birthday parties, dinners, celebrations, I put PA school first for almost 31 months, and now I'm a PA-C. 

I'm not going to lie i came out of the exam not confident, I was scared, I was like what the hell did i Just take? My husband drove me to the exam so as soon as I got into his Car I told him I felt very anxious about it , He looked  at me calmly and said " You passed baby, when you put in the work you put in , there's no way you won't get positive results ", I spoke to my parents , his parents, my sister, friends and they all had confidence I would pass. This only made me more anxious I didn't want to dissapoint them , but one thing they all had in common was they all told me they had seen the work I put in and there was no way I wouldn't get compensated for that. 

On February 8th I woke up at 8:43 AM to go to the restroom, I said why not check my e-mail ,Maybe I'll get my scores 6 days after my exam-- there it was an e-mail from NCCPA !!!! I felt my heart racing and sure enough I was a PA-C. 

THAT Moment , was one of the happiest moments of my life.  I  love sharing every part of my journey, If you would have asked me 3 years ago if I saw my life as it is now I would say NO WAY.

I'm married to the man of my dreams, now officially completed my dream to become a PA-C, my family is healthy, I'm a godmother to a beautiful and intelligent little 10 month old baby girl, I have an amazing support system with my husband , parents, sister, inlaws, and friends. 

 

TRUST The process- humble yourself up- work hard- stay hungry. YES I may have been a little overboard with how i studied and prepared but it got me the results I wanted . You decide the future you want for yourself. I often told myself and my loved ones  that I didn't want to be an average PA I wanted to be GREAT , so I worked my butt off day in and day out. I haven't reached my full potential, I have so much to learn and so much to do but I will continue to stay driven. 

This exam is hard, it will make you doubt yourself, you will look at some of the questions and literally wonder where the hell did they get this material?! That's the point of the EXAM, the PANCE is not meant to be easy , it's meant to challenge you , they want to make sure you are ready to be seeing patient on your own.

 I will be sharing some quick hits on cardiology up next! 

 

Melissa Gutierrez - Perez MPAS-PA-C 

blog : melisssa-gutierrez.simplesite.com 

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