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Explaining chronic illness to PA schools


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It took years for me to get diagnosed, and for roughly 2 years I was sidelined from my studies due to my condition - I had many procedures and visits to specialists across the country to find the right treatment and testing for me. How do I explain this to schools without them losing confidence in me being well and being able to complete the program? Also, seeing all of these specialists, spending so much time in clinics, hospitals, seeing doctors, nurses, different kinds of NPs, CRNAs before procedures, PAs in nearly every setting really confirmed that I wanted this.. day in and day out. It also has given me more empathy as a provider for when I'm dealing with patients, since I went through similar circumstances. I thought those things would be invaluable. I don't know how or what to say without school losing stock in me, though. Could a school hold that against me? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

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Most programs list required technical standards (or something of the like) similar to how employers do.  Assuming you can meet these (either with or without reasonable accommodations), you don't owe them any information up front about your health status.

I honestly wouldn't mention it.  If it is something that is going to require significant time off or away for appointments, or require accommodations of some sort, you should be able to work directly with a program after acceptance to ensure it's the best fit for you (i.e don't turn any programs down until you've found one that works).

In theory a program should not hold anything against you like that but interviewers are human and you never know what thoughts may creep in the back of their mind when making decisions.

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7 hours ago, MT2PA said:

Most programs list required technical standards (or something of the like) similar to how employers do.  Assuming you can meet these (either with or without reasonable accommodations), you don't owe them any information up front about your health status.

I honestly wouldn't mention it.  If it is something that is going to require significant time off or away for appointments, or require accommodations of some sort, you should be able to work directly with a program after acceptance to ensure it's the best fit for you (i.e don't turn any programs down until you've found one that works).

In theory a program should not hold anything against you like that but interviewers are human and you never know what thoughts may creep in the back of their mind when making decisions.

It was more of the wrong treatment due to misdiagnosis for ~5 years. When sent to the right specialist and with the procedures, therapy and rehab, my body responded appropriately and recovery has gone as planned. My providers wouldn't need to see me unless something were to happen. But, as long as I keep up with it myself, there's not really any need. We all use MyChart and message eachother about dosage adjustments or any concerns. Thy've pretty much thrown the book at me, medically speaking (verbatim from multiple providers) so it's really all on me and keeping myself empowered and progressing. The psychological part after the physical procedures has really been the biggest part to recover - hard to explain, but after recovering from chronic things it's almost like waiting for the other foot to drop and rewiring old thinking habits. I meet technical standards on program pages, though. Unless asked, I won't bring it up. 

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