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Hi all,

 

Just had a question regarding shadowing and volunteer hours. I just recently received an interview invite and something I'm a bit worried about is discussing shadowing/volunteer hours. I have 0 shadowing hours, and I only completed volunteer hours as a Bible study leader for a few semesters of college, and then at a few random events.  I fear this is going to be a flag for interviews and am just curious to see what others' experiences are regarding the board asking about volunteer and shadowing hours.

  I regret not spending more time shadowing or volunteering, but I was just immersed in schoolwork and extracurricular's during my undergrad and jumped right into full-time work in the healthcare field. I also didn't place a lot of emphasis on shadowing, as my father was a cardiologist so I often would follow him around the hospital. I did have the experience of getting to work and observe a little bit what some Duke PA students did at one of the clinics I worked in and also essentially scribed for the psychiatrist I worked for (wasn't present in the room, however). 

Any ideas on how to approach this concern? Or should I not be too worried about schools focusing on this? I've been working about 2.5 years now as a medical assistant and did some front desk work as well in a psych clinic.  Thanks guys!

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It's definitely a plus that you have a family member who is a physician, but he's not a PA. It doesn't matter what your position is as a provider, as I am sure you could understand it would be a bonus for you to have experience shadowing the specific career you're trying to get into. The same thing would apply (in my opinion) if your father was a PA and you were trying to get into nursing school. The role, the patient interaction, and many other things are very similar, but can also be quite different. 

Programs want to know that you have a very good understanding of what the role of a PA is, which is obviously obtained through working with (which you did not mention you did) or shadowing one. You could always talk to your dad and ask him if you can follow one of his PAs before you go to the interview. 

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I didn't have any shadowing or volunteering and that DID hurt me at some programs.  However I had several years of HCE in which I saw how the whole health system functioned - and being able to describe that HELPED me.

You might be at a disadvantage with no shadowing (sorry but seeing how a PA student or family member functions doesn't count).  Depends on the program.  Do what you can, talk up your positives, but know that it ultimately could be a problem.

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If you already have the interview then do not worry about not having shadowing/volunteering hours! The program already knows that. I also have no shadowing hours and not a single person has asked about it at any of the interviews I have attended. Focus on the things that make you a strong candidate! 

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Thank you all so much for the advice!  Actually ended up getting in contact with my dad tonight and got some resources for shadowing, yay! ?

 

And thank you for sharing your experience, panglossian! I'm hoping for that scenario as well! Hope all your interviews went well ? 

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