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Let's talk: what should I buy before I start in May?


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Hello, hello, I am very excited! I've interviewed with 4 programs and been accepted into 3 so far! This is a huge accomplishment, especially because my confidence was pretty low until October. I have not yet heard back from my top choice in NYC, but my back-up program is just as good as my top choice (actually, it's better, but I like the location of my top choice more for clinicals).

All of this being said, I'm really not sure what I need to start purchasing now or soon.

Are there materials that any PA students or PA's feel were helpful when they started PA school? Any absolute necessities or things you couldn't live without?

Thank you!!

Edited by daydreamy
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Your school should send you a list in plenty of time to get everything. Some schools require all students get the same gear; others allow open market purchase.  Otoscope/Ophthalmoscope are by far the biggest ticket items, and there's a decent used market for them, because after PA school there is very little use for them.

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18 minutes ago, rev ronin said:

Your school should send you a list in plenty of time to get everything. Some schools require all students get the same gear; others allow open market purchase.  Otoscope/Ophthalmoscope are by far the biggest ticket items, and there's a decent used market for them, because after PA school there is very little use for them.

Oh, wonderful! I will have to wait then 🙂

Do you know of any basic supplies that are helpful, such as phone apps, programs, or other supplies that might not be included in the medical supply list?

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2 minutes ago, daydreamy said:

Oh, wonderful! I will have to wait then 🙂

Do you know of any basic supplies that are helpful, such as phone apps, programs, or other supplies that might not be included in the medical supply list?

There's a ton of different apps--probably a lot better ones than when I was in PA school.  The ones I still use on a regular basis are Mescape, ICD10 Consult, and Pedi QuikCalc.

No matter what, you're going to find out all this and more on your first couple of days in PA school.  Your enthusiasm is noted, though. 🙂

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1 minute ago, rev ronin said:

There's a ton of different apps--probably a lot better ones than when I was in PA school.  The ones I still use on a regular basis are Mescape, ICD10 Consult, and Pedi QuikCalc.

No matter what, you're going to find out all this and more on your first couple of days in PA school.  Your enthusiasm is noted, though. 🙂

Ha! Just a Type A over here trying to be overly prepared. 😅

Thank you so much for your help!

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10 hours ago, daydreamy said:

Hello, hello, I am very excited! I've interviewed with 4 programs and been accepted into 3 so far! This is a huge accomplishment, especially because my confidence was pretty low until October. I have not yet heard back from my top choice in NYC, but my back-up program is just as good as my top choice (actually, it's better, but I like the location of my top choice more for clinicals).

All of this being said, I'm really not sure what I need to start purchasing now or soon.

Are there materials that any PA students or PA's feel were helpful when they started PA school? Any absolute necessities or things you couldn't live without?

Thank you!!

Just wait until you start to find out what you really need to purchase. My program paired us with mentors, students from the previous year.  We were told only to buy two books, everything else is online through our online library.

You will only need the basics, pen, papers, 2 pallets full of hi-liters, and dedication.

I have been fine without PANCE pearls, sketchymed, or anything else. Just good ol' fashioned studying has worked. Of course everyone is different but don't rush yet. Focus on enjoying your free time while you have it.

in other words buy some plane tickets and take as many vacations as you can until May.

Edited by JD2012
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I'm with JD on this one. Buy nothing to start. Your school should provide you with everything you need in didactic year in terms of study material. Everything else should be available from your library if you need it. I'd even argue against oto/ophthalmo unless you know you'll be in a clinical setting where one isn't provided yet is required. Students from the class above me have all implied it was a waste of $, and nobody caries it around during clinical year. 

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After reading your comments and speaking with some PA students, I've decided to download a few of the apps mentioned above, and purchase some PANCE materials, such as PANCE Prep Pearls, but will be holding off on the rest until I hear from my program.

Thank you all so much!! 👩🏻‍⚕️💃🏻

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7 hours ago, daydreamy said:

After reading your comments and speaking with some PA students, I've decided to download a few of the apps mentioned above, and purchase some PANCE materials, such as PANCE Prep Pearls, but will be holding off on the rest until I hear from my program.

Thank you all so much!! 👩🏻‍⚕️💃🏻

What apps did you end up getting? and what PANCE materials besides Prep Pearls? 

Trying to prep as well!! 

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I like Pathophysiology Made Ridiculously Simple and Step Up To Medicine. The weekend before we started a new block I would go through the pathophys book and then walk through step up to medicine. That way by the time I got to my first lecture of the new block, I was not hearing about things for the first time. I abhor powerpoint slides, I would rather read a book any day. So for me this was a good way to get a jump start and my primary means of study for each block. 

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On 12/6/2018 at 5:10 PM, riversong said:

What apps did you end up getting? and what PANCE materials besides Prep Pearls? 

Trying to prep as well!! 

I am going to be purchasing PANCE Prep Pearls, Pathophysiology Made Ridiculously Simple, and part I of Step-Up to Medicine. I already have Rapid Interpretation of EKG's by Dubin (btw, do not buy this book brand new if you can help it- the guy's in prison for child pornography and still makes money from selling his book).

I downloaded MedScape and the Doses Calculator, but I already had Epocrates, Guideline Clinical App (Cardiology), and Doximity, all of which I like a lot.

As for school supplies, I'm just going to get the basics - pens, paper/notebooks, highlighters, pencils, some 3-ring binders. I'm also going to get a large whiteboard for my wall or have one easel-style. I enjoy teaching and drawing things out, so I think this will be helpful for me. If I end up not needing it for school, I can always use it to draw some cool art when I need to decompress.

And thank you, @mooredc !

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6 hours ago, Ollivander said:

I've got to budget to buy a lot of slacks and ties. Maybe an extra white button up or two.

Ugh me too.  I've worked in a uniform for the past 10 years.  The business casual is going to be the death of me.  

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If you're old school but new gen like me buy a physical planner. Highlighters of all different colors, I rarely use highlighters but every now and then I find myself scrambling for some. I'd recommending buying one of those binders/portfolio hybrids (the one with the string that closes it) that way you have one storage unit that you can carry around that comes with dividers, so you can split them up between classes. 
PPPearls is cool but I didn't understand the utility of it my first semester partly b/c I bought it last minute. But I would buy it ASAP skim over it, so you can understand the flow. Bookmark OnlineMedED trust me Dusty is a lifesaver and it's FREE.
As for studying habit materials, are you a hands-on-kinesthetic learner? You might want to get a surface pro (to draw and take notes with a stylus). If not a Macbook pro is cool. (Don't get the air, it sucks).
I'd suggest fiddling around with Microsoft Onenote or Evernote for compling your powerpoints into one app, and for note cards look into the Anki desktop app or quizlet. 
One thing you don't want to do, although for most people it's inevitable, is learn about these new studying apps/ strategies WHILE you’re in school, b/c you should be studying 🤓
Ok I'm done. 😅
 

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A lot of the above advice is sound. I'll add in (and this might be a repeat as I didn't read every post verbatim) but wait to buy books until you talk to some 2nd year students about what books they actually used. I spend hundreds of dollars on books I didn't even open this semester bc I didn't take that advice. Also, a lot of the 2nd year students will be looking to sell their copies for cheap if you wait! 

Many books (at my program at least) were used as reference texts in addition to the lectures- aka you won't have time to reference anything. Buying any of the RECOMMENDED but not required items is, IMO, a waste of money. You do not need an ophthalmoscope or otoscope etc. Buy a good stethoscope.

Also, I personally decided to buy an iPad Pro and apple pencil. I made the transition from paper notes in undergrad to all digital (through one note, notability and google drive) this year and I couldn't be happier with the digital transition. All my notes are portable and sync between my comp, my iPad and my phone. I can search the text for words and I don't have to lug around binders of power point printouts. 

Edited by boli
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