Jump to content
tantamint

PA/MD/DO/NP Letter of Recommendation

Recommended Posts

Hello, I am planning on applying in the 2019-2020 cycle. I am wondering how important a PA/MD/NP recommendation is. Currently, I plan on getting two academic references (gen chem professor that I did research with & physiology professor) as well as a supervisor for my EMT job (I can either do the boss of the dept who is not a health care provider, or the second in command, who is an EMT as well...or both?)

I have some shadowing with various providers (no more than 20 hrs with each), but I do not feel that they would write me an amazing recommendation--probably a generic one which I imagine would backfire. I have seen a good number of programs require a reference from a PA/MD/NP/DO, but as an EMT who does not work with these providers, I am unsure how to procure a good recommendation from one.

Also some quick stats for me...

Biology & Public Health Double Major (BS)

cGPA: 3.93

sGPA: 3.93

GRE: 321 (156V, 165Q, 4.5A)

PCE: 1250 hours EMT-B (900 Volunteer, 350 Paid)... I intend on getting more between applying and matriculating.

          150 paid MA back office

HCE: none? (Is this concerning? Or does the fact that I have PCE negate the necessity of this?)

Shadowing: 140 - 15 w/derm PA, 10 w/Cardiology PA, 20 w/internal medicine MD, 15 w/Geriatrician MD, 20 w/Podiatrist MD, 20 w/ED MDs, 20 w/Senior Health MDs, 10 w/Pediatrics MDs, 10 w/Pediatrics NP.

Volunteering: 100 hour internship with food basket, 50 elementary school tutoring

Research: 400 hours environmental chemistry research (2 publications)

Here are my prereqs - Gen Bio I (A-), Gen Bio II (A), Anatomy (A), Physiology (A), Microbiology (A), Biochemistry (A), Genetics (A), Intro stats (A), Gen Chem I (A), Gen Chem II (A-), Orgo I (A-), Orgo II (A), Gen Psyc (A), Abnormal Psyc (A), Developmental Psyc (A), Med Term (A)

I also have taken other science courses...Gen Physics I & II (A/A), Molecular Biology (A), Epidemiology (A), & Virology (A).

 

 

Edited by tantamint

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest HopeToBePAC

I don't think it'll be an issue, unless the school specifically asks for a PA LOR. It's better to chose someone who knows you well anyways, and that's typically hard to do with someone you've shadowed unless you did it consistently  (100+hours). Also, considering that the other parts of your application are extremely strong, you should be okay.

Edited by HopeToBePAC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your stats are really good! Make sure you research which schools you are applying to because some may require you to have a recommendation letter from a PA. And then there are some schools that recommend you have one from a PA. If a school specifically doesn’t state it, then you’ll be fine.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The point of a PA LOR is essentially to make sure that someone who knows the field from the inside thinks you're going to be a good fit for the profession.  Why would you want to skip that?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are right that a generic letter from a provider that doesn't know you well is not beneficial. But a quality letter from a PA who knows you well enough to know that you are a good fit for the profession and personally recommend you is extremely valuable. You don't have that now, but you have some time. I would think about getting a new/2nd job where you work closely with a PA,  a volunteer position where you can work closely with one, or find someone you can shadow more extensively/regularly. Put yourself in a place where you can build a relationship with a PA, show them that you are an excellent applicant that they should want to take their time and effort to help, and then ask them to write you a letter. It will take time, hard work and putting yourself out there, but that's kind of the point.

 

Also note that some programs will only accept EMT hours as pce for time that you are actually with a patient. Time spent driving, at station/posting, cleaning equipment, etc. can be counted as hce, but not pce. 

 

Your grades are great, but your pce is pretty weak. I would focus  on programs that heavily favor academics and in the meantime rack up as many hours as possible. 

Edited by JTATC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JTATC said:

Also note that most programs will only accept EMT hours as pce for time that you are actually with a patient. Time spent driving, at station/posting, cleaning equipment, etc. can be counted as hce, but not pce.

I'm not sure 'most' is the best word there--I didn't encounter any of that when I researched schools for the 2009-10 cycle, although I've definitely heard of some schools wanting it broken down that way.  It would be interesting to see how many programs do, and it's certainly possible that it's most, but I would like to see the data.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, rev ronin said:

I'm not sure 'most' is the best word there--I didn't encounter any of that when I researched schools for the 2009-10 cycle, although I've definitely heard of some schools wanting it broken down that way.  It would be interesting to see how many programs do, and it's certainly possible that it's most, but I would like to see the data.

You're right, I don't have any data so I'm not sure if "most" is correct, so I'll change it to "some." I definitely ran across a good number that break it down that way though. 

Bottom line would be, check with the schools you want to apply to, as they may or may not accept all your ems hours as pce.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, rev ronin said:

I'm not sure 'most' is the best word there--I didn't encounter any of that when I researched schools for the 2009-10 cycle, although I've definitely heard of some schools wanting it broken down that way.  It would be interesting to see how many programs do, and it's certainly possible that it's most, but I would like to see the data.

agree. my advice to emts and medics is to reject that mentality and report straight hours at work. 10 24 hr shifts/month= 240 hrs. make them prove you were not busy at work.  Do they require RNs to mark off time spent at potlucks, surfing dating sites, or in huddle signoffs?

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, EMEDPA said:

agree. my advice to emts and medics is to reject that mentality and report straight hours at work. 10 24 hr shifts/month= 240 hrs. make them prove you were not busy at work.  Do they require RNs to mark off time spent at potlucks, surfing dating sites, or in huddle signoffs?

I agree that it is a double standard. Personally, I split my hours because several of the schools that I applied to specifically stated to. I did find it annoying that ems is the only healthcare experience I ever saw with that stipulation. I would guess that was written by people that think ems spends most of their day sitting in a recliner at a station, rather than running call to call in a SSM system as is often the case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, JTATC said:

I agree that it is a double standard. Personally, I split my hours because several of the schools that I applied to specifically stated to. I did find it annoying that ems is the only healthcare experience I ever saw with that stipulation. I would guess that was written by people that think ems spends most of their day sitting in a recliner at a station, rather than running call to call in a SSM system as is often the case.

I would report 100% of my hours and tell them "we run back to back calls all day". if they don't accept that, is it really a place you want to go to school?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, EMEDPA said:

I would report 100% of my hours and tell them "we run back to back calls all day". if they don't accept that, is it really a place you want to go to school?

Good point 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, EMEDPA said:

agree. my advice to emts and medics is to reject that mentality and report straight hours at work. 10 24 hr shifts/month= 240 hrs. make them prove you were not busy at work.  Do they require RNs to mark off time spent at potlucks, surfing dating sites, or in huddle signoffs?

This is fantastic advice (also an EMT and reported all my on-duty hours with no issue). No one, from attending to patient transporter, spends 100% of their time at work purely engaged in pt care. 

As far as your LOR, I'd look into picking up a part time scribing job. This will build HCE while allowing you to work closely with a provider. If you start soon, you could feasibly get a strong provider letter by the time CASPA opens. 

You have an otherwise amazing application, so do what it takes to lock down a solid provider letter and you should be set! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/6/2019 at 12:03 AM, rev ronin said:

The point of a PA LOR is essentially to make sure that someone who knows the field from the inside thinks you're going to be a good fit for the profession.  Why would you want to skip that?

It's not that I want to skip that, I just haven't been able to find a PA/MD/NP I can consistently shadow that works with my schedule. I would love to be able to find a PA who I could be given the opportunity to connect with enough to write me a good LOR. I'm just trying to determine if it will significantly hinder my chances of acceptance into a PA program.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, tantamint said:

I'm just trying to determine if it will significantly hinder my chances of acceptance into a PA program.

Compared to the other things people obsess over? Yeah, I'd say it's important.  I know it's something I read in files more closely than I do the other LORs when I'm reviewing candidates.

(You would be shocked... SHOCKED! at the number of practicing PAs who use a 's, BTW)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, rev ronin said:

Compared to the other things people obsess over? Yeah, I'd say it's important.  I know it's something I read in files more closely than I do the other LORs when I'm reviewing candidates.

(You would be shocked... SHOCKED! at the number of practicing PAs who use a 's, BTW)

I understand a LOR from a practitioner would be helpful, but I cannot imagine it would be a deal breaker for my application. Additionally, I think there are much more important things to obsess over such as GPA and PCE/HCE.  I have a good amount of shadowing and know what work as a PA and MD entails. It's hard for me to believe that a mediocre letter from one of these individuals would outweigh a shining letter from a second professor or boss. Also, from just shadowing a PA/MD, he/she could only attest to your interest in PA studies, not patient interaction etc to gauge if it's a good fit. 

 

Also, I don't understand your last statement. What are "a's"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, tantamint said:

Also, I don't understand your last statement. What are "a's"?

Physician's assistant.  The dreaded 's that you don't want ANYWHERE near your application if you can avoid it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, tantamint said:

I understand a LOR from a practitioner would be helpful, but I cannot imagine it would be a deal breaker for my application. Additionally, I think there are much more important things to obsess over such as GPA and PCE/HCE.  I have a good amount of shadowing and know what work as a PA and MD entails.

If you know the answer to your question why did you post? To flex with your stats? The point (as Rev and others above have reiterated) of the provider LOR is that they can speak to your aptitude for the profession of practicing medicine. No other LOR can do that- not a prof, a colleague, or a supervisor. A lot of people are smart and good students but why will you make a good health care provider? That's the question the provider LOR should answer.

I understand the difficulty in procuring them and I was lucky to have worked in a hospital setting where I could foster those relationships. That being said, no it's probably not a "deal breaker"... but I've had profs at my PA program mention how great the LORs were from my references so it definitely can only help. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, boli said:

If you know the answer to your question why did you post? To flex with your stats?

I'm unsure that you took the time to read my original statement. I asked "how important" it is, not if it is a deal breaker. If I believed it was a deal breaker, I wouldn't have applied posting and be postponing my application until I secured a PA/MD LOR. I am looking to assess how detrimental it would be to my application from not at all to moderately/severely detrimental. However, I never thought it would be a deal breaker or something to prevent me from applying.

I only put my stats in to give context to my situation as I figure strong GPA/GRE could counterbalance no PA LOR in my situation  (or at least soften the blow). It better allows people to give a more tailored response to my question. Everyone has strong points and weak points in his/her application. Although my GPA/GRE are good, my PCE and LORs are weaker. Would you say I was flexing my stats if I had strong LORs and PCE but low GPA/GRE?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, tantamint said:

I'm unsure that you took the time to read my original statement. I asked "how important" it is, not if it is a deal breaker. If I believed it was a deal breaker, I wouldn't have applied posting and be postponing my application until I secured a PA/MD LOR. I am looking to assess how detrimental it would be to my application from not at all to moderately/severely detrimental. However, I never thought it would be a deal breaker or something to prevent me from applying.

I only put my stats in to give context to my situation as I figure strong GPA/GRE could counterbalance no PA LOR in my situation  (or at least soften the blow). It better allows people to give a more tailored response to my question. Everyone has strong points and weak points in his/her application. Although my GPA/GRE are good, my PCE and LORs are weaker. Would you say I was flexing my stats if I had strong LORs and PCE but low GPA/GRE?

I admittedly didn't read the OP in full. My take on your question (although sounds like you're going to apply regardless) is that the entire application process is not black and white- at all. It depends on what schools you apply to, which person reviews your application, the quality of other applicants, etc. If I was reviewing your application give the information provided I would be concerned at the lack of a PA/MD/NP LOR. Enough to say no interview? eh... Probably not. My personal bias, as stated before, is that grades and professor LORs don't mean much in terms of the kind of PA student or provider you'll be. But I'm just a PA-S. You will probably get interviews just from your stats alone. Once you're in the interview it's up to you to convince them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More