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Landing a job in the ER after graduation...


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Hi All! I'm sorry if this has been asked before but I looked around and couldn't find anything. 

I'm about to begin PA school in August. I'm certain I want to do emergency medicine. I am BLS certified and will be ACLS and PALS certified by the time I graduate. I have also completed a few courses with the local police department on community emergency preparedness, safety, wound care, etc. The big caveat is that my only actual medical experience is being an MA for a family practice for around 4 years. I do have really strong grades (in undergrad and science pre-req  courses) but I'm not sure that's worth much in terms of job search...

I have 2 questions:

1. What can I do to increase my chances of landing an ER job after graduation (besides sucking up to my preceptor during rotations)?

2. Would it be worth it to complete a basic EMT course during the summer? It's a $1000, intensive course, and I would do it during next summer, in between 1st and 2nd year. Although I'd love to learn as much as possible, the price tag doesn't make me happy and it seems silly to get a certificate in something I literally will not practice for even one minute since I'll begin rotations after completing the course. 

Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thank you guys!

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1. Join SEMPA. They offer discounted membership rates for students. Take advantage of the educational and networking opportunities that will be available to you once you join.

2. Flexibility. Be willing to work where nobody else wants to work. Academic/trauma centers in desirable urban areas have no problem recruiting experienced PA's, but there are plenty of other ER's that struggle to incentivize providers to sign on. Depending on where you live, that might mean a rural area, an underserved area, a less affluent area, etc. You don't have to stay out there forever, but you've gotta start somewhere. 

3. As mentioned above, consider a postgraduate residency/fellowship. If you are absolutely sure that you want to stay in EM for the long haul, there is little downside to doing so. I have yet to connect with anyone who has regretted doing a fellowship/residency. More and more of these are popping up all around the country, and not just for EM. Whether you agree with it or not (and that's a discussion for another time, lol) the PA profession seems to be slowly moving away from lateral mobility and postgraduate training programs are becoming more prevalent. 

4. Do as many EM rotations as you can while you are in school. 

Hope this helps. Good luck! 

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Thank you guys for the wonderful replies. 

@LT_Oneal_PAC I was thinking the same thing about the EMT course.

@karebear12892 Thank you for that info. I just joined SEMPA as a student and am enjoying access to the journal and everything else on there. 

@EMEDPA Thank you for linking your old post! Awesome! I'll go through it and everything else on here. I'm looking into residency programs in CA since i'm in SoCal. Arrowhead looks pretty good but I have more to learn at this stage 🙂

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27 minutes ago, MishaShisha said:

Thank you guys for the wonderful replies. 

@LT_Oneal_PAC I was thinking the same thing about the EMT course.

@karebear12892 Thank you for that info. I just joined SEMPA as a student and am enjoying access to the journal and everything else on there. 

@EMEDPA Thank you for linking your old post! Awesome! I'll go through it and everything else on here. I'm looking into residency programs in CA since i'm in SoCal. Arrowhead looks pretty good but I have more to learn at this stage 🙂

If you're looking at SoCal, I would HIGHLY recommend UCSF Fresno EMPA residency. Director Wu is an amazing dude, they have kick ass residents, great faculty that put on EMRAP (podcast you 100% should subscribe to if you want to do EM), and if I wasn't at my residency, they would be first choice. The only reason I didn't choose them initially was because they were just getting off the ground when I was exploring residencies. Now I have met them at SEMPA and I've been impressed. You should go to SEMPA and see if you can track them down. Could find them when they do the resident challenge bowl. Always good to put some face time in before applying. 

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5 hours ago, LT_Oneal_PAC said:

If you're looking at SoCal, I would HIGHLY recommend UCSF Fresno EMPA residency. Director Wu is an amazing dude, they have kick ass residents, great faculty that put on EMRAP (podcast you 100% should subscribe to if you want to do EM), and if I wasn't at my residency, they would be first choice. The only reason I didn't choose them initially was because they were just getting off the ground when I was exploring residencies. Now I have met them at SEMPA and I've been impressed. You should go to SEMPA and see if you can track them down. Could find them when they do the resident challenge bowl. Always good to put some face time in before applying. 

I will look into UCSF's program for sure! Thank you for mentioning it 🙂

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Don't just join SEMPA - go to their annual conference.  There are MANY recruiters there.  Talk to all of them about job prospects for a new hire.

Talk to your PCP.  They probably know at least some folks in their local ED's.  They may be able to get you in contact with someone who at least knows what the local EM job market is like.

Be prepared for few folks to be interested in you until you've passed PANCE.  You're too uncertain until then.  After you've passed, getting licensed is pretty much a given - though the time lag is state dependent.

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