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So i’m here asking the question everyone asks and everyone says to not care about, but how important is your gpa during PA school? and what is a competitive gpa i should shoot for? Depending on how this clin med final goes, i’ll either be at a 3.5 or 3.8. is a 3.5 still competitive 

let me say: im focusing on completley knowing everything i can rather than just trying to get As but like most people, I’m type A and want to succeed. I do know that what makes me a good provider is my knowledge and understanding rather than a transcript!  I just also want to be a competitive applicant when applying for jobs. Most people I’ve spoken to however have told me that no job had ever asked for your gpa. how exactly do they weed out the best candidate then when you don’t have experience to go off of? 

Im sorry for asking the painful question most didactic year students ask - but I just wanted to get answers from the source! Thank you all.

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Too many people in PA school cared more about their GPA, and being "the best" than helping other classmates.  It is kind of pathetic really. I was always happy to share my knowledge, notes, etc with others... 

 

I believe a GPA less than 2.7 you were placed on academic probation.  

Edited by ShakaHoo
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6 hours ago, Ire123 said:

How exactly do they weed out the best candidate then when you don’t have experience to go off of? 

The quality of your application in terms of cover letter/presentable CV, past experience, references, certifications, making sure you’re not a weirdo during interview, and pure luck. GPA means nothing in PA school unless it’s low, which indicates your knowledge and understanding may lack in some areas. 

Edited by ANESMCR
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If you’re focused on grades then you are not learning the real lessons.  You left grades behind.  The guy who is telling you about his dyspnea doesn’t give a rats ass about your grades, he’s hoping that his lifetime of smoking hasn’t caught up to him.  The woman with chest pain couldn’t care less about your gpa, because she’s terrified she will die.  The family of the six year old who is falling down  really could give two shits about your “grades” because the most valuable thing in their lives is in front of you.  
 

I hope that answers your question, because honestly, in real life- no one, including this PA, could give two cents on whether you could pick the right choice out of four.  The only thing you need to worry about is doing right by your patients.  

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6 hours ago, thinkertdm said:

If you’re focused on grades then you are not learning the real lessons.  You left grades behind.  The guy who is telling you about his dyspnea doesn’t give a rats ass about your grades, he’s hoping that his lifetime of smoking hasn’t caught up to him.  The woman with chest pain couldn’t care less about your gpa, because she’s terrified she will die.  The family of the six year old who is falling down  really could give two shits about your “grades” because the most valuable thing in their lives is in front of you.  
 

I hope that answers your question, because honestly, in real life- no one, including this PA, could give two cents on whether you could pick the right choice out of four.  The only thing you need to worry about is doing right by your patients.  

I dunno. If your provider squeaked by with an 80% what 20% are you comfortable with them not knowing?

When you've got 4 differentials you're weighing to base your treatment on I hope you pick the right one.

Think you've taken it a little bit too far in that direction. Otherwise why have grades at all? What are the "real lessons" you learn in didactic year if not didactic knowledge that you are then assessed on?

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I'm not sure (and doubt) if there's been shown that there's a strong correlation between grades from the didactic portion of training vs clinical performance.  There's a limit to how well a verbal description of a situation tied to a multiple choice question matches actual clinical presentations.  The appy's that I feel good about finding aren't the ones with vague abdominal pain localizing to the right lower quadrant accompanied by fever and anorexia.  They were the vague abdominal complaints that stayed vague, had some abdominal tenderness that was slightly worse on the right vs left, etc.  This has included 2 perfs: 1 elderly, one a 13 y/o.

The type of content that can be measured by exam is only a portion of what makes a good clinician.  It's a lot more about eliciting a good history, decent physical exam, and developing a good diagnostic plan - which isn't exactly the same as having the perfect set of differentials.

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Yes. So if you had the option of having a provider who did extremely well because they studied hard, got good grades AND were clinical studs versus someone who got crappy grades and did well clinically?

There's a reason it's hard to get into medical school right? Why grades on exams are utilized in residency and fellowship selection? Exams demonstrate retention of knowledge, and while retention doesn't necessarily confer the ability to apply it, you certainly can't apply what you don't know.

Of course it makes you feel good to apply your clinical accumen to dx an "abnormal" presentation of a dz process, it's a sign of a great clinicist, but if you hadn't learned the pathophys of abdominal complaints then you likely would be challenged to do so.

Clinical exams fall under the GPA as well.

I believe a strong disservice is done to students when they are told that they have "moved past" grades. They should be striving to retain the most knowledge they possibly can, for themselves and their patients. Hell, for our field in general so we don't look like idiots to the rest of the medical community. 

Couple of studies correlating grades in medical school with clinical performance.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4132279/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10401334.2016.1259109?src=recsys&journalCode=htlm20

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I think you and I differ more in emphasis than basic perspective.  To answer your 1st question: I'd pick anyone who is very good clinically and wouldn't care about their grades.  You are definitely right that grades are used as selection tools for the next steps, e.g. residency selection.  I believe that there are rough groupings of levels of knowledge that are equivalent, and too fine of a scale, e.g. percentage grades, introduce distinctions without true differences.  So, there's definitely a threshold of knowing enough to enter the profession.  Those are defined, whether the specific scores are validated or not, by programs for their passing standards, and NCCPA by the passing PANCE score.  Beyond that, there are probably some other levels, probably as coarse as very good and excellent.  I don't believe that a 90% vs a 99% GPA has much if any relevance to quality of clinician.

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1 hour ago, ohiovolffemtp said:

I think you and I differ more in emphasis than basic perspective.  To answer your 1st question: I'd pick anyone who is very good clinically and wouldn't care about their grades.  You are definitely right that grades are used as selection tools for the next steps, e.g. residency selection.  I believe that there are rough groupings of levels of knowledge that are equivalent, and too fine of a scale, e.g. percentage grades, introduce distinctions without true differences.  So, there's definitely a threshold of knowing enough to enter the profession.  Those are defined, whether the specific scores are validated or not, by programs for their passing standards, and NCCPA by the passing PANCE score.  Beyond that, there are probably some other levels, probably as coarse as very good and excellent.  I don't believe that a 90% vs a 99% GPA has much if any relevance to quality of clinician.

But a difference between 80% and 99%? As a couple of old medics here...you probably remember the classic debate between a street smart medic and a book smart medic. You can't have either and really be successful although the chance that a street smart medic can drag you in and dump you in the resus bay alive is probably a bit higher.

Think you lose that as you go up the chain of responsibility and expected clinical knowledge.

And c'mon @Cideous, for someone who's so concerned about our profession's future to tell folks to put in the minimum effort is a bit hypocritical. 

For anyone who suggests that these folks in school shouldn't be working their asses off to achieve the best grades possible (thereby demonstrating retention of knowledge, clinical skills etc as best measured in academics), well you've lost any ground to stand on to complain about our colleagues education in nursing.

Or I suppose you could just be a bunch of anti-intellectuals who were bad at tests 😉 

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4 hours ago, MediMike said:

But a difference between 80% and 99%? As a couple of old medics here...you probably remember the classic debate between a street smart medic and a book smart medic. You can't have either and really be successful although the chance that a street smart medic can drag you in and dump you in the resus bay alive is probably a bit higher.

Think you lose that as you go up the chain of responsibility and expected clinical knowledge.

And c'mon @Cideous, for someone who's so concerned about our profession's future to tell folks to put in the minimum effort is a bit hypocritical. 

For anyone who suggests that these folks in school shouldn't be working their asses off to achieve the best grades possible (thereby demonstrating retention of knowledge, clinical skills etc as best measured in academics), well you've lost any ground to stand on to complain about our colleagues education in nursing.

Or I suppose you could just be a bunch of anti-intellectuals who were bad at tests 😉 

Man do I disagree with you MediMike.  I think you're missing the whole point here.  Grade gpa in PA school vs NP training is completely irrelevant.  My point was simply this:  Don't worry about your GPA, learn to be a good provider and don't sweat the didactic competition.

 

Calling PA's who don't sweat "GPA" "anti-intellectuals" is bizarre.  I think your a lot smarter then that based on your previous positions 🙂

 

 

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One of my classmates would go the bathroom and barf before every test in PA school.

She had to take NCCPA 3 times to pass and get special accommodations for her anxiety - and barfing.

She is HIGHLY proficient in Neurology and has been for years.

Test anxiety...... it's real.

My high school valedictorian scored perfect on the SAT back in the 1980s. He had an over perfect GPA.

He had the interpersonal skills of a rock. He was a dick. 

I will take the clinically proficient person any day of the week over the person who is "book smart" and street DUMB. 

Clinical smarts and book smarts don't match up sometimes - not easy to measure.

If someone looks TOO good on paper and is ALL about their grades and GPA - I am leery - how about some personality, insight, intuition and plain old skills?....

I like talking to job candidates and can get a good grip on the situation in about 5-8 minutes based on their ability to interact with me.

Takes more than a GPA to make a good provider.

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58 minutes ago, Cideous said:

Man do I disagree with you MediMike.  I think you're missing the whole point here.  Grade gpa in PA school vs NP training is completely irrelevant.  My point was simply this:  Don't worry about your GPA, learn to be a good provider and don't sweat the didactic competition.

 

Calling PA's who don't sweat "GPA" "anti-intellectuals" is bizarre.  I think your a lot smarter then that based on your previous positions 🙂

 

 

And I know you're smarter than to actually mean "just pass". Or you're not an educator which is fine. But the comparison is real. You complain about the amount of effort (or lack thereof) that NP students put into their education, and then tell PA students to mail it in? Dude.

Everyone here seems to be focused on an either/or scenario, as if getting a good GPA precludes clinical accumen.

45 minutes ago, Reality Check 2 said:

One of my classmates would go the bathroom and barf before every test in PA school.

She had to take NCCPA 3 times to pass and get special accommodations for her anxiety - and barfing.

She is HIGHLY proficient in Neurology and has been for years.

Test anxiety...... it's real.

My high school valedictorian scored perfect on the SAT back in the 1980s. He had an over perfect GPA.

He had the interpersonal skills of a rock. He was a dick. 

I will take the clinically proficient person any day of the week over the person who is "book smart" and street DUMB. 

Clinical smarts and book smarts don't match up sometimes - not easy to measure.

If someone looks TOO good on paper and is ALL about their grades and GPA - I am leery - how about some personality, insight, intuition and plain old skills?....

I like talking to job candidates and can get a good grip on the situation in about 5-8 minutes based on their ability to interact with me.

Takes more than a GPA to make a good provider.

Did your friend bust her ass and try to get good grades? Or did she say frick it, I'm just gonna try and pass? I'm guessing #1, SHE worried about her GPA and put in the effort.

You know as well as I do what anecdotes are worth, I know far many more people like your friend, people who struggled all throughout school, who are individuals I wouldn't let treat my ex, while the folks who are "dicks" (i.e. majority of my surgical colleagues) are absolutely fantastic at what they do. We can trade stories all day long but we both probably have better things to do.

At no point was there a reference to someone being a s!++y provider if they didn't have a sky high GPA, the point I am making that you seem to be missing is that your goal in PA school shouldn't be to "just pass" or to not worry about grades. Your goals should be to become the best damn student and provider out there which means trying your absolute hardest. And anyone who would take their kid/wife/husband/parent to s provider who put in just enough effort to pass...please raise your hand.

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1 hour ago, Cideous said:

Please stop putting words in my mouth, I never said "mail it in".  Good grief.

Good. Because the phrase is supposed to be "phone it in". You'd look real dumb if you had said "mail it in". 

Spend a chunk of my rounds tonight trying to figure out what the dang phrase was supposed to be.

If "just pass" wasn't meant to imply "do enough to just pass" then fair. 

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On 12/16/2020 at 3:55 AM, MediMike said:

I dunno. If your provider squeaked by with an 80% what 20% are you comfortable with them not knowing?

When you've got 4 differentials you're weighing to base your treatment on I hope you pick the right one.

Think you've taken it a little bit too far in that direction. Otherwise why have grades at all? What are the "real lessons" you learn in didactic year if not didactic knowledge that you are then assessed on?

Sorry, but I completely disagree with your logic.

I have worked with doctors and PA's who have graduated from very prestigious schools, with top honors, who are very poor clinicians.

Poor bedside manner, and lacking common sense and ability to work through differential diagnosis...

 

Just because you are good at regurgitating information onto a piece of paper... in no way, shape, or form, does that correlate to being a good clinician. 

 

 

Edited by ShakaHoo
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40 minutes ago, ShakaHoo said:

Sorry, but I completely disagree with your logic.

I have worked with doctors and PA's who have graduated from very prestigious schools, with top honors, who are very poor clinicians.

Poor bedside manner, and lacking common sense and ability to work through differential diagnosis...

 

Just because you are good at regurgitating information onto a piece of paper... in no way, shape, or form, does that correlate to being a good clinician. 

 

 

See the discussion re: anecdotes as well as these items not being the point of discussion. I am not saying that a good GPA will make you a good clinician, I'm saying you should be doing your damnedest to excel academically.

So what does correlate with being a good clinician? Think you will agree that having knowledge and skills? What is the best way we have of assessing knowledge and then representing it? Grades. Whether that is exam scores, papers written, exam skills performed, clinical rotations accomplished etc. 

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Maybe this will illustrate the differences:

I've seen a lot of exam questions, including recently on the PANRE pilot, that give a short clinical scenario.  Sometimes it includes history and physical exam; much less frequently some results: imaging or labs.  Then it asks what's the most likely diagnosis.  That tends to push test takers towards memorizing buzz words, etc.  

Clinical acumen is based on a different process.  First, the thought process isn't HPI + physical exam => DDX, it's HPI + physical exam => workup plan.  That's the safety net to looking in the right areas: body regions, body systems, etc vs testing for specific differentials.  Secondly, it's based on very fuzzy matching of HPI & physical exam findings to those "buzz words" that exam questions favor.  In other words, uncommon presentations of common conditions are actually pretty common and more common than presentations of uncommon conditions.

Edited by ohiovolffemtp
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9 hours ago, ohiovolffemtp said:

Maybe this will illustrate the differences:

I've seen a lot of exam questions, including recently on the PANRE pilot, that give a short clinical scenario.  Sometimes it includes history and physical exam; much less frequently some results: imaging or labs.  Then it asks what's the most likely diagnosis.  That tends to push test takers towards memorizing buzz words, etc.  

Clinical acumen is based on a different process.  First, the thought process isn't HPI + physical exam => DDX, it's HPI + physical exam => workup plan.  That's the safety net to looking in the right areas: body regions, body systems, etc vs testing for specific differentials.  Secondly, it's based on very fuzzy matching of HPI & physical exam findings to those "buzz words" that exam questions favor.  In other words, uncommon presentations of common conditions are actually pretty common and more common than presentations of uncommon conditions.

Interesting perspective, not sure if this is just a major difference between upstairs and downstairs or if we're going to be arguing semantics here.

My workup plan based on my differential diagnosis.  If I don't suspect a PE based on my physical exam and history I'm not going to subject the patient to a CTA. I don't see that as missing a "safety net", I see that as basing my workup on my DDX.  A shotgun approach to testing in hopes of finding something as opposed to directed testing based on your clinical accumen and knowledge of disease process doesn't seem efficient or cost effective?

If you're testing everything based on a body system then it's not really clinical accumen, it's doing everything and then mining through the results in hopes of finding something.  There's a reason we have validated tools, likelihood ratios, pre-test probability etc.

I agree that "classical" presentations aren't often all that classical, but how do you recognize the abnormal until you've learned what is normal?

Suppose this could be a whole other thread 🙂

I'm probably going to back off of this thread as I think there are several different conversations going on, all different from the original question. 

I'll leave it with this thought: Would you ever tell your kid that they shouldn't worry about their grades?

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On 12/15/2020 at 11:08 AM, Ire123 said:

So i’m here asking the question everyone asks and everyone says to not care about, but how important is your gpa during PA school?

To your "professors", your GPA means a lot.  To most programs, your individual score in an individual class might even mean more (some programs say you have to excel in every class/rotation). 

After PA school....nobody GAF.  Residency's might, but I doubt it (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

After PA school you will be competing for jobs with 30 NPs who graduated with 4.0 GPAs after writing dissertations on the importance of accurate nursing diagnosis of sepsis of LGBTQXYZ patients with antisocial behavior secondary to family disassociation caused by comorbidities of Blippi's erratic behavior on youtube.   If adminiscritters look at the GPA at this point, all is lost and you will need to find the (rare) job for new PA graduates that may be best found in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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OP, no one cares about your GPA. No one cares about your PANCE score either. That doesn't mean YOU shouldn't care, because accurate grading is a way to show students what they are missing or not understanding. Every PA should care about knowledge and learning how to sense when they don't know enough.

On 12/15/2020 at 5:20 PM, ANESMCR said:

The quality of your application in terms of cover letter/presentable CV, past experience, references, certifications, making sure you’re not a weirdo during interview, and pure luck. GPA means nothing in PA school unless it’s low, which indicates your knowledge and understanding may lack in some areas. 

Emphasis mine. Anecdotally, the people who stress about GPA, who talk about GPA, who compare their grades with others, who brag about perfect scores on the PANCE... are often the weirdos at interviews.

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