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Happy New Year!

I know there have been a lot of threads regarding the LECOM APAP program. My main question is how difficult is it to set up your clinical rotations? I’m a Navy PA but don’t plan on staying in the military through medical school, and don’t have a ton of connections outside of the military healthcare system. Just wondering if anybody had a lot of difficulty setting up clinicals. Thank you!

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  • 3 weeks later...

In the past APAP students were supposed to set up their own rotations.  COCA seems to have had a problem with that so it appears that LECOM started encouraging APAP students to set up core rotation sites like regular 4-year students do.  I honestly don't know what the official policy is now for the students who are in the last semester of their preclinical training.  Dr. Kevin Thomas (at the Seton Hill campus) is the APAP director.  If you're really interested, you can reach out to his office to see what he has to say.  

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The APAP coordinator at Seton Hill said that it is really up to the student. If he/she has ties to a hospital that meets their requirements for a rotation site, they can usually rotate there. Otherwise APAP students can rotate at the same sites as the 4 year students. At least that’s the information I’ve received so far. 

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1 hour ago, NavyEMPA said:

The APAP coordinator at Seton Hill said that it is really up to the student. If he/she has ties to a hospital that meets their requirements for a rotation site, they can usually rotate there. Otherwise APAP students can rotate at the same sites as the 4 year students. At least that’s the information I’ve received so far. 

I was speaking to a LECOM student a year or so ago. I believe that they told me APAP students usually get lower priority on LECOM rotation sites so a lot of them set their own up. 

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On 1/18/2021 at 6:54 PM, PAtoMD said:

I was speaking to a LECOM student a year or so ago. I believe that they told me APAP students usually get lower priority on LECOM rotation sites so a lot of them set their own up. 

Correct. And yes...COCA has apparently mentioned to LECOM they don't like APAP students setting up their own rotations, but they haven't forbid it yet either.....probably because APAP students have greatly outperformed traditional students on board exams, but that's just a guess.  APAP students also tend to have prior work connections and often set up their rotations at sites they've worked at in their past lives as PAs.  The preceptors still have to sign all the paperwork and be vetted by LECOM well in advance of the rotation beginning.  I get the feeling that LECOM will probably do away with letting APAP students set up their own rotations in the future...but that's just my gut feeling.  I could be totally wrong.  Ultimately it'll be up to Drs. Feretti and Thomas. 

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On 1/18/2021 at 5:05 PM, MedicinePower said:

Setting up your own rotations? How is this at all acceptable to the accreditor of LECOM?

COCA seems to be tolerating it for now, but from what I've heard through the grapevine, they're not crazy about it because the lack of safeguards leave students in a bad position if a preceptor backs out at the last minute....where if the student were at a big teaching hospital another attending can step in if a preceptor leaves or backs out.  

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On 1/18/2021 at 3:54 PM, PAtoMD said:

I was speaking to a LECOM student a year or so ago. I believe that they told me APAP students usually get lower priority on LECOM rotation sites so a lot of them set their own up. 

I’ve heard the same thing. I think COVID threw everyone through a loop so they’ve had to place more APAP students this year than before. Also, are you a Med student or physician? If so, I’d love to pick your brain offline. 

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11 hours ago, NavyEMPA said:

I’ve heard the same thing. I think COVID threw everyone through a loop so they’ve had to place more APAP students this year than before. Also, are you a Med student or physician? If so, I’d love to pick your brain offline. 

Currently a PA in the application process! Feel free to message me with any questions. Hoping to get an acceptance this cycle. 

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Just graduated not too long ago from APAP.  I haven't heard of anyone who was completely unable to set up their rotations.  Although, it can be a frustrating experience studying for boards AND setting up rotations at the same time.  COCA ain't happy about APAPers setting up their own rotations and the thought when I graduated was that they were phasing in core sites for APAP students... but just at Millcreek Hospital in Erie for APAP students.  Nothing was ever concrete when I left and I'm sure CoVid through a wrench in the plans.  Who knows what will actually happen with CoVid likely ruining a lot of LECOM's outside hospital rotation sites.

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4 minutes ago, CVTSPA said:

Just graduated not too long ago from APAP.  I haven't heard of anyone who was completely unable to set up their rotations.  Although, it can be a frustrating experience studying for boards AND setting up rotations at the same time.  COCA ain't happy about APAPers setting up their own rotations and the thought when I graduated was that they were phasing in core sites for APAP students... but just at Millcreek Hospital in Erie for APAP students.  Nothing was ever concrete when I left and I'm sure CoVid through a wrench in the plans.  Who knows what will actually happen with CoVid likely ruining a lot of LECOM's outside hospital rotation sites.

Thanks for your insight. I’ve read a couple of your posts. You matched anesthesia, correct? Did you ever take the MCAT/apply anywhere else? Additionally, how “difficult” was it to get one of the non-primary care seats? Congrats on all of your accomplishments, thanks again. 

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On 1/24/2021 at 6:09 PM, NavyEMPA said:

Thanks for your insight. I’ve read a couple of your posts. You matched anesthesia, correct? Did you ever take the MCAT/apply anywhere else? Additionally, how “difficult” was it to get one of the non-primary care seats? Congrats on all of your accomplishments, thanks again. 

Yep, matched anesthesia.  I never took the MCAT or applied anywhere else.  The non-primary seats are definitely more desirable and are the first to go.  If you apply early and bolster your application the best you can, it increases your chances of getting one of those non-primary seats.  On the flip side, there is not a great retention rate for the APAP class so if you wait long enough, you can probably just get a non-primary spot if you took a primary care spot initially and one of the non-primary people drops out (known to happen).

Thank you and best of luck!

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10 hours ago, CVTSPA said:

Yep, matched anesthesia.  I never took the MCAT or applied anywhere else.  The non-primary seats are definitely more desirable and are the first to go.  If you apply early and bolster your application the best you can, it increases your chances of getting one of those non-primary seats.  On the flip side, there is not a great retention rate for the APAP class so if you wait long enough, you can probably just get a non-primary spot if you took a primary care spot initially and one of the non-primary people drops out (known to happen).

Thank you and best of luck!

Wasnt aware of an attrition issues with APAP. Do you know the attrition rate?

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On 1/26/2021 at 8:50 AM, PAtoMD said:

Wasnt aware of an attrition issues with APAP. Do you know the attrition rate?

I'm sure it varies from year to year and I don't have an official statistic but it was not unusual for at least 3 of the 12 to drop out.  The class above me lost at least 5 APAPers. Our class lost at least 4 that I can remember.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The class above me had like 1 drop....she left because she got pregnant and her spouse (also an APAP) took a 1 year LOA to help with the baby then joined our class.  Another student took a LOA for personal reasons but joined our class.  

My class had one drop after needing emergent surgery during gross anatomy.   We had one take a LOA when she got pregnant and I believe she joined the class behind mine last month.  

So yeah...it varies from year to year.  My understanding is the attrition isn't usually due to an academic inability, rather life altering issues that come up.  

The toughest part of school is the didactics, especially the basic sciences.  Once you're through that, it's actually much easier.  The clinical portion is typically a breeze for the APAPs and their clerkship performance outshines the traditional 4-year students. 

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I'm sorry but a PA or med school has no business opening if it can't guarantee clinical rotation spots.  Students are busy enough as it is, that should be completely handled by the school.

If a student wants to take an elective that's not offered, then fine the student can set it up.  But core rotations should ALWAYS be the responsibility of the school, not the student.

 

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On a side note, I think it's absurd that the accreditation bodies for MD, NP, PA, and DO programs are allowing these schools to open when they can't provide clinical rotations.

These clinical rotations are a CORE PART of the school process.  Imagine going to MIT and them telling you "good luck, we don't offer fluid dynamics courses here but it's required for your graduation so you'd better start cold calling programs so you can beg them to let you take their course"

 

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7 hours ago, TexasPA28 said:

On a side note, I think it's absurd that the accreditation bodies for MD, NP, PA, and DO programs are allowing these schools to open when they can't provide clinical rotations.

These clinical rotations are a CORE PART of the school process.  Imagine going to MIT and them telling you "good luck, we don't offer fluid dynamics courses here but it's required for your graduation so you'd better start cold calling programs so you can beg them to let you take their course"

 

The program is accredited based on the premise they will help APAP students set up clinical rotation sites but LECOM struggles to maintain rotation sites because they refuse to pay the hospitals that take their students like most other medical schools.  They also refuse to pay for proper staffing of their clinical education department to set up and maintain rotation sites.  They have 2 to 4 people setting up 12 months of rotations a year for 800 to 1000 students (3rd and 4th year medical students, pharmacy students, and dental students from the Erie campus).  That's at least 9,600 individual rotations a year to coordinate for their students.  It's a daunting task and the clinical education department is very overworked and overwhelmed.  The solution to relieve the stress is to make the people with a "1 year of tuition scholarship", AKA a 3 year medical school student, set up their own rotations because they are more educated and likely have some clinical connections.  This is more of a scenario of LECOM agreeing to play by certain rules then trying to follow the rules to the very bare minimum possible to limit financial expenses by making their students jump through unnecessary hurdles.  

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On 2/8/2021 at 9:23 PM, CVTSPA said:

The program is accredited based on the premise they will help APAP students set up clinical rotation sites but LECOM struggles to maintain rotation sites because they refuse to pay the hospitals that take their students like most other medical schools.  They also refuse to pay for proper staffing of their clinical education department to set up and maintain rotation sites.  They have 2 to 4 people setting up 12 months of rotations a year for 800 to 1000 students (3rd and 4th year medical students, pharmacy students, and dental students from the Erie campus).  That's at least 9,600 individual rotations a year to coordinate for their students.  It's a daunting task and the clinical education department is very overworked and overwhelmed.  The solution to relieve the stress is to make the people with a "1 year of tuition scholarship", AKA a 3 year medical school student, set up their own rotations because they are more educated and likely have some clinical connections.  This is more of a scenario of LECOM agreeing to play by certain rules then trying to follow the rules to the very bare minimum possible to limit financial expenses by making their students jump through unnecessary hurdles.  

 

I'm sorry but that's unacceptable.  If LECOM can't find clinical rotations, they can reduce the size of their program, try to do some fund raising, beg hospitals to participate.

Putting it off on students is garbage and a sign of a weak program.

Side note:  LECOM apparently has no problem building expansion campuses all over the country, so them crying poor about not being able to invest in clinical rotations rings very hollow to me.

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It actually worked out to my advantage to schedule my own rotations.

I was able to setup my core rotations near family members, and setup all my audition rotations for the specialty I pursued. 

Would rather do things this way vs. being assigned a random site.

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19 hours ago, DannyPADO said:

It actually worked out to my advantage to schedule my own rotations.

I was able to setup my core rotations near family members, and setup all my audition rotations for the specialty I pursued. 

Would rather do things this way vs. being assigned a random site.

More power to you.

But there's a difference between schools giving students the OPTION of scheduling their own rotations vs FORCING them to do it.

A proper functioning school should be able to get 90% or higher of the rotations in the same city, it's a sign of a weak program when they have to farm out their clinical rotations all over the state/country because they don't have enough clinical opportunities on site.

 

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