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Hi everyone!

I am currently a PA-S1 in my second semester, starting clinical rotations in the fall. My program offers 8 core rotations: EM, Family med, Internal med, surgery, Peds, OB/GYN, Geriatric meds, and behavioral health with only one elective. Popular electives include: any surgery subspecialty (cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery, etc.), cardiology, psychiatry, orthopedics... and more.

I was wondering if anyone had advice on picking an elective since there are many of these sub specialties I would love to gain experience in! if you faced a similar scenario, what helped you with making this decision, or does any one have insight on what may be best for post-grad life? 


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My school said that if you didn't know what you wanted to do, choose cardiology, because that is what has the most PANCE questions.  If there is something in particular that you love, go ahead and request that.  You never know where that extra knowledge and connections might lead.

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  • 2 weeks later...

^ I agree with the above poster. I get to choose 3 electives, and #1 on my list was cardiology. I felt so much more comfortable with cardiology after I left and I highly recommend that as well. 

However, it was all outpatient for me and I could not round with my doc in the mornings at the hospital because that particular hospital was not open to students (bc of Covid). I will say if you know you are interested in doing something more procedure based, I would pick a surgery subspecialty or even something like IR. From my experience in 6 weeks, as a PA, there aren't any "procedures" you do... at least not where I was at. I watched my doc do some procedures in the cath lab, but there didn't seem to be a role for a PA in there. 

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It's all well and good to do an elective in an area you feel weak in. Don't forget that a big part of these rotations is making connections for letters of recommendation, etc. when it comes time to practice. You have time to figure out what practice areas interest you; choosing an elective you see yourself working in will pay more dividends than focusing on PANCE prep.

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I like the ideas above. Another thought is to try a different kind of setting. So, for example, if your rotations are all urban or suburban, try a rural assignment. Of if it's all big practices, choose a solo practice. Or one in a location you might be interested in moving to.

You are at a PA buffet; unless you like one of the ideas in the previous posts, try a "food" you've never eaten before! Doors open in life in the strangest ways.

Good luck!

Edited by UGoLong
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