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Peace Corps = Patient Care Experience?

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Are there any Returned Peace Corps Volunteers out there that have been admitted to the Duke PA Program using only your Peace Corps experience to satisfy the 1,000 hours requirement? I am an RPCV and trying to accumulate hours as a CNA, but probably won't have an additional thousand CNA hours by the next application cycle. Wondering if Peace Corps experience is enough on its own...


A minimum of 1,000 hours of patient care experience is required with direct, "hands-on" patient contact (e.g., EMT or paramedic, health educator, RN, patient care attendant or nurse's aide, clinic assistant, Peace Corps volunteer or other cross-cultural health care experience, technologist, therapist, clinical research assistant, etc.). 1,000 hours of patient care experience must be completed

no later than October 1, 2012.


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Hey I'm a PCV in Guatemala right now. I emailed Duke asking a similar question (I was a CNA for only 3 months before PC) and her response was, "Either patient care scenario will work for us. You will have a lot of patient care, regardless of the arena. " My only experience was the 3 months and now as a healthy homes (rural health education) volunteer. I'm still not sure how competitive my HCE will be compared to others, but at least she implied it counts as HCE. Where did you serve? Nice to see another PCV on here!

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I served in Ethiopia from 2009-2011 (returned in December of last year), as a "Community Health HIV/AIDS Advisor". I wouldn't call what I did there "direct patient care" experience (more education and facilitation)... but I guess it's enough! 4,000 hours, if we don't count training!


I also emailed Duke Admissions about this a while back -- mostly because they require you to provide a letter of recommendation from someone that has observed you providing patient care. The only person that could attest to this does not have regular internet access and speaks poor English. She told me that my Associate Peace Corps Director or Country Director could write the rec.


When is your COS date?

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Nice! 4,000 hours will be great if they do consider it equally with other health care hours. My APCD served as my reference as well. I know a PCV who just started her second year at Duke but I'm not sure exactly what other experience she held prior to applying. She applied the fall after her COS though which may have left her time to complete more direct hands on experience but who knows. I really like that they list PCV though. I haven't come across too many other programs that do so. Anyway, it's worth a shot, right? My COS date is July 14th 2013 so depending if I get accepted I may have to do early COS or ET. Have you already submitted your app? Where else are you applying?

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I can't apply for a while -- the only prerequisite I have is statistics! I am registered for 5 courses this Fall (Bio I, Chem I, Microbiology, Human Development, and Medical Terminology) and I am waiting to hear back about a CNA position in Orthopedics (one 12-hour shift a week, on the weekend). If I stick with that plan and am able to take all of the other prerequisites I need in the Spring/Summer, then I will be applying for the next application cycle (Summer 2013).


If I end up taking a full-time CNA position (which I'm interviewing for tomorrow -- in Neuroscience), then I likely won't be applying until Summer 2014. I have not taken the GRE before, and I am concerned that if I am overpointing this Fall and Spring, then I won't have adequate time to prepare and score well. So, I am trying to decide if I want to bump up my patient care hours with a full-time position and use my free-time to study for the GRE, or just plow through the prerequisites and hope for the best in the 2013 application cycle. Seems like a gamble!


I am originally from Boston but living in Kansas City now. I am kind of wanting to use PA school as a reason to relocate myself and my fiance back to New England!


The other schools I'm looking at include:

Wichita State (no GRE, no patient care minimum)

Eastern Virginia Medical College (no GRE, no minimum HCE)

Quinnipiac (no GRE, 2000 hours HCE)

University of New England (no GRE, 500 hours HCE)

George Washington (GRE waived for graduate degree holders, 960 hours HCE)

Utah (no GRE, 2000 hours HCE)

Shenandoah (GRE waived for graduate degree holders, no HCE minimum)



... and Johns Hopkins accelerated BSN, if all else fails! I narrowed my list down mostly by prerequisites -- if a school did not accept community college courses, then I nixed it right away. I also cut out schools that require a full course of organic chemistry, because it would add a year to my application process.

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aliss- Since CASPA is for multiple schools, I did put it under "other health care experience". However, despite the fact Duke does actually consider it as their direct hands on patient care hours the majority unfortunately do not. So, overall it is better just to put it under "other." Your CNA hours will definitely be under "direct patient care experience" though so that's great you're getting a head start on that. I would recommend working as a CNA and shadowing at least a few months before taking on all those classes JUST in case you end up realizing being a PA is not what you want to do. Those classes can be very expensive and absolutely not worth it if being a PA isn't what you end up wanting to do. But, if you've already shadowed and know for sure, then I like your idea of getting the pre-reqs out of the way and working 1 day a week as a CNA. To me, that would be the best option.


I'm also from MA! I lived on Cape Cod for 18 years before moving to South Carolina. But, like you, I also may use PA school to relocate back to New England. I applied to Northeastern and MCPHS.


John Hopkins was tempting as well though since it's part of Fellows and since not one PA program is part of Fellows. I don't remember the exact scholarship amount but if it's significant then it's definitely something you should consider!


Good luck!!!

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