Check out our very first PA Wednesday contributor, Angie! She’s a pediatrics PA-C in Georgia who graduated last year and has a year of clinical practice under her belt. Read on for a look into her daily life and learn some Pre-PA and PA school tips from a new grad perspective!
Tell us a little about your life as a PA since graduation:
I have been in Pediatrics for about a year and typically see about 20 patients a day. I take call 1 to 3 days a week (3 if it’s my call weekend). I also round on the newborns in the hospital. I see kids from newborns to 18-19. We see well and sick visits, and manage long-term conditions. I’m also a PA in the Army national guard. I have loved working with the kiddos, but orthopedics was always my goal, and I’m very excited to be making the transition to Orthopedics/Sports Medicine in January!
What led you to the PA profession?
My original thought was to go to med school. But I also didn’t want to get stuck in one specialty. I’ve always jumped around from job to job, being stuck doing one thing was not appealing to me. I ended up getting a masters in biology and thought I was going to do research. When I realized I did not want to be stuck in a lab all day, I started looking into PA school. The PA profession called to me because it allowed me flexibility, while still allowing me to provide medical care to anyone and everyone. I applied on a whim to the only 3 schools that still had applications open. I got two interviews and got into one school. I was so shocked! But now, working as a PA, I’m so incredibly glad I made my choice. I love being a PA.
Where did you go to school and what kind of HCE did you do?
I went to PCOM- Georgia. They require a minimum 300 hrs PCE. I was an EMT, worked as an MA in Dermatology, interned in general and orthopedic surgery, and taught Emergency Medical Response and Anatomy and Physiology at dual enrollment programs and at a college.
What tips do you have for pre-PA students looking for HCE hours?
It’s all about who you know. I went to church with the dermatologist I worked for. I told him my goals and plan to go to PA school and not only did he hire me as an MA, but he also came in early to give me lectures and teach me skills like suturing. He actually ended up letting me close some of his surgeries for him too, which was awesome! But don’t be afraid to reach out to people you may know.
Also, don’t be afraid of taking a job that may seem “beneath you”. It doesn’t matter if you have a bachelor’s or not, take whatever opportunity you can. Or go get an extra certification like MA, CNA, etc. Don’t just think about it as hours to get, think about the experience you get with those hours. It will help a lot in PA school.
Do you precept PA students or allow pre-PA shadows?
I do accept both PA and pre-PA students at my current pediatrics job. I know my new job will also accept students, but my guess is that I’ll have to be there a little while before I can take on students myself.
What pearls can you share for pre-PA students?
Be yourself throughout the whole process. Write about authentic experiences for your essay. Talk about yourself and be honest with your strengths/weaknesses, etc for you interviews. Also, remember that you are choosing the school as much as they are choosing you. Don’t go to a place just because they accept you. Make sure your philosophy lines up with theirs, that you like the way they structure their classes, and that the professors are people you can count on.
Also make sure you take time for yourself away from the books and studying. Have a life outside of school. I know it feels like you have no time for it, but self-care is important!