Working as a Medical Assistant Before PA School – A Student’s Experience

Working as a Medical Assistant Before PA School – A Student’s Experience

By Jillian K. – Incoming PA Student When I first started researching prerequisites for PA school, I was daunted by the number of clinical hours that were required to make me a competitive candidate amongst an extremely qualified applicant pool. At the time, I was working in an infectious disease laboratory. To my dismay, I discovered that most schools listed the kind of work I did as one which they would not count towards clinical experience. I gave into the fact that I would need to find a position, either volunteer or paid, that would allow me to work directly with patients. I quickly ruled out volunteering as a means of obtaining clinical experience. Although I believe the various volunteer positions I held largely contributed to my PA school acceptance, volunteering in a clinical setting would not have allowed me to acquire the hands-on experience for which I was looking. I decided I would have to quit my laboratory job and get a new position in a clinical setting. As I poured over employment ads, I discovered that every entry-level position, working with patients, required some sort of certification. Refusing to let the obstacles stand in the way of entering PA school, I explored different certificate programs at community colleges nearest me. I was first interested in a CNA program because the certification would have only taken a couple of months to complete. Since I support myself financially, I decided that the pay of a CNA would not be feasible for my budget. I had to continue working full-time, and eventually found a medical assistant program that would allow...
Non-Verbal Cues to be Aware of for Your Medical, Dental, Pharmacy or PA School Interview Part 2

Non-Verbal Cues to be Aware of for Your Medical, Dental, Pharmacy or PA School Interview Part 2

By Sanam Darougar Farshidi In the first part of this entry, we discussed how the importance of confidence and appearing low-maintenance as important non-verbal communication tactics in the health professional school interview.  Here we will consider other factors, including how your appearance can affect the impression you leave on the medical school, dental school, pharmacy school, or PA school admissions committee: Dress the Part The costume designer Edith Head once famously said, “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it”.  Although things like clothing and accessories, makeup, and hair styles seem superfluous to many, the fact remains that our appearance speaks volumes to everyone we encounter in our lives. Studies have shown that people who take the time to take care of their personal appearance are perceived to be smarter and more confident than those who don’t.  While this may not seem like a fair guideline for evaluating a candidate’s capabilities, accepting this fact will give you a competitive edge. A clean, freshly pressed suit, and lightly worn shoes are the foundation to looking sharp for your interview.  Try to refrain from wearing loud colors that might be distracting.  And while you want to appear modern, you’ll want to avoid wearing clothing that is too trendy or fashion forward. For women, natural or light makeup can accentuate your best features and make you feel your best, but too much makeup can be distracting and lead interviewers to question how serious you are about a career in healthcare.  Similarly, while light to moderate accessories are perfectly acceptable, over accessorizing is distracting, especially if your jewelry creates...
Non-Verbal Cues to be Aware of for Your Medical, Dental, Pharmacy or PA School Interview Part 1

Non-Verbal Cues to be Aware of for Your Medical, Dental, Pharmacy or PA School Interview Part 1

By Sanam Darougar Farshidi While most applicants spend a significant amount of time thinking about what they are going to say in a heath professional school interview, less attention is given to the non-verbal cues that affect your ability to impress the admissions committee.  In the next two entries, we will discuss some of the important non-verbal cues that can help you ace your interview whether you are applying to medical school, PA school, dental school, or pharmacy school.  Lets begin by considering how your non-verbal communication can help you come across as confident: Exuding Confidence It goes without saying that confidence is key.  While an interview to determine your candidacy for medical school or PA school may be a tense experience, there are ways you can exude the confidence needed to impress your interviewers.  After all, how can you be trusted with managing patient safety and making split decisions about people’s lives, if you can’t even handle the stress of the initial interview? Being confident is an essential trait in medical professionals, so emitting confidence is a must in your interview for any health professional school.  Though the tips shared above are all ways you can appear more confident, other non-verbal cues can also transmit your level of confidence or lack thereof: Consider non-verbal verbals – Non-verbal communicative tactics include how you speak, intonation, and voice nuances.  In order to project confidence when you speak, be concise in your sentences and refrain from over sharing. Keep your tone of voice moderate, ensuring your voice is not too high pitched or so soft spoken it’s difficult to understand you.  If you have an accent,...
Adopting Good Body Language in the Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, or PA School Interview

Adopting Good Body Language in the Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, or PA School Interview

By Sanam Darougar Farshidi You’ve made it to the medical school, dental school, pharmacy school or PA school interview, and you’ve spent countless hours preparing for what you want to say and how you want to say it.  You’ve carefully assessed every possible question you might be asked, and crafted answers that are sure to impress the interviewers. But did you know that only a small percentage of meaning in communication is in the words that are spoken, while the majority of meaning is derived from non-verbal factors? This means that people size us up and make decisions about who we are before we even speak. Communication is heavily weighted on non-verbal elements especially body language.  As a result, it’s vital that we are self aware of what our body is doing in our interactions, especially in something as important as a health professional school interview like medical school or PA school. What You Need to Know About Body Language Body movement is the first thing the interviewer will notice about you, and the last thing they remember after you’ve left.  In fact, body language is so important in communication, that each tip following this one is highly influenced by it because elements of body communication are woven into each non-verbal cue. There are far too many body language tips to be aware of in interpersonal interactions, but for the purposes of this list, we’ve honed in on the few key essentials: Posture – When the interviewer walks through the door to welcome you in, the way you sit is already sending them a message about who you are.  Do you slouch, or...
Healthcare Reform and Dentistry – What You Should Know for Your Dental School Interview

Healthcare Reform and Dentistry – What You Should Know for Your Dental School Interview

What You Need to Know About Healthcare Reform for Your Dental School Interview In recent years, dental schools are looking more and more at applicants’ knowledge and understanding of dental health care delivery.  As you prepare for your dental school interview, it is wise to consider these issues in general and how recent healthcare reform will impact dental care and the dental profession. To make sure you have the necessary preparation to ace your interview, try to gain a basic understanding of the issues revolving around healthcare reform’s impact on dentistry.  Avoid getting caught up in details and memorizing every fact about healthcare delivery in dentistry. Dental school admissions committees are not going to quiz you on your knowledge of details.  The goal is to demonstrate an overall understanding of the issues and formulate a position that shows the dental admissions committee your thoughtfulness.  In an attempt to help you prepare, below we have highlighted some of the key issues relating to the impact of healthcare reform on dentistry: Before we consider how healthcare reform will affect dentistry, it is worth looking at government programs designed to provide oral heath services for the population.  Government programs generally tend to cover healthcare services, including dental services, for vulnerable populations such as those who do not make too much money. There are two mechanisms through which the government provides oral healthcare services to low-income communities: Medicaid: Medicaid is a government program that pays for healthcare services for certain groups who are considered low-income and for individuals with certain kinds of disabilities. The program is funded by both the federal government and the state and run by...