Flexibility in the PA Profession: What Every PA School Applicant Should Know

Flexibility in the PA Profession: What Every PA School Applicant Should Know

Get Started Today Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com 20 Minutes Free Consultation     Approximately half of all PAs will change specialities during their career By Alyson Rockhold, PA-C, MPH Do you want to know my favorite part about being a PA? It’s the flexibility! Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked in 4 different areas of medicine. Switching specialties keeps me on my toes and provides lots of excitement. I’ve gone from delivering babies to talking to patients with schizophrenia to scrubbing in for surgery. Each new job has stretched me as a PA and given me the opportunity to explore my variable interests. Sometimes, I switched specialties out of necessity. For example, one time I moved to a new location and there were no job openings in my field. I was grateful for the flexibility to apply to many different PA jobs instead of just one specialty. Being able to cast a wider net made it easier for me to find a job. The flexibility of the PA profession has given me an enviable career. Will it do the same for you? Let’s look at some common questions about PA’s professional flexibility. Perhaps these answers will help you decide if being a PA is right for you: How common is it for PAs to change specialties?  Here’s the basic answer: The American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) says that 50% of PAs will change specialties during their career. And, according to the AAPA’s 2019 Salary Report, roughly seven percent of PAs change specialties each year. So, if you become a PA, there’s a good chance you’ll take advantage...
The Strongest Asset in a Dental School Application is Authenticity

The Strongest Asset in a Dental School Application is Authenticity

Get Started Today Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com 20 Minutes Free Consultation     By Joseph Yim Preparation of the dental school application is likely one of the most time-intensive, stressful, and ambiguous endeavors that an applicant will embark on, particularly because there is no one way to get into dental school. Because each and every student will have a different journey into a career in dentistry, it is crucial that we highlight the essential “checkboxes” for each student to have as general guidelines in preparation of their application. These are:  Good GPAHigh DAT scoreExtracurricular activitiesVolunteer hoursShadowing hoursStrong personal statement As a pre-dental student or prospective applicant, satisfying these criteria is often the easiest way to ensure that you are on the right track. However, equally important is understanding how to be a dental school applicant. That is, the focus of your application should be “being” rather than “doing.” As any good writer or artist would vouch that showing is a stronger form of communication than telling. How, then, can you show and not tell as you prepare for your dental school application? This brings us to your greatest asset as a dental school applicant: authenticity.  Authenticity is an area of your application that is scarcely mentioned. After all, as long as you look like a strong applicant on paper you will be happy, successful, and admitted to a dental school, right? Surveys amongst dental students tell a different story. In an article published by the American Student Dental Association, Dr. Juliette Daniels of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry, Dr. Daniels cites a “prevailing sense, among a...
Real Versus Ideal? The Truth About Being a PA

Real Versus Ideal? The Truth About Being a PA

Get Started Today Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com 20 Minutes Free Consultation     How much of your vision of being a PA matches reality? By Alyson Rockhold PA-C, MPH When I was a PA school student imagining my future career, there was a lot that I got wrong. I had no idea about insurance battles or the mountain of paperwork I would be facing. On the other hand, I also never imagined that I would have patients tell me that I had changed their lives or bring me homemade cupcakes to thank me.  It’s so hard to separate the real from the ideal as you peer into the future. So, I decided to interview one recent PA graduate and one current PA to get a wider perspective on the PA career. And, to make it even more fun, they just so happen to be related to each other! Dani Cross just completed PA school at Midwestern University. Right now she is dreaming about and applying for her first PA job. Her sister-in-law’s sister-in-law (yes, you read that correctly) is Amanda Chibaka, a PA at a children’s hospital in Colorado. I had the pleasure of speaking with both of these women about their real and idealized versions of a PA career: 1. What is (or will be) the best part of working as a PA? Dani Cross (recent PA graduate): “I went into healthcare because I wanted to help people, and I think the biggest reward is going to be making a difference.” Amanda Chibaka (current PA): “There are so many great parts of my job! I love my colleagues...
The Difference Between PAs and Physicians

The Difference Between PAs and Physicians

Get Started Today Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com 20 Minutes Free Consultation   What distinguishes PAs from the medical doctors they work with?  By Alyson Rockhold PA-C, MPH “So, when will you become a doctor?”  The first time a patient asked me this, I sputtered in confusion. I was so proud of my newly minted PA license. How dare he insinuate it was merely a stop-over on the way to bigger and better things!   Then I paused and looked at the patient, an elderly gentleman wearing overalls. He had probably never heard of a PA. His comment wasn’t meant disrespectfully. I forced a smile, mumbled “Not sure,” and completed his visit.  After a decade as a PA, I’m more likely to face the opposite problem. Many patients call me “Dr. Alyson” even after I repeatedly explain that I’m a PA.  Here’s what I wish I could share with anyone confused about the difference between a PA and a doctor: Doctors and PAs are both qualified medical professionals who examine, diagnose, and treat patients. In their day-to-day work, there is a lot of overlap in their tasks. However, PAs and doctors differ in their length of education, level of autonomy, scope of practice, and the financial costs and rewards of their profession. Length of education Both PAs and doctors start with a 4-year undergraduate degree. Then most PAs will attend a 27-month PA program, bringing their grand total of higher education to about 6 years. After college, doctors will go to medical school for 4 years followed by 3 to 7 years of residency and possibly a fellowship. So, it will...
Common Personal Statement Mistakes for Medical School, Dental School, PA School, and other Health Professions

Common Personal Statement Mistakes for Medical School, Dental School, PA School, and other Health Professions

Get Started Today Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com 20 Minutes Free Consultation     What is the purpose of a personal statement?   The personal statement is an opportunity for you to tell the admissions committee what you want them to know about you to convince them to accept you. A few years ago, a medical school admissions committee member made a good analogy about the personal statement. She asked students to imagine that the dean of admissions at their top choice medical school calls them and says you have 4 minutes to convince me that I should give you an interview at our school. What would you say in those 4 minutes?  Whatever you say should go into your personal statement.   A personal statement should achieve a few key goals: It should explain how you became interested in the field you are pursuing (medicine, dentistry, PA, pharmacy)It should provide insight into why you are drawn to this profession. Ideally you should use experiences participating in patient care, shadowing, volunteering to show what you like about the field. It should give the reader some insight about what qualities make you a good candidate. This should not be a laundry list of generic positive qualities like being hardworking or being smart. Instead it should be a handful of specific qualities and a demonstration of how you acquired these qualities through your personal or professional experiences.  The most common personal statement mistake!   Perhaps the most common big picture mistake that we see in personal statements is applicants not clearly and explicitly articulating why they want to go into their chosen health profession. This may...
PAs have more time with patients: Fact or Fiction?

PAs have more time with patients: Fact or Fiction?

Get Started Today Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com 20 Minutes Free Consultation   Is it true that PAs get to spend more time with their patients than doctors?  By Alyson Rockhold PA-C, MPH PAs have more time with patients: Fact or Fiction? The professors in my physician assistant (PA) program repeatedly stated that PAs spend more time with patients than doctors. As a PA student, this was a major selling point for me. I was excited to get to know my patients and have the time to provide excellent patient education and answer all of their questions. After working as a PA for over a decade, I am starting to wonder if my professors were lying. I see an average of 25 patients a day, and I often wish I had more time with them. There always seems to be more questions to answer or advice to share when it’s time to move on to the next patient. The doctors that I work with see a similar patient load. They also bemoan the overbooked schedules that make us all feel like we are perpetually running behind. Do I really spend more time than doctors do with each patient? I decided to do a little digging. I waded through many research papers to discover how PAs spend their time and how that compares to how doctors spend their time. How PAs spend their time There is an interesting survey by Florence Health (huddle.florence-health.com) that surveyed over 1,000 medical providers about their workdays. Their results showed that mid-level providers, such as nurse practitioners (NPs) and PAs, spend about 54% of their days...