Two Year Anniversary – Physician Assistant ED
OK, so it's not actually the two year anniversary of www.PhysicianAssistantED.com (which actually officially launched January of this year). However, October will mark two years since the inspiration hit me to create the website. I remember it vividly. I was lying down in a hotel room in Portland, Oregon after a day full of events at the annual Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) conference. I was thinking about all the great conference presentations and began to wonder, "Why don't we share more in PA Education?" Think about it, in the technological era we live in there should be no reason we can't share excellent curriculum across the nation. If a faculty member living in California has developed an outstanding series of lectures on thyroid disorders, then why can't educators and students from the rest of the nation benefit? In exchange, perhaps I can share a fantastic eLearning module I put together on Epidemiology and Biostatistics. You get the gist. So what's the problem then? Why aren't we sharing more? Well, the sad truth is, upon returning to our individual programs from these great conferences, reality hits. We're so busy as faculty just trying to stay afloat that we don't have the opportunity to invest a bunch of energy to make it happen.
Well I got sick of that. I decided then and there that I was going to create a web medium to facilitate PA Education. If we could use the power of the internet to make it really easy to share, perhaps we could enhance PA Education tremendously. Although initially it began as an idea to help faculty collaborate more effectively, I realized that so much more was needed for the world of PA Education. I then thought big, "Why can't we create something that will not only benefit PA Educators, but also Pre-PAs, and current PA Students as well? And why not also make it a community website as well, where everyone with an interest in PA Education could easily network one with another?"
Fast forward two years and we are closing in on the completion of the first of three planned phases of www.PhysicianAssistantED.com. After we develop a couple more interactive user applications, we will have the bulk of offerings completed for pre-PAs. This means that our attention will now begin to shift to rolling out all sorts of creative projects to benefit current PA Students. And of course, last but not least, we will develop some amazing features for PA Educators.
My goal with this blog post is to share how www.PhysicianAssistantED.com currently benefits the world of PA Education and to provide a glimpse of things to come. Let's start with what is currently available:
Features Available for FREE!
Full PA Program Profiles: This is our most popular feature. We spent countless hours developing and continue to spend several hours per week maintaining a database of information on every accredited PA Program in the country. This literally saves those researching PA Programs hours of time. All the details a pre-PA needs is included:
General Program Information, such as Estimated Cost, Degree Awarded, Program Length, Class Size, and Accreditation Status!
Entrance Requirements Information, such as GPA, Health Care Experience, Entrance Exam, Degree Requirement, and more!
Prerequisite Requirements, highlighting all the undergraduate courses you need in order to qualify for each program!
Direct PA Program Website Links to program home page and prerequisite information page making it easy to verify information and research programs of interest further.
Host City Profile Information, such as Cost of Living Index, Population, Average Summer and Winter High Temperature, &Average Monthly Rent.
"Did You Know?" Section providing additional interesting information.
Interactive Google Map allowing you to easily explore the geographical region for each program.
All-Star Blog Posts: Our blog features excellent posts, interviews, and profiles authored by our All-Star cast of bloggers! Regardless of your station, whether a Pre-PA, Current PA Student, or PA Program Educator, you'll find something of great value. Just a few examples include:
Being a Physician Assistant Series: a series of posts helping pre-PAs to learn more of the details about what it's like to be a PA! go there now
Strengthen Your Application Series: a series of posts to improve pre-PA chances of landing one of those coveted seats! go there now
PA Admissions Book Reviews: detailed reviews of three popular PA Admissions books go there now
PA Specialty Profiles: detailed interviews of specialty practice PAs go there now
Physician Assistant Earnings: PA salaries broken down by specialty, including hourly earnings go there now
Multiple Other Helpful Posts Such as: posts about scholarships, posts about CASPA, posts about preparing for PA school, posts about clinical rotations, posts about time management, and much more!
Website Community Features: We have a fully interactive community with the ability to join or create groups, private message, leave a status update, participate in forums, and connect with other members.
Features Available for a nominal Fee! ($3.95 per month or $19.95 per year)
Perfect Fit Search Tool: We've developed this user interactive tool to help pre-PAs find the programs that fit them best. With this search tool, a pre-PA can submit their state of residence, hours of patient care experience, cumulative and science GPAs, desired states where they would like to attend, as well as desired program costs, length, and class size. Click the Magic Button and the search program does the rest. Pre-PAs then receive a list of programs fitting their specific criteria in table form allowing for easy comparisons. Clicking on the row of information in the table will then bring up the full PA Program Profile.
True Cost to Attend Calculator: We developed this calculator as a thinking tool to help students determine how much it will really cost to attend that PA Program they've been researching. There's a lot more to consider than just tuition and fees. For example, what about Cost of Living and Lost Wages? Program A’s tuition might be higher than B’s, but what if the length of the program is 6 months less and you currently make $30,000 per year? And what if Program A is located in a mid-sized town with a very reasonable cost of living whereas Program B is in the heart of Los Angeles? The True Cost to Attend Calculator helps pre-PAs to easily compare programs of interest against one another by considering all of the variables, not just tuition and fees.
LIVE CHAT Sessions: The LIVE CHAT sessions in my opinion are the most underutilized feature of our website. Weekly we provide sessions that allow members to interact directly with PA Educators and current PA Students. The feedback we’ve received is that these are absolutely invaluable for any student interested in learning more about the PA profession or who’s in the process of applying to PA School.
A Glimpse of the Future!
So what do we have planned for the future? Well, we're currently working on several things that will be of interest to the PA Education World. As mentioned at the beginning of the post, we are working on a few more interactive tools for pre-PAs. First on the list is to develop a Physiology Self-Assessment Tool. Nothing is more crucial to understanding the practice of medicine than a sound understanding of physiology. This tool will allow pre-PAs to examine their fund of physiology knowledge thereby directing them to areas they should strengthen prior to entering PA School. We also have a couple of other things we're thinking about for Pre-PAs. I'm also excited to mention that we're developing our first major feature for current PA Students. In the not too distant future, we will be releasing board certification pearls patterned after the content listed by the NCCPA's Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) Content Blueprint. Unlike typical board review books, our pearls will be case-based and are aimed at providing golden nuggets of information helpful not only for board certification but also for everyday practice.
How Can You Help?
For those of you who are already Supporter Level Members, thanks so much! For those who are not, you can help by becoming a Supporter Level Member of our site. We are currently offering Supporter Level Memberships for only a nominal fee, $3.95 per month or $19.95 per year! Every dollar we earn is used for maintaining and further developing the site. So if you have an interest in our user interactive tools, you'd like to see more features more quickly, or you'd just like to support us in the cause, please sign up today. For more information about signing up, please click here. We're also always open to fresh ideas on how we can best facilitate PA Education. So if something brilliant comes to mind for how we can help further, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave some comments below. Thanks for taking the time!