Strengthening Your Application – Exploring the Profession

October 7, 2011 in PA Educators, PA Pals, Prospective PAs

This post is part of a series designed to help you strengthen your application to PA School. See a list of all of the strengthening your application posts by clicking here.

Exploring the profession is the best way for you to be able to write your personal statement in such a way to convince the reader that you really understand (or are beginning to understand) what it will take to practice as a PA.

There are many ways to explore the profession:

2 responses to Strengthening Your Application – Exploring the Profession

  1. Does it matter what kind of medical professional I follow? I have been told by a few people that it does matter who I follow and that I would want to follow an assortment of PAs. I understand that it would be best to follow PAs but I don’t know any. I do know a nurse practitioner who would let me follow her for the summer. Would it still be beneficial for me to follow a nurse practitioner? Additionally, would the summer be too long to follow a single person or what is the best time frame to follow them?

    Also, what would be the best way to go about contacting PAs to follow them?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I just find this site extremely helpful!

  2. I think any shadowing you do with any professional will be beneficial to you; however, that being said I think that shadowing a PA is still the best choice for you if you are pursuing a PA career. There’s going to be subtle to large differences on how a type of provider practices. I have shadowed doctors and a PA as well as worked with NPs, and I can tell you as a future PA that the PA I shadowed was the most helpful. She could answer questions about what PA school was like, showed me how PAs would care for their patients, and shared with me the ups and downs of being a PA. Working with other providers, I did learn a lot, but they really didn’t know the nitty-gritty when I talked to them about PA stuff.

    As far as finding a PA to shadow I can share with you what I did. I had moved to a new city in a new state and I didn’t know anybody. I figured I could call the local hospital education department and see if they could help set me up. After playing ring-around-the-rosies on the phone for awhile I finally was able to talk to someone who set me up with the awesome PA that I followed. Now that I know a little more, I know that PA schools have numerous contacts that they network with. If there is a PA program in your state I would contact them, tell them your situation, and they may have a list of PAs in your area who are willing to be shadowed.

    And your last question about length of shadowing? I think a whole summer following one person would be great, unless who your shadowing doesn’t think so. Length of a shadow experience will depend on you and whom you are following so definitely discuss with them. I shadowed the same PA two times a week for three months. The length of time was great because I became familiar enough with the routine and she grew to trust me enough to actually let me help her with part of her history and exams.

    I hope this somewhat answers your questions. Let me know if I can help with anything else. Good luck!

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