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Exciting Start for University of Charleston Physician Assistant Program

January 26, 2013 in PA Educators, Prospective PAs


The University of Charleston Physician Assistant Program launched its inaugural class of thirty students on Monday, January 7th, only three short weeks ago! Since that time, students and faculty have felt the mix of emotions that come with the beginnings of such a journey – enthusiasm, gratitude, anxiousness, excitement, and yes, even fear. In 28 short months, each of these students will launch their careers as the program’s first graduates, taking on the sacred role as medical practitioner. So what have these students been up to anyway?

Orientation

Orientation was filled with interesting activities. Here’s a sample of what was covered and some of the comments that were made by students through an anonymous survey:

  • Learning Preferences Assessment: Sandy Stennett PA-C, one of our core faculty members, did a great job of facilitating a learning preferences assessment and strategies session using the VARK questionnaire. — Student comments: “I loved this presentation, I felt it truly helped me figure out the best way to learn.” — “I really liked the information given to us during this session. I think that it made us all think about what our most beneficial learning style is. For me, it broke down all of the different forms of learning that I could incorporate into my study habits. It was helpful to get to discuss these different methods with my classmates as well.”
  • Anti-Procrastination Planning: Jennifer Pack PA-C, our Director of Didactic Education, shared a great presentation on procrastination including key strategies for avoiding this plaguing habit. — Student comments: ”I now know how sometimes I am procrastinating even when I do not actually mean to or realize it, such as doing little tasks first.” — “This was very helpful to me. I want to try and stay on top of everything, these tips will be very useful. Glad to know I am not the only procrastinator.”
  • Cloud Computing and Note-Taking Softwares:  I had the opportunity to discuss several strategies for implementation of cloud computing applications and note-taking softwares into students’ workflows. It was also fun to show the students how this technology can be used after they graduate. We covered several applications including Evernote, Dropbox, Notability, and LiveScribe. — Student comments: ”I absolutely love the programs that were discussed and will definitely be using them throughout the program in order to keep my notes and studies organized.” — “This presentation was mind blowing. It was extremely informative and helpful. It opened my eyes to a world of things that were in front of me that I did not know existed. This was very helpful and will re-shape how I will take notes, record lectures, and store information.”
  • Memory Enhancements Presentation: Tina Chafin PA-C, our Director of Clinical Education, provided a fantastic presentation on memory enhancement methods. I especially enjoyed some of her acronym examples, including one useful in learning the cranial nerves. — Student comments: ”This was awesome! Very helpful, and somewhat eased my nerves on the bulk of info getting ready to consume me.” — “I enjoyed this presentation. I do some of these things already but I am going to really try to use them more often while studying.”
  • Listening and Lecture Notes: Richard Bennett PhD, our Director of Admissions, helped the students understand more about the art of listening and difference between approaching studies as a graduate versus an undergraduate, including how one should approach taking lecture notes. — Student comments: ”This presentationUniversity of Charleston Physician Assistant Program Mentor-Mentee Lunch was very good. I plan on using these tips while I am listening to lecture.” — ”Very good advice, taking a lot of it to heart. Will be trying to stay ahead rather than fall behind.”
  • Mentor/Mentee Team Lunches: In our program, we have developed a mentoring program where each core faculty member is paired with 6 students. During lunch on the first day of orientation, all students had a chance to meet with their official faculty mentors and team members.
  • Other: Several other activities occurred as well, including overviews of both the on-campus and clinical curricula, medical equipment presentation, and a program director pearls session.

Spring 2013 Courses

With orientation completed, no time was wasted in getting students engaged with their studies. Below is a sampling of some of the content covered thus far in each of the seven first semester courses of their curriculum.

  • Professional Development I: Self-Reflective Physician Assistant Competencies Project, History of the Profession, Student Driven Commitment to Excellence Project
  • Patient-Centered Care I: Team Approach to Care, Patient-Centered Medical Home, Health Professions Roles and Responsibilities, and Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Mechanisms of Disease: Health versus Disease, Cell and Tissue Structure and Function, Acute Inflammation, and Cardinal Manifestations of Disease
  • Medical Physiology: Action Potential and Synaptic Transmission, Autonomic Nervous System and the Adrenal Medulla, Neuromuscular Transmission, Muscle Physiology, Somatosensory Pathways and Physiology of Pain
  • Applied Human Anatomy: History and Physical Examination Skills Lab 
    Anatomical Sectional Overview, Anatomical Planes and Orientation/Movement Terms, and Head and Neck Anatomy
  • Clinical Pharmacology:Drug Discovery and Approval, Pharmacodynamics, Drug Receptor Interactions
  • History & Physical Examination: Overview of History and Physical, Health History and General Survey, Vital Signs, Basics of Documentation and Clinical Reasoning

As you can see, these guys have been busy.  Heading into their fourth week, they are starting to grasp what experienced Physician Assistants mean when they say that PA School is “like trying to drink from a firehose!”

Physician Assistant Profession Six Core Competencies

September 14, 2012 in PA Educators, PA Students, Prospective PAs


There are six core competencies that the Physician Assistant profession has adopted: medical knowledge, patient care, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems based care. Here’s the problem… since the beginning of formalized medical education the vast bulk of emphasis has been on the first two, medical knowledge and patient care. This is a heavy train that has been moving for years. Trying to put the brakes on that structure is very challenging!

Yes, of course we need to ensure we are adequately addressing medical knowledge and patient care. However, tell me the importance of competence in either if the student is unable to connect with patients (interpersonal and communication skills). What’s the point if the student lacks professionalism and loses his or her license? They matter not if the student is not taught to be flexible and willing to reflect upon and change practice habits during this era of seemingly continuous breakthrough and constant change (practice-based learning and improvement). And who cares how much they know if they cannot understand how to work within, and help their patients navigate through, a complex health care system (systems based care)? As Physician Assistant educators, we must think deeply about how to adequately train on ALL SIX of the core competencies. For they have never been more important! And they will only grow more important as our health care system evolves.

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by K'Lynda

Physician Assistant School Mock Interview

August 11, 2012 in PA Pals, Prospective PAs


Thoughts of my looming interview terrified me. I was scared that once I entered that interviewing room that my brain would shut off from nerves and stress. My anxiety stemmed from past experiences. I would trip over words, stutter, forget my train of thought, etc. Whenever this happened, I would get more flustered and my communication skills would fly right out the window. I was scared that if I had one of these mental road blocks during the interview, I would not make a good impression and thus lose an opportunity for placement at the Physician Assistant program I wanted to attend.

I could tell while practicing interview-style questions with my husband this fear was interfering with my ability to answer questions. I was so scared I wouldn’t know what to say… and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. My poor husband probably thought I had no chance of getting in! Here is an example of one of our practice sessions:

Bryan (my husband): “So tell me why you want to be a PA.”

Me: “Um… because PAs are AWESOME!” [Bryan just stares at me]

Bryan: “Let’s try this again. Why do you want to be a PA?” [I giggle nervously]

Me: “Uh…” [Long pause]

Bryan: “You know? You’re not really winning me over on this one.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I have plenty of reasons why I want to be a PA: I love healthcare, I love helping people, I want to practice medicine as part of a collaborative team, I want to volunteer and make a difference in my community! I have so many more reasons yet I couldn’t even think of one when my husband asked me?

I think part of the problem was that I was too comfortable with my husband. I wasn’t too scared that if I answered a question poorly that he was going to give me the boot! The only problem with this was that I wasn’t gaining any confidence from these epically awful practice sessions. (Nothing against you Bryan!) I just kept having these nagging feelings that if I couldn’t even impressively answer questions with my own husband there was no way I was going to impress my interviewers.

I was sharing my fears with a couple I had become good friends with through church. They offered to do a mock interview with me. I eagerly accepted. He was an assistant superintendent of a school district and had interviewed many. She had her doctorate in nursing so I knew I couldn’t pull a smooth one regarding medical questions. This experience was the biggest builder of my confidence I had ever experienced.

We wanted to make the mock interview as realistic as possible so I dressed up in my suit that I had bought for the interview. It was scheduled for 8pm so I had time to eat dinner, but found that my nerves were choking out my appetite. I was so nervous because I personally felt that however I did at this mock interview would directly reflect how well I would perform at the actual interview.

Eight PM found me sitting in the couple’s formal living room to conduct a “formal” interview. Sweat graced my brow (and unfortunately other places) as we began the interview. At first my responses were a little shaky, but I tried to maintain a sense of professionalism. Pleased that I hadn’t train-wrecked after the first several questions, I started to get this happy, almost giddy, sensation in my gut. I started to feel like I could do this! And as I continued to answer questions without tripping over my words, my voice became strong and my posture became tall. I could do this! I was a capable adult who had a strong, sincere desire to be a Physician Assistant, and I had worked hard to get this far! I had no reason to be scared or timid. The PA program had extended an interview to me because they thought I was PA material!

It’s hard to describe the feeling of confidence. I guess the best way for me to describe it is as empowering. The fear that had once consumed me had vanished. I knew that I would interview well the following week at my real interview, and if I didn’t get accepted it wasn’t because I didn’t try my best.

This wonderful couple gave me good feedback on my mock interview — what they liked and what they thought I could improve on. They both shared personal experiences that helped me recognize what would be appropriate for my own interview. They also gave me words of encouragement and support.

Truly this couple gave me the confidence that carried me through my interview. I am so grateful to them, my husband, and family and friends who supported me. Their support gave me wings.

For those of you that have been extended an invitation for an interview, I highly recommend that you find someone to practice a mock interview with. Whether to build your own confidence or gauge how well you are prepared, the experience will definitely be worth your time!

Physician-Physician Assistant Team

July 28, 2012 in Prospective PAs

The video below highlights the relationship that can be formed between a physician and physician assistant in caring for patients as a team. Great video!

News-Line – David Payne PA-C – Physician Assistant Educator

June 20, 2012 in PA Educators, Prospective PAs

I recently had an excellent opportunity to do a Q&A about working in Academic Medicine. I also had the opportunity to discuss www.Physician-Assistant-ED.com. I’ve provided an excerpt below but make sure to check out the full version by clicking here!

News-Line Feature Excerpt

Q: How is being a Physician Assistant educator different than being a clinician?

A: The most important thing to understand is that academia is an entirely different career. You go from practicing as a clinician to educating as a professor. Yes, the content you are delivering is medicine, and you have to have expertise in that arena, but that’s only a prerequisite to the knowledge and skills you must develop and employ as an educator. Becoming an outstanding educator is challenging. It’s not as simple as walking into the classroom and sharing the experiences you have had in the clinic or the vault of medical knowledge in your head. I’ve seen some brilliant clinicians perform rather poorly in the classroom. Even though they had great expertise in their specialty, they hadn’t a clue as to how to effectively deliver that information to students.

Q: What is going to be unique about UC’s Physician Assistant Program?

A: The first thing we did in developing this program was to reflect upon our previous experiences as students and educators in other programs. We thought deeply about what worked well, and what didn’t. As a result, I feel we have put together a phenomenal program that is truly learner-centered and application-based. Some highlights of our program include excellent faculty-to-student ratios where we can take advantage of education through mentoring, a strong emphasis on analytical thinking and problem-solving, a curriculum that will train students to be exceptionally resourceful, and a pass-fail system that reinforces collaboration and a team-based model of patient care. Our students will also produce a practice portfolio, a master’s degree-level project designed to cultivate a consistent pattern of self-reflective practice that will prove to be a major strength for them throughout their careers. I wrote a blog post with more information (University of Charleston Physician Assistant Program Now Accepting Applications) for anybody interested in learning more.


Make sure you read the entire interview by clicking here!

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by K'Lynda

Book Review – “An Applicant’s Guide to Physician Assistant School and Practice 2nd Ed.” by Erin Sherer, PA-C

May 17, 2012 in Clinical PAs, Current PAs, PA Pals, PA Students, Prospective PAs

If you’re looking for advice on a subject, you know the best source to ask is someone who has personal experience on the topic. In this case, our topic is not only how do I get into physician assistant school? But also how do I become a successful PA satisfied with my career?

Once a prospective PA, now a practicing PA and educator, Erin Sherer, PA-C is just the person to turn to. Her book: An Applicant’s Guide to Physician Assistant School and Practice 2nd ed. is a valuable resource for prospective PAs, student PAs, and practicing PAs alike.

What I really liked about this book was her easy to read, down-to-earth writing style.  While reading, I kept envisioning the author as a big sister who I could keep in my pocket or as a best friend who shared with me all the nitty-gritty about how it really is in the PA world: the things to avoid, the things to deal with, the great opportunities to take advantage of, etc. Because her advice is directed to people in the different stages of their PA journey (prospective PAs, students, new grads, practicing clinicians) I will format my review to match. Refer to the portion(s) that is/are relevant to you or that you are curious about. I think that you too will concur that that there is something for everybody!

Prospective Physician Assistants

I have to compliment Sherer on her skill to explain what a Physician Assistant is and how the PA differs from other care providers. If you had uncertainties about what a PA is or what they do, I am sure her explanation will answer most, if not all, of your questions. This will help you set your resolution to become, or not to become, a PA.

Physician Assistant School: Aside from deciding you will pursue the PA profession for your career, you must also decide on which PA school is right for you. According to the author, some of the criteria an applicant should consider are: program reputation, location, cost, type of degree offered, program curriculum, acceptance rates, pre-requisite requirements, and the PANCE pass rate. Sherer explains these different qualities in much greater detail and how these items will pertain to you as a future student. Her advice on evaluating a school is very insightful.

Application: I believe that if you read this book before you begin your application process you will find that there will be few surprises for you. As you know, the biggest hurdle that stands in your way at this time is getting accepted into a PA school. To help you, Sherer lists the statistics of the competition so you can gauge yourself against them. She also shares tips on how to prepare yourself so that your application can make a strong impression.  There are essay examples, advice for your letters of recommendation, and words of caution to the applicant regarding how long it can really take to fill out the CASPA application. (Most, but not all, PA schools have applicants apply through the CASPA website.) She also provides several checklists like the “Pre-PA School Checklist” and “The CASPA Checklist” that are helpful in confirming that you have completed everything as forgetting something could be fatal to your application.

School Interviews: If you have been invited for an interview, Sherer writes about what you can expect, what topics you should be comfortable with, what kind of questions may be asked (including examples of appropriate answers), questions you should ask the interviewers, and many other numerous interview tips.

Current Physician Assistant Students

I love how she titles her portion dedicated to the students- “Surviving PA School” (isn’t that the truth?!). Here are the topics that she covers:

Finances: School is going to be expensive. Provided in the book is information about student loans, PA organizations that offer scholarships, and programs that reimburse or pay for your schooling. Budgeting is also explored and an example of a student budget is listed.

Didactic Phase Pearls: Need ideas to help you pay better attention in class, use your study time more effectively, or find a way to manage your stress? Sherer weighs in on how to do just that and more.

Clinical Phase Pearls: Again this is where the advice of experience proves to be so vital. Some of my favorite Pearls listed describe not only what to prepare for but how to deal with those you will be working with.

New Physician Assistant Graduates

I felt like this portion of the book was the strongest in the amount of valuable information.

PANCE: Sherer lists many resources to turn to when studying for the PANCE exam. As the reader, you will learn what to complete before taking the exam and what you can expect at the testing center. After passing PANCE, Sherer lists what will need to be completed for completing licensure.

Erin Sherer, PA-C

Starting a New Career:  There are so many things to consider when beginning a new career as a PA. What specialty will you practice? What setting will you work in? Are you interested in contract work or per diem? Or would you rather be full time with benefits? Should you do a residency or fellowship? Where do you even begin to find a job? And what qualities should you look for in a supervising physician? All of these questions are answered in detail.

What I thought was very unique and helpful was that the author listed the benefits and cons of different work settings; there was also a questionnaire where your answer would list what environment you may want to consider working in.

Resume: Clear advice on creating cover letters, curriculum vitae, and resumes is appreciated in this section of the book.

Job Interviews: Tailored advice unique to the PA job interview is listed. While you are receiving your interview, Sherer warns that you should be interviewing the job as well: look for certain attributes in the prospective employer. If you do receive a job offer, be sure to go over your contract.

Job Expectations: Hopefully Sherer can calm any anxiety you may have over your new job by informing you about starting salary, how to get over first day jitters, billing, and what to understand about malpractice claims and insurance.

Clinically Practicing Physician Assistants

Finding satisfaction with your career is key to your success, and success is key to finding satisfaction with your career. Each PA’s definition of success will be unique to his or her circumstances, but Sherer describes in detail what one can do to continue to have satisfaction with his or her career. These topics include: continuing education, knowing when to ask for a raise, being able to identify when it is time to move on and acting upon it, learning how to work with difficult co-workers or deal with difficult situations, promoting yourself as a PA, and continuing to build lasting relationships.

Final Thoughts

This book is rich in resources, self-evaluation tools, information, and valuable advice. During my review, I felt inadequate in listing all of the material available as there is so much to write about. I hope I was able to at least give you a taste of the feast of knowledge that Sherer has to offer about the PA profession. If you decide to read :  An Applicant’s Guide to Physician Assistant School and Practice 2nd ed. you will not be disappointed.

*Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for PhysicianAssistantED.com

Newly Accredited Physician Assistant Programs

April 21, 2012 in Prospective PAs

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) recently announced provisional accreditation for six new PA Programs. This brings the total number of Physician Assistant programs to 164. Of course, we have created Summary Program Profiles for each of them. As always, you can find them searching regionally through our profiles portal, but I have also included the links below for quick access from this blog post.

Recently First-Time Accredited Physician Assistant Programs

Physician Assistant School Pearl – Focus on the Roots

April 19, 2012 in PA Students, Prospective PAs


There are two major approaches to learning medicine: Content-centered and principle-centered. Knowing the difference is critical. A content-centered approach may allow you to pass your courses. You may even pass the boards, get licensed, find a job, and function just well enough to perform at a basic level and stay employed. However, you will not find much satisfaction in your career, your understanding of medicine will be limited, you will consistently find yourself frustrated, and you will never be able to grow into an outstanding clinician. A principle-centered approach, on the other hand, will provide the foundation you need to truly have a remarkable career, one where you consistently feel stimulated, where you challenge yourself to develop further and further. Consequently, you will stand as a tall, full, flourishing oak of knowledge and ability.

Here’s the difference. A student who is content-centered focuses on the individual leaves of the tree while the student who is principle-centered focuses on the roots. When learning about coronary artery disease the content-centered student pulls out the list of typical symptoms and management options and tries to memorize, whereas the principle-centered student seeks deeper understanding of involved pathophysiology and fundamental pharmacology in order to make sense out of why those symptoms occur, and why we choose certain treatments over others.

When learning about physical examination the content-centered student learns the techniques so she can perform well enough to be checked off the list during her practical exams. The principle-centered student wonders why certain techniques are performed the way they are performed. She asks, “Why do I need to use a bracing finger when using an otoscope?” or “Why is it important to listen to the apex of the heart with the bell of the stethoscope while the patient is in the left lateral decubitus position?” And not only does she ask, she seeks out the answer, even though that practical exam is only going to assess whether she performs the technique correctly, not whether she understands its purpose.

There are two major advantages to choosing a principle-centered approach. The first is that when you make sense out of the material, you retain the information much better. Secondly, when you strive to understand principles, you start to see connections everywhere. Oftentimes the principles underlying one disease process or treatment approach also apply to many others. In other words, focusing on the roots allows your knowledge base to be connected to every leaf of the tree whereas focusing on the individual leaves supplies no such connection. That student who sought to understand principles during her physical examination course will learn much more once she begins her study of cardiology.

Always ask “why?” Make sure you attach meaning to everything you learn. To the extent possible, master as much physiology, pathophysiology, anatomy, basic pharmacology, and laboratory medicine possible. These are the roots. Nourish them. Before you know it, you will be enjoying the fruits of your labors.

Knowing Your Patients and the Art of Medicine

March 31, 2012 in Clinical PAs, PA Educators, PA Students, Prospective PAs

Art and creativity are inseparable. They are intimately connected.

In no way is it creative to simply funnel patients through, check off labs, reorder the same prescriptions, and set up the same follow-ups. But this is what can happen when a rushed internist or family medicine physician assistant sees 30 patients a day. The practice of medicine becomes more mechanical, the provider more robotic. Less time spent with patients equates to less opportunity to practice the art of medicine.

We can only become creative in medicine when we really get to know our patients, when we take the time to both develop and nurture genuine interpersonal relationships.

Practicing the art of medicine is temporarily withholding that diabetes medication for Hal because you understand him well enough to know he will be more motivated to establish an exercise routine if it means having to take less medication. Practicing the art of medicine is starting that same diabetes medication now for Janie because you understand her well enough to know her anxiety disorder will be exacerbated if nothing is initiated right away.

If you fail to know your patients, you fail to practice the art of medicine. If you fail to practice the art of medicine, then you fail period.

Physician Assistant Student Falling in Love with Primary Care

March 22, 2012 in PA Students, Prospective PAs


May 2011 was the beginning of my clinical experiences!  If you would have asked me then I would not have been able to tell you what field I wanted to go into after graduation, I was an open slate! Now that I have just finished my third clinical rotation with the UW-Madison PA program, I have a much better idea.  I absolutely love primary care! Clinicals have been flying by fast.  My first mini-rotation was 3 weeks in family medicine.  My next rotation was a split rotation, 4 weeks inpatient oncology and 4 weeks endocrinology.  Then I spent 8 week in a family medicine clinic in a small town in Minnesota outside of the Twin Cities.  Next up was emergency medicine for 8 weeks.  I enjoyed each rotation for different reasons; however, my initial 3 weeks and later 8 weeks in family medicine were the rotations I was most passionate about…  I loved the variety of patients: the very young, pre-teens, teens, adults, and the elderly. Often entire families would come into the office and the mom, dad, and children would be seen all in one day!  Although it made the rooms crowded at times, I really enjoyed being able to interact with the entire family at once and see the dynamics of their relationship. This gave me clues into the overall health of the family.

I also really enjoy the PREVENTATIVE side of family medicine.  For a while before choosing Physician Assistant as a career, I was planning on becoming a biology teacher.  Educating patients regarding lifestyle, medication benefits and side effects, vaccines, their specific disease pathology, etc. is a way that I can also teach which is very exciting for me.  A future goal of mine is to become very effective at educating patients in order to help them avoid diseases in the future.  This is something I have become very passionate about!

My final rotation is an elective of my choice.  I chose family medicine in a small rural town about one hour away from Madison, WI where I live.  This will give me more opportunity to prepare myself for graduation, which is this May already!

University of Charleston Physician Assistant Program – Now Accepting Applications!

February 2, 2012 in Prospective PAs


This is a very exciting time in PA Education and especially for the University of Charleston Physician Assistant program. We have been working diligently over the last several months to develop an outstanding program. I’m happy to report that we are now accepting applications. So what’s going to be so great about the UC PA Program?

Dedicated caring faculty

We have experienced core Physician Assistant faculty members who are passionate about PA Education. Each of us has been involved in PA Education for years. Given the remarkable gift of a blank canvas with which to build a new program, we have asked ourselves from day one, “How can we do things differently? How can we do things better? What was missing in our experiences as PA students and the previous programs we’ve been a part of as educators?” Asking these fundamental questions has resulted in a creative curriculum designed with the student in mind. We are also fortunate enough to benefit from having two physicians on our team, both contributing some of their invaluable time in their capacities as Medical Director and Associate Medical Director. We will add three additional full-time faculty who will begin October this year in preparation for our inaugural class matriculating in January 2013.

Faculty led learner-centered teams

We understand that many of the most profound learning experiences come in the context of strong mentoring and collaboration in close knit groups. We have structured our program to have small class sizes and excellent faculty to student ratios so we can take advantage of this idea. Each student will be placed on a faculty-led team with around five other students. These teams will meet regularly to talk medicine and help each other become the best they can be.

Analytical thinking and problem-solving

Our curriculum will have a heavy emphasis on the meat of medicine, problem-solving! Medicine is not about memorizing facts and figures. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain things that must be memorized. But the art and practice of medicine is not about regurgitating the proper dose of an antibiotic or memorizing the three most common presenting symptoms of Cushing’s disease. Rather, it’s about having a sound understanding of fundamentals and being able to logically work through a complex set of data. It’s about appreciating the unique dynamics involved in human interaction and understanding the role they play in making clinical decisions. The focus of our curriculum will be upon learning and applying critical principles of disease and patient care. Throughout the pre-clinical phase of the program, during our Patient-Centered Care series of courses, students will be challenged by paid actors and sophisticated simulation mannequins to apply their knowledge and skill to simulated clinical situations.

Resourcefulness

Our curriculum will include a focus on training our future Physician Assistants to be exceptionally resourceful. Beginning in the first semester, students will learn to access excellent information quickly. There are several outstanding web-based tools that have been designed for clinicians to use at the point-of-care. Our students will become extremely comfortable with these tools so they can take advantage of maximizing patient care through clinical decisions that are backed by evidence.

Pass/fail credit system

The entire concept of the Physician Assistant profession is based on collaboratively working with a supervising physician. Furthermore, the entire medical industry is rapidly moving toward a model of patient-centered, team-based care. We want to reinforce this concept by communicating to our students that the patient is what truly matters, not the grade. In our program, students will be challenged to learn as much as they possibly can so they can treat patients to the best of their ability, not so they can obtain a certain grade. From day one, students will be asked to do everything they can to elevate each other to excellence, rather than striving to outperform each other. The patient is what truly matters.

Outstanding medical community

The Charleston area has an outstanding medical community. CAMC Memorial Hospital, one of the best medical centers in the Appalachian Region, sits less than a mile from campus. Even before I began my duties as Program Director, during the interview process, I could feel the enthusiasm for this program. We have been overwhelmed by how supportive everyone in the medical community has been. Medical and educational leaders from around the entire region have extended their hand in offering whatever support they can. We are confident this will result in outstanding training opportunities for our students.

Active and collaborative learning

We strongly value utilizing innovative educational techniques. We will consistently employ educational approaches that break away from the traditional lecture. There will be more learning through engaging students as active participants, and less from sitting as passive listeners. Consequently, students will retain more and feel comfortable in applying their knowledge and skills in real world settings.

Self-reflective practice portfolios

For their capstone project, students will create a self-reflective practice portfolio. Towards the end of their didactic phase, students will use several tools to perform a critical self-analysis of their knowledge, skills, and attitudes. They will identify their strengths and their weaknesses. They will then develop detailed plans of improvement where needed. Throughout their clinical year, they will continually assess their progress in overcoming their weaknesses through self-reflective practice and establish new goals and plans. This project will better prepare students to be well-rounded clinicians and will cultivate a consistent pattern of self-reflective practice that will prove to be a major strength for them throughout their careers.

If you are passionate about making a difference in the lives of others through becoming a highly competent medical practitioner, a world class education awaits you at the University of Charleston Physician Assistant Program!

curriculum  ·  admission pathways  ·  prerequisite courses  ·  application requirements  ·  accreditation

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by K'Lynda

Preparing for an Opportunity of a Lifetime – Physician Assistant School

January 21, 2012 in PA Pals, Prospective PAs

Preparing yourself to become a candidate for Physician Assistant school is a two-step process:

  1. 1) Preparing the application to land the interview to a program.
  2. 2) Once you are invited, preparing to knock everybody’s socks off at the interview!

Competition is stiff right now. Success is going to require sacrifice, commitment, and an unwavering eye on the prize. This is an opportunity of a lifetime.  The chance to do what you love while making a difference in people’s lives is definitely worth fighting for. I know that it was countless hours of preparation and support from those around me that helped me get accepted to the PA school of my choice.

It can be overwhelming at times thinking of what you need to do to get accepted. Because of this, I would like to share with you what I used for my own personal success. Since there is so much information on what I studied, where I got my information, and what I did, I am going to make a list with notes. This is exactly what I used and what I did to get accepted into my program.

Great Physician Assistant Resources for Prospective PAs

Do I have to say any more? This website is an excellent source for all things PA. When preparing for my interview I read the blogs, used the LIVE CHAT room, and participated in forums and groups. I have to say that this website was actually the first resource I turned to when I started my journey towards becoming a PA.


I first found the PA Coach on YouTube. I followed a link to his website and discovered his free video course on the top 7 mistakes PA applicants make and how to avoid them. His website also has interesting discussions, message boards, interviewing tips, and helpful articles. I enjoyed reading the comment of one PA-S who wrote that while she was interviewing she kept telling herself how her interviewers were trying to impress her as much as she was trying to impress them. I don’t know why that little sentence gave me so much confidence, but it did. Maybe it gave me confidence because it reminded me that my interviewers are human as well? I too said that same phrase to myself while at my own interview.


PhysicianAssistantForum.com is a very useful website. What I really liked about this site was that there were forums for practically every PA program out there. I used this website to talk to other PA hopefuls who were applying to the same program as me.


So You Want to Be a Physician Assistant: Your Guide to a New Career by Beth Grivett, PA-C

This book was phenomenal in explaining what being a Physician Assistant is really about and what a typical day for a PA will be like. During my interview I felt that this prepared me to keep from appearing naïve about what I could expect as a practicing PA.


An Applicant’s Guide to Physician Assistant School and Practice by Erin L. Sherer, MPAS, PA-C, RD

Lots and lots of useful tips from start to finish on becoming a PA!


The Ultimate Guide to Getting into Physician Assistant School 3rd ed. by Andrew J. Rodican, PA-C

I don’t even know where to begin with how useful this book was. This book was actually what helped me the most in evaluating what I needed to do to make myself a strong candidate.


How to “Ace” the Physician Assistant School Interview by Andrew J. Rodican, PA-C

Read my first blog post here on why you would do so well with this little beauty in your arsenal.


Cliffs Quick Review Anatomy and Physiology by Phillip E. Pack, Ph.D.

I wanted to be ready for any unexpected questions thrown my way. Even though I am a nurse, I was surprised to find how much of my A&P I needed to brush up on. I read one chapter a day (anywhere from 7-14 pages) with a total of 20 chapters. The material was very easy to pick up as a refresher course. Although I loved the content of the chapters, I felt the quizzes at the end were pointless. They would only ask about 4 questions which doesn’t even nearly cover the amount of subject matter you read for the chapter. To better quiz myself, I went to this website: http://www.lrn.org/Content/Quizzes/Quizlist.html


Mosby’s Guide to Physical Examination, 6th ed. by Henry M. Seidel, MD; Jane W. Ball, RN, DrPH, CPNP, NAP; Joyce E. Dains, DrPH, JD, RN, FNP, BC, NAP; G. William Benedict, MD, PhD

This was actually the book I studied while shadowing a Physician Assistant. What I loved about this book was that it made me think like a care provider. I will share with you a few little tidbits out of this great resource:

  • Art and skill essential to history taking and physical examination. These are the bedrock of care.
  • Technologic resources are compliments
  • History and physical examination are inseparable, they are one
  • You are presumed an authority – this means you are in a position of strength while patients are in a state of vulnerability.
  • You must then understand their needs and their suffering. Not an easy task. (competence and compassion)
  • Must recognize subtle clues
  • Nonverbal attitude compliments words
  • Communication first means listening
  • Be an empathetic listener, and at the end an accurate recorder
  • Ethics does not provide answers; rather, it offers a disciplined approach to understanding and determining ultimate behavior

Actions I Took to Prepare

Based off of the resources above, I evaluated myself and determined what I need to work on and what I needed to do. These are the things I accomplished in no particular order:

  • Shadowed a PA
  • Maintained a competitive GPA
  • Gained volunteer experience
  • Completed needed school courses
  • Gained extensive, paid, hands-on patient care experience
  • Bought a suit for the interview
  • Became an affiliate member of AAPA
  • Kept up to date with PA profession by reading the magazines PA Professional and JAAPA
  • Researched the program I wanted to attend
  • Researched the history of the PA profession
  • Researched current events facing the PA profession today
  • Heavily participated on the website: physician-assistant-ed.com
  • Determined my goals as a PA
  • Determined my strengths and weaknesses
  • Practiced interview style questions
  • Completed a 1 hour mock interview
  • Made sure I could list why I wanted to be a PA forwards and backwards!

It was a lot of work, but it was worth it. I still remember as I walked away from my last interview how calm I felt. I knew that I had done everything I could do to prepare myself, and if I didn’t get in, it wasn’t because I didn’t do my best.

Preparation is key in a profession where the “Best” is expected. Good luck to each of you as you discover the “Best” within yourself!

Six Second ECG – Dynamic Cardiac Rhythm Simulator

December 3, 2011 in Clinical PAs, Current PAs, PA Educators, PA Students, Prospective PAs

Lately I’ve been working to build up our new Physician Assistant links and resources library feature. This morning I stumbled across this jewel of a link that helps students learn ECG rhythms (and helps clinicians review ECG rhythms). In a nutshell, it provides descriptions of several normal and abnormal cardiac rhythms, and challenges the student to identify them correctly. It also includes multiple options to customize the learning experience! Check out the video I put together demonstrating how it works:

Physician Assistant ED link library resource - cardia rhythm simulator

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by K'Lynda

Why Aren’t You Becoming a Nurse Practitioner?

December 2, 2011 in Prospective PAs

Physician Assistant ED - nurse practitioner versus physician assistant
“Why aren’t you becoming a nurse practitioner?”

As a registered nurse (RN), pursuing a degree as a PA, I knew I would get different forms of this same question time and time again. To answer that question effectively, I’ve always first listed similarities between the PA profession and the nurse practitioner (NP) profession:

1)      Both get to work with patients.

2)      Both can order diagnostic tests and treatments.

3)      Both provide patient education and can do referrals as needed.

4)      Both have prescription rights (within state guidelines).

5)      Both can assist in surgery.

6)      Both are rewarding careers.

7)      And just as a laugh… I’m sure they both have lots of paperwork to do.

From what I understand, there are only a few differences between the way that an NP practices and the way that a PA practices; and for me as a personal decision- it’s the small differences that make PA the better “fit” for me.

1)      PAs are dependent practitioners. NPs are capable of being independent practitioners.

Being independent or dependent upon a physician’s license are different approaches to achieving the same goal: affordable, quality care for patients. I have always envisioned myself as working as part of a team and so the PA path resonated with me as teamwork is a fundamental facet of being a PA.  I don’t view being “dependent” as demeaning in any sense. PAs have a specific amount of autonomy and are able to provide competent care with good patient outcomes.

As an interesting side note, according to The Permanente Journal, patient satisfaction does not depend on the type of provider, but rather on communication and style. Click here to read the article.

 2)      PAs are able to work in different specialties without additional schooling. NPs must be certified for each chosen specialty they work in.

I have to admit that being able to work in different areas in healthcare is part of what attracted me to being an RN to begin with. When I was in nursing school I had clinical rotations in geriatrics, pediatrics, maternity, psychiatric, newborn, wound care, operating room, emergency room, post-anesthesia care units, intensive care units, cardiac units, medical/surgical, catheterization laboratory, dialysis, physical therapy rehabilitation, and more. It was exciting for me to know that if I wanted to take my career in a new direction, I could specialize in a different area of nursing.

Now that I’ve decided that I want to be capable of doing more for my patients, the PA route allows me the freedom of changing between specialties as long as my supervising physician is in the same area of expertise. (For example, if a PA was interested in working in dermatology, his or her supervising physician would need to be a dermatologist.) Of course I’m not intending to say that I plan on bouncing around from specialty to specialty every couple of years, but I do like to keep my options open. My current goal is to work in primary care after I complete PA school. I feel like there is a real need in this area. Besides the high demand for primary care providers, primary care is such a vital component to patient well-being. It is here where preventative measures can make all the difference in a patient’s quality of life.

 3)      PAs practice the medical model. NPs practice the nursing model.

As a nurse, I have been trained in the nursing model. This method is considered a holistic approach to treating the patient, not just the disease process. I feel very comfortable with this model and would now like to expand my understanding into the medical model. I believe I will be able to take concepts from both models to give my patients the best care possible.

These are my own personal reasons for choosing to be a PA rather than an NP. For others, they will find that the NP route is the better choice for them. And there will be some that will decide ultimately they could not be happy unless they were physicians. That is for each to decide, and only you will know why only one of these professions speak to you.  I would invite each of you to really research each of these respectable professions and find the best “fit” for you!

NEW Links Libraries!

November 23, 2011 in Clinical PAs, Current PAs, PA Educators, PA Pals, PA Students, Prospective PAs

Some say we live in the information age. I believe this is true. However, I believe to this point we have only witnessed the early dawn of the information age. As we step further into the future, as processors become more powerful, as software becomes more user-friendly, and as innovators continue to make leaps in the way information is discovered and organized on the internet, we will see a profound increase in applicable information available at our fingertips!

There are SO MANY EXCELLENT resources available for those who find themselves in the physician assistant world, whether they be pre-PAs, students, educators, or clinicians. However, finding this information and assessing its worth takes a lot of time and energy. Furthermore, there is no great central location where these resources have been organized… until now!

A couple of months ago we conducted a survey of our members. One of the ideas we had for a new website feature was to create a “Links and Resource Library.” The survey clearly showed this would be a popular feature. Since that time, we’ve worked hard to develop the first version of this library. A few days ago a well-respected friend, PA clinician and educator, sent me a quick note: “David, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the links section!!! so incredibly useful!” I had a pre-PA student send me a note stating he got lost for hours because of how useful these resources were. So without further ado, I would like to introduce our newest feature. Take a moment to watch the video below and then tell me what you think! What do you like about the library? How can we make it better?

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by K'Lynda

“How to “Ace” the Physician Assistant School Interview” by Andrew J. Rodican, PA-C

October 24, 2011 in PA Pals, Prospective PAs

You can hardly believe your eyes. You are holding a letter with the words: “We are pleased to invite you to an interview with our physician assistant program. Please notify…You can barely read the rest of the letter because you are so excited! You’ve been invited to an interview! You know you stand a good chance of making it into the program of your choice… or do you? Your excitement slowly churns into anxiety. Only top notch candidates are left, and it’s likely that their passion burns as bright as your own. How could you possibly compare to the others? Let alone outshine the others?

Perhaps the author, Andrew J. Rodican, PA-C, could answer these questions among others in his latest book, How to “Ace” the Physician Assistant School Interview. He has interviewed countless PA hopefuls as a former member of the Yale University School of Medicine Physician Associate Program Admission Committee.

I was given the opportunity to review this book… and I definitely had a reason to give the material a real hard look. As a prospective physician assistant myself with my own letter of invitation, I stand in that very position of nervous excitement- anxiously awaiting, yet dreading, Judgment Day.

As I held his book in my hands, I contemplated what knowledge and tid-bits of information was needed to make-or-break a candidate at his or her interview. Would this book help a candidate:

Know what to expect at the interview?

Help the candidate feel more at ease and confident during the interview?

Make the candidate stand out from the crowd?

Know what type of questions the candidate will be asked?

And teach the candidate how to answer these questions?

1) What to expect: I felt that some of the anxiety of “not knowing” was taken away after reading. (Of course they do say that ignorance is bliss….)

  • He listed the different types of interviews (personal, group, and student) and how to approach each.
  • The top 5 mistakes of interviewees and how to avoid these pitfalls.

2) Be at ease and gain confidence: This was one of my biggest concerns that was addressed. In past interviews for job positions I have become so nervous that I have literally frozen up. I could feel my brain shut down as panic took over. Did Andrew J. Rodican, PA-C teach me how to avoid this? Yes, yes he did.

  • A very important tip was given on how to stop the panic attack dead in its tracks and how to quickly regain composure. (This one little piece of information is a true gem.)
  • Learn how to silence the inner critic.
  • What to do the 24 hours before your interview. (No, it’s not frantically pacing back and forth in your hotel room until you have worn a hole in the carpet.)

3) Stand out from the crowd: In a sea of candidates claiming, ”I want to be a PA,” the author gives good advice on how to draw the eyes of the admissions committee to you.

  • Develop your own unique selling proposition- what do you have to offer that other candidates don’t?
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the PA profession.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the institution’s PA program.
  • Demonstrate ‘soft’ skills besides ‘hard’ skills.

4) Types of questions: So here is the meat of the book. We all know that we will be asked questions at the multiple interviews we will be attending. We will be asked LOTS of questions. Well, this book asks 100 questions of its own! Each question in the book has 3 possible answers and the reader is to select the BEST answer. Andrew J. Rodican, PA-C then provides the explanation as to why a particular answer is the best. There are 5 types of questions addressed:

  • Traditional Questions
  • Behavioral Questions
  • Situational Questions
  • Ethical Questions
  • Illegal Questions

5) How to answer: Rodican states in his book, “The number one reason cited in my research for not recommending a candidate for a PA program is that he or she did not answer the interview questions effectively.” He then teaches the reader how to avoid this trap.

  • Explains the seperate components that should be evident in your answers.
  • Avoid being too wordy or going off on a long tangent.
  • Be sure to answer what the question asks.

Now that I have written how helpful the book has been, I have to admit that I had one little concern. There are two example questions asked about the nurse practitioner versus the physician assistant. The answer to one of the questions stated that the nurse practitioner was unable to prescribe medications. The answer to the other question stated that the physician assistant was higher in “hierarchy” to the nurse practitioner. After doing some investigation, it appears that this may just be an assumption as the nurse practitioner is able to prescribe medications; and only certain circles believe the physician assistant is higher than the nurse practitioner, while others believe that the nurse practitioner is higher than the physician assistant, while even others believe there is no hierarchy between the two at all.

My overall conclusion of the book, “How to ”Ace” the Physician Assistant School Interview” is that it is a must-have for any candidate who has been invited to a school interview. The resource is a valuable tool to those willing to utilize it!

*Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for PhysicianAssistantED.com

Being a Physician Assistant #9: Not Always Seeing the Rewards of Your Efforts

October 8, 2011 in PA Pals, Prospective PAs

This is the ninth post of a series to help you learn more about the physician assistant profession. My goal? Not to merely echo what you’ve already heard, but to delve deeper, so you can truly get a taste of what it means to be a physician assistant! If you’d like to start from the beginning, you can read the introductory post by clicking here.

There are many occupations where you see the rewards of your labors immediately. Medicine is oftentimes not one of them. Don’t ge me wrong. It’s rather rewarding to help a child with asthma breathe better or to relieve a young woman’s severe migraine pain, even before she’s left the office :) However, in several areas where we can have some of our greatest impact on society, the rewards are often imperceptible. What do I mean? Well, ours is the business of not wanting a lot of business.

Much of what we do, and what we should be doing better I might add, is… THERE’S MORE! Read the rest of this post for FREE! Register for a FREE account by clicking here. If you already have an account, log in by clicking here.

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:

Two Year Anniversary – Physician Assistant ED

September 26, 2011 in Current PAs, PA Educators, PA Pals, PA Students, Prospective PAs

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:



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 physicianassistanted@gmail.com or leave some comments below. Thanks for taking the time!

Critical Practitioner Skill – The Art of Listening

September 21, 2011 in Current PAs, PA Educators, PA Pals, PA Students, Prospective PAs

Are We Losing One of the Most Critical Skills We Need for Medicine?
I recently watched a TED Talk entitled “5 Ways to Listen Better,” which I’ve included below. It was very insightful. All health care providers (current and future) will benefit tremendously by paying careful attention to what Mr. Treasure has to say. One of the six core competencies of the PA profession is Interpersonal & Communication skills. I don’t believe there’s any skill falling beneath the umbrella of this competency more important than developing the art of listening. I challenge all who read these words to watch this talk and see if they can identify a few pearls of wisdom that can be applied to the the practice of medicine. Share what you’ve learned below in the comments section.