Physician assistant (PA) Career
Preparing for PA School
Getting Clinical Hours
- Medical Scribe - in my opinion, one of the best ways to get exposure and see real medicine and learn how to document
- EMT - direct patient care and great exposure
- Nursing assistant - direct patient care, although not necessarily the most pleasant tasks
- Shadowing - easiest to obtain, but many places don't consider this as "direct" patient care
Optimizing Your Skillset
- Learn another language - this is particularly valuable if you plan to work in an area with a lot of non-English speaking patients, and even more so if you have some time to kill before starting PA school. I wish I had solidified my Spanish before starting school and becoming a parent.
- Start familiarizing yourself with medical terminology and anatomy. Get an app, Quizlet, a book, whatever, and start skimming whenever you have a chance. I doubt you'll retain much but any exposure is helpful.
Preparing for PA Certification/Recertification
- Comprehensive Review for the Certification and Recertification of Physician Assistants by Claire Babcock - written by a former professor of mine, and like any review books, it has its +/- but overall, a decent book with some quiz questions to test your knowledge
- PANCE and PANRE Question Book by Dwayne Williams - SO. MANY. QUESTIONS. Great resource.
- PANCE Prep Pearls by Dwayne Williams - as someone who loves lists, I LOVE this book. Awesomely concise and well organized resource.
- Physician Assistant Board Review by James Van Rhee
- CME Resources
- CME 4 Life
- Certified Medical Educators
- AAPA CME Calendar - combines many of the above courses into one calendar, which is great
- I personally recommend Rutger's PANCE/PANRE Review Course, which also has an online alternative (I've done live and online versions, which are great, and I'm not just saying that because that's where I went to PA school)
Types of Recertification
- Traditional - sit down computerized exam, closed book and timed
- Pilot - two-year test that consists of 25 questions per quarter, open book but timed - I HIGHLY RECOMMEND! Questions are stressful but you can use whatever resources are available to you, and each set of questions only takes me 2-3 hours to finish
The are the best resources I've found in my experience in trauma, general surgery, and orthopedic surgery
- General Surgery:
- Surgical Recall by Blackbourne - great reference for surgical rotations or PAs new to surgery
- Netter's Surgical Anatomy Review PRN by Trelease - great for surgical conditions and some surgical approaches
- Netter's Surgical Anatomy and Approaches by Delaney - great for surgical approaches
- Dr. Pestana's Surgical Notes by Dr. Carlos Pestana
- Trauma Surgery:
- Orthopedic Surgery:
- Medical Texts:
- Medical Spanish:
Continuing Medical Education (CME)
Professional Organization Memberships
- State Society of Physician Assistants (New York, for example)
- Specialty-specific - they often have CME resources within that field, as well
- UpToDate - all you need, in my opinion. Use it as your daily go-to for questions you have about your practice, and you'll probably have all the credits you need by the time you need them. Find out if your organization gives it for free! (many do)
- Audio Digest - expensive, but if you have CME funds to burn, this is the way to go. You can also get a hefty gift card out of the deal!
- AAPA CME On Demand - all of their in-person conferences in digitized form; I've done this several times and loved it
- PANCE/PANRE Review Courses (see "Preparing for PA Certification/Recertification: Review Courses" above)
- Generalized PA Conferences (AAPA, etc)
- CME Cruises - I haven't done this yet, but can't wait to!
- Wilderness Medicine Courses - get your dose of outdoor activities mixed in with learning some cool medicine
- CME "Vacations" - turn any trip into a "CME trip"; may need to get approval from your employer on this one
- American Heart Association (AHA)
- American College of Surgeon's Advanced Trauma Life Support
- NCCPA Certification of Added Qualification (CAQ) - a great opportunity for specialized PAs to add to their resume. I did the orthopedic CAQ and learned so much while studying for it. Currently available for:
- Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
- Emergency Medicine
- Hospital Medicine
- Orthopedic Surgery
- Medical Spanish
For those of you who need to burn CME funds and don't need anymore actual CME credits. Not all employers will cover equipment, though, so be sure to check first.
- Work shoes - if I'm in scrubs, I'm in crocs! By far the most comfortable shoe for lots of standing/walking. I've used Danskos and get foot and back pain after a while.
- Lab coat
- Medelita - sells more than just lab coats, but these definitely seem to be their forte. I did try their scrub jacket and found them to be too long for me (I'm rather short).
- Lead apron, glasses - I liked ZZMedical
- Technology - iPad, Surface with or without Surface Pen, etc