Many PA students struggle with one of the first steps necessary to make this dream come true.
This challenge can include finding a mentor to oversee the Physician Assistance program. That is why it is important to understand what physician assistant shadowing is all about.
However, knowing how to best find a PA mentor or understanding how to shade a PA doesn’t have to be difficult.
Many families urge their children to go to college without guidance on choosing a career. This is why so many students end up in programs that do not lead to a well-paid job, or join the workforce after graduation to find that they dislike the career they have chosen.
Unfortunately, these people have only spent years and tens of thousands of dollars to get into this area, only to find that it is not the right choice for them.
Physician Assistant Shadowing
Many pre-PA students talk about how difficult it is to find a Physician Assistant who is ready to look after them. It undoubtedly requires some footwork, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Knowing the secrets will make it much easier to find a PA mentor.
The vast majority of Physician Assistants would like to act as your mentor. Most PAs love what they do and want to share it with someone considering becoming a PA.
You dream of nothing other than being able to take someone like you under your wing.
The PAs work continuously during the clock. The average PA sees 70-80 patients a week and their days are never boring. You move from patient to patient and do the following:
- Acute care
- Diagnostic test
- Care coordination
- Education and counseling for patients and families
- EMR management (Electronic Medical Records)
- Fill out forms
As you can see, it is the right kind of business for someone who loves people and health. However, there is not much room for anything else at work.
When it is time to actually shade a Physician Assistant, there is definitely a right way to do it. First, know the four cardinal rules.
Cardinal rules for shadowing a PA
- Be professional; The first impression is sustainable.
- Stay out of the way; PAs are busy people.
- Learn everything you can; Shadow is a great opportunity.
- Be grateful; They take time for you.
Why PA Shadowing is Important
PA shadowing is an important step that all pre-PA students should take to ensure that becoming a Physician Assistant is the right career path for them.
For the right pre-PA student, shadowing the PA before entering school will confirm that this is the rewarding career they are looking for. For someone who is not ready to be a PA, shadowing will reveal that truth to them.
Even if PA shadowing is not required for your specific program, you should shade a Physician Assistant for at least 2-3 days. If you’re already in PA school and haven’t done any PA shadowing, you may need to complete this process to meet the graduation requirements. In this case, this guide is also for you.
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What Do I Need to Know When Shadowing a PA?
In order to shade a physician’s assistant, one has to understand his perspective.
You have to see that you are:
- Can calmly observe, help if necessary and ask questions later
- eager to learn
This guide to finding a mentor for Physician Assistants is about demonstrating these traits.
How Do I Get into the PA Shadowing Mentorship?
Use these tips to quickly find the right PA mentor for you.
#1. Invest in yourself
If you’re looking for shadows, first you need to make sure you look like this. Even if you have a limited budget, you have to look presentable. Achieving this does not mean buying an expensive suit.
New clothes not only look good, they can also boost your self-confidence. This trust can help you take the opportunity to shadow a Physician Assistant.
Some people have hair that falls into place. If you don’t, you should have it professionally cut or styled. And don’t forget to look at your shoes.
#2. Do Your Homework
Those who want to enter the PA profession need to know how to research and navigate online. As a PA student, you will often do this.
Get online to learn more about medical facilities in your area. You need to know if they are:
- Employ PAs
- Have a formal PA shadowing program
- Are open to PA shadows
- You can find this on the pages “About us” or “Our employees”
#3. Find out if they have a shadow program
If an institution already has a PA program, you’re in luck. You may need to apply online. Don’t assume that a facility without a formal mentoring program would not be happy to help you explore this rewarding career.
When medical institutions offer a formal program, you may have to wait for an opening to appear on a list. If you announced that you are a mentor, this list could be longer. Anyone who goes the easy way to find a PA mentor will be on this list.
#4. Search for “Similarities”
You will find employee bios as you research. Search them. You may have something in common with a Physician Assistant or receptionist. This common ground could be your way into the door.
Look for things like:
- Military service if you were also in the military
- Same primary school or even high school
- Similar interests or passions
#5. Go for a good fit
So early in your career, you may not know enough about healthcare experience to select a particular subject. But do you have an idea?
In this case, it makes sense to shade a doctor’s assistant who plays the same role or works in a similar environment. This way you can see what your daily routine could look like as a PA.
If the options in your area are limited, you may not have this luxury. But if you have options, definitely explore them.
#5. Show Up
Don’t call. Do not text. No email. Do not send a message on social media. Just show yourself. Because the medical facilities are so full, appearing in person is the only way not to get brushed off.
#6. Come Bringing Gifts
If you were a pharmaceutical representative or an insurance agent, people could mistake gifts. It could even be unethical. But you are a pre-PA student, so you get a passport. Use it.
Bring a gift, whether you’re trying to get past the front desk or talking to the PA. Something from a trendy local café works great. You don’t have to spend a lot
Here the thought counts. You still made a good impression.
#7. Have an Answer For Rejection
We have already noticed that healthcare professionals are busy people. You will be rejected. But it helps to prepare an answer.
This is because in many contexts “No means No”, but in this case what appears to be a solid “No” can be a minor objection that you can overcome.
The person you talk to first is usually not the decision-maker. You need strategies to get past the PA.
#8. Show them you rock
Just because you haven’t started PA school yet doesn’t mean you can’t start studying. There are many ways for a Physician Assistant to demonstrate to the doctor that he takes patient care and compliance seriously.
Take an online or personal course on:
- Medical coding
It doesn’t have to be a certification or credit course. Anything that shows that you are eager to learn can help. In addition, you will likely need to take a similar course for your study requirements.
#9. Position yourself on your radar
In an environment where it is difficult to find a Physician Assistant program, you may need to position yourself. Be in the right place at the right time.
Many people who start at the front desk later become PAs. If you are interested in becoming a PA, look for a job somewhere where they have PAs.
This strategy may not only offer you an excellent job while at school but may also provide you with sufficient resources at the beginning of class.
#10. Volunteer to Work
You should volunteer for several hours before asking about mentoring. Avoid having an agenda. In addition, to help, you may find your PA mentor.
Getting into a PA school is very competitive. Volunteering can give you a competitive advantage in the application process.
In addition, many recruiters will ask about your volunteering. You want to hire compassionate, socially conscious people.
It’s hard to reject someone who volunteers for your facility. Use this option to gain medical experience.
Look for volunteer opportunities in facilities where PAs work, such as:
- An emergency room
- Free clinic
- Medical practice in an underserved community
- Medical mission program
#11. Know your PA shadowing goals
Anyone who successfully lands a shadow experience knows what they want to achieve.
Be ready to answer questions such as:
- Why do you want to become a PA?
- What do you hope for when you shadow a physician assistant?
These help a PA get an insight into whether they want to look after you and whether you understand how to shade a PA.
#12. Get a Letter of Recommendation
You don’t have a resume yet as a Physician Assistant, but a letter of recommendation can help you find a PA shadowing opportunity.
Consider a letter from:
- A former employer
- A bachelor professor
- Where You volunteered
Make copies and have them ready to hand in with your application or, if necessary.
#13. Start small
Large health systems may appear to have all the resources in the world. But often it is those with bureaucracy and tires that you can jump through.
Due to the HIPAA regulations, PA shadowing may not be permitted, or it may take months before a program is created. Small or rural offices and facilities are often more open to shade.
So look beyond the city. You may need to grow small to complete shading faster and set off on a rewarding career.
How To Shadow A PA
It is important that you know how to shade a PA and how to make the most of your time.
- Before shadowing a physician Assistant, check with the PA that you will be watching when and how long you will come to them. Ask where it would be most convenient for them to meet you.
- Find out if you need a special hospital or clinic permit. Some settings require that you sign a HIPPA confidentiality agreement because you are exposed to the Protected Health Information (PHI) of individuals.
- Think for a while about the big questions you have about PA. Write them down, bring them with you and make sure you answer them.
- Wear appropriate professional clothing (no jeans of any kind!). Men: khakis with a shirt with a collar and buttons without a tie. Women: pants or skirt and blouse without heels. Note: If you shade a doctor’s assistant in an emergency room, things are looser (but still not jeans).
- If you have a stethoscope, leave it at home. If there is an opportunity to listen to a patient’s lungs or heart, someone will let you use a patient’s lungs or heart. They are not there to treat patients but to learn more about the work of the PAs.
- Show up early; punctual is late. If you arrive early, you have time to orient yourself, use the toilet, meet the staff and settle down. It also shows your motivation.
- Introduce yourself and be kind to everyone you meet.
- Write down questions about your observations with a pen and notebook. Do not write while you are with patients and do not write private information about patients.
- Stay out of the way and do not touch patients unless you are specifically asked to do so.
- Avoid talking too much. All PAs are different and you have to play them by ear. But if you have any doubts, keep in mind the old saying: there is a good reason why we all have two eyes and two ears, but only one mouth.
- If you are shadowing a Physician Assistant, questions are fine, but avoid bothering your PA with them. Save them for between patients or until asked if you have any.
- Be yourself and don’t try to impress someone. It is natural that you want to appear competent and competent, but you don’t have to. If you feel like you have to show that you are not an idiot, ask a question that shows that you are thinking about what you see.
- If you can be helpful, do so. Getting little things like a dress or finding a Physician Assistant when needed is always appreciated.
- If you have a chance, two good questions are: “What do you love about your work?” and “What part of your work could you do without?”
- When things get hectic, sit back and be understanding.
- There will be times when you are not sure what to do. You could feel like a “fifth wheel”. That’s okay. These are good times to write down questions and make observations.
- Before you go, thank the clinician and shake hands. They did you a great favor.
- Send a short thank you letter (no email) a day or two after shadowing a Physician Assistant. Consider including a $ 10 gift card for Starbucks or iTunes (iTunes is ideal if you’re using an iPhone while at work).
- Keep the PA you followed up to date on your progress. If you come to school, you should let them know. If you do this, there might even be a prescription or a job for you.
- Keep an eye on the time and place for your shadow experiences. Some schools accept these as contact hours for patients. If not, they still count as “Health Care Shadowing” in your CASPA application.
- If you are shadowing a Physician Assistant who is not particularly helpful or interesting, do not be discouraged. Find others to shade – it gives you a broader experience of the field.
Shadowing a Physician Assistant – FAQs
Contact your local, regional, or state PA chapter for insight and guidance (here is an interactive map I developed to help you).
Ask to attend one of their meetings and personally seek out a PA to shadow. Go to a local clinic, urgent care, or hospital. Search online for medical facilities in your region.
Create a list of medical specialties that interest you. We know, it’s crazy early to be deciding on the rest of your medical career with hardly any knowledge. …
Try shadowing your family doctor.
Once you have a connection, ask.
Enjoy the clinical experience.
Send a thank you note.
Start with the first person on your list and work your way down until someone agrees to an informational interview or job shadow. It shouldn’t take too many tries if you do it right. The trick is to be brief, polite, and straightforward
Shadowing a Physician Assistant means being open to the experience. Don’t worry if it turns out differently than expected. That’s the whole point of shadowing – to see what it’s really like to work as a PA.
- linkpas.com › pa-shadowing
- www.thepalife.com › finding-a-physician-assistant-mentor
- medgeeks.co › articles › shadowing-a-pa
- www.brighamandwomens.org › medical-professionals › physician-ass…
- www.findlay.edu › health-professions › physician-assistant-ma › reco…
- www.mypatraining.com › Become a PA › Shadowingtraffic (us)