Category Archives: The PA Career

The 5 Most Important Leadership Qualities for a PA

PAs are in a unique position in that they must act as both leader and team player depending on the situation.  Many PAs will find themselves needing to step up in the moment and lead a team without a second thought while still maintaining a “group effort” mentality.  If you don’t have the ability to work well in both roles, you may find yourself unable to keep up with the professional demands of the job. Read more »

Working Through Constructive Criticism

Whether it’s been at work, school, or in a personal setting, all of us have received constructive criticism at some point.  Constructive criticism is a type of evaluation that involves both positive and negative feedback.  While this type of feedback is typically used to help improve the recipient and to encourage personal or professional growth, it has the potential to cause a negative reaction.

It’s important for physician assistants to have the ability to receive constructive criticism graciously. You can be sure that a physician assistant will receive plenty of constructive criticism over time, especially in the early part of their career.  In some ways, it’s the nature of the profession, but it can also be the nature of practicing medicine as there’s always more to learn and there will seemingly always be someone more knowledgeable than you.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of constructive criticism, how can you work through it in an affective and tactful way?  Framing your criticism positively is arguably the easiest way because, if you think about it, most constructive criticism already includes at least one “positive” you can focus on.  For example, if you keep making the same mistake but it’s coming from a place of good intentions, reassure yourself that your intentions and motivations are the “positive” but you need to change the actions you’re taking to help improve the “negative”.   This will allow you to focus on the steps needed to correct your actions rather than turning inwards and questioning yourself.

There are two phrases that should never come out of your mouth- “I can’t” and “I know”.  Saying “I can’t” is extremely detrimental psychologically to a person who hopes to pursue a career in medicine.  The rigors of the education alone require an extremely positive attitude to achieve success.  Similarly, saying “I know” makes you seem like a know-it-all while not actually acknowledging the things that may need improvement.  If you respond to every critique with “I know”, you come across as arrogant, disinterested, and closed minded.  If you’re perceived as a closed off person, you could inadvertently lose some important opportunities for growth and personal improvement.

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How to Demonstrate Professional Integrity During Your PA School Interview

During the PA school interview process, you will be asked a handful of ethical questions.  These questions are designed to evaluate your professional and academic integrity, as well as your sense of morality.  These questions are a way to see how you would react in situations that challenge your ethical standards, and generally place you in an uncomfortable scenario.  In these scenarios, you’ll likely have to balance your emotional response, moral code, and understanding of what a PA can and cannot do when providing care.

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Weighing Your Options: PA or MD?

If you’re interested in working in the medical field, you may be overwhelmed with the number of different positions and job titles available.  Many people assume that they need to be a Medical Doctor in order to make a great living as a medical professional, but the MD path may not be right for everyone. Trying to get a sense of which career path suits you can be difficult, so we’ve pinpointed the finer points of each profession. Take a look below to see the pros and cons of becoming a Physician Assistant vs. a Medical Doctor. Read more »

What Really Motivates You To Become a PA?

If you’re going to convey honesty and transparency in your PA school personal narrative, it’s crucial to understand what motivates you.  It’s unlikely that your interview panel will directly ask what motivates you, but they may ask about the reasons you chose to become a PA.  If you’re just looking for notoriety, a decent salary, or for the opportunity to “help people” your motives will undoubtedly be questioned.

To present your story most effectively in your narrative and at the interview, it’s imperative that you know yourself it the context of what motivates you.  There are six major motivating factors and most people are influenced by two or three of these.  Here’s a breakdown of each factor.

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Finding Shadowing and Patient Contact Experience for PA School

Let’s face it- finding patient contact experience can be hard if you don’t know where to look. Patient contact experience often comes from shadowing working Physician Assistants, so if you don’t already have access to patient contact experience, finding and securing a shadowing opportunity is very important.

As you may know (and will learn soon enough), PAs are very busy – but don’t be discouraged by their intimidating schedule.  The overwhelming majority of PAs really love talking about their profession and answering questions because they love what they do!  The trick to gaining shadowing experience is just finding a time when they can talk and taking it from there.  So how do you go about finding a PA to shadow?

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Get Stressed Easily? Try the STAR Technique To Reduce Stress!

STAR technique to reduce stressNothing reduces stress like being well prepared ahead of time- there’s just no replacement for this.  That being said, stressful situations can affect even the most prepared person.  If you’re easily susceptible to stress or have a hard time getting control of your nerves, the STAR technique can help.  When used properly, this simple technique can target the root of your stress and obliterate it. Read more »

The Top 5 Reasons to Become a Physician Assistant

When considering a career in healthcare, there are plenty of options to choose from. The general population assumes that becoming a doctor is the best option for working in medicine purely based on their high rate of pay, but this simply isn’t true. If that logic were applied to other fields of work, we’d have a surplus of architects and no carpenters, or an abundance of chefs and no farmers.

Becoming a PA is a rewarding way to provide hands on patient care without many of the barriers MDs face along the way. Don’t believe us? Here are just 5 of the countless reasons why becoming a PA could be a great fit for you.

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Why Do You Want To Become A PA?

We’ve covered a lot of the most common questions that you’ll face during your interview, but one stands out above the rest. Without any doubt, you’ll be asked why you want to become a PA. It makes sense that this is one of the most important questions you’ll need to answer because it gets to the root of who you are, shows what motivates you, and provides a window into the past experiences that have shaped your decision making up until this point in your life.

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What to Look For in a PA Program

When choosing the best PA program for you, it may be hard to weed through all the choices. The stress of figuring out which programs you’re a strong candidate for may obscure the fact that you should be looking for the right school that fits your needs. If you’re too focused on being a perfect applicant, you may end up applying to a program that doesn’t end up serving your best interests.

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