Category Archives: The PA Career

The Top 5 Reasons to Become a Physician Assistant

When considering a career in healthcare, there are plenty of options to choose from.  Most people assume 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. Read more »

How Can You Benefit From The EXCELL Pre Physician Assistant Clerkship?

If you’re interested in our Pre Physician Assistant Clerkship, check out our basic breakdown of the program.  It’ll give you a rundown of what the program has to offer, the different stages of the program, and what you can potentially gain by signing up.

Between the 200 hours of real-life patient experience, patient advocacy experience, the mentorship portion, online coursework, and mock interviews, you’ll be learning and growing rapidly over the course of this 16-week program, but do you have a good sense of what particular skills you’ll be developing?

Here’s a quick breakdown of our PA Clerkship program AND all of the great benefits each component provides!

Patent Advocacy Experience

  • What You Do
    • Act as a patient liaison, quality assurance team member, and healthcare team member
    • Deliver quality of life patient survey
    • Attend weekly directors meetings
  • How You Benefit
    • Develop skills in bedside manner
    • Develop patient interaction/interviewing skills
    • Gain real life experience in detecting and resolving patient quality of life issues
    • Earn hands-on experience as liaison between patients and staff
    • Gain experience creating plans of action and following through on them
    • Learn how to function as part of healthcare team

Physician Assistant Mentorship

  • What You Do
    • Shadow and be mentored by a working Physician Assistant
  • How You Benefit
    • Learn about the PA profession through direct observation
    • Observe interactions between a PA and their patients
    • Observe the collaboration between a PA and Physicians
    • Directly observe PA medical practice

Online Coursework

  • What You Do
    • 36 Didactic training modules in written communication and one on one verbal communication.
  • How You Benefit
    • Huge boost in communication skills for interacting with coworkers
    • Opportunity to hone communication skills with patients (aka your bedside manner)

Mock Interviews

  • What You Do
    • Participate in two videotaped mock interviews
    • Have your strengths and weaknesses evaluated by our interview panel
  • How You Benefit
    • Increased self-assessment skills
    • Highly develop your communication and critical thinking skills
    • Improved self confidence

Graduate Project

  • What You Do
    • Administer and assess Quality of Life Patient Survey
    • Present Plan of Action to faculty and administration
  • How You Benefit
    • Gain a sense of contribution to quality improvement

Improve presentation skills

Those are just a few of the benefits you’ll gain from choosing the EXCELL Pre PA Clerkship and Mentorship Program.  We also have shadowing opportunities all over New Jersey to better fit your location and schedule. No matter what level you may be starting from, the program is guaranteed to improve your confidence as well as the basic skills needed to ace any PA program interview.

Still not convinced?  Take a look at some of the testimonials from past EXCELL program graduates.

 

Set Yourself Apart with Unique Hands-On Patient Experience

During the EXCELL Pre Physician Clerkship Program, you’ll undergo a PA mentorship that includes both mentoring and shadowing experience. Not only does the program provide you with insight into the PA profession, you also get first-hand experience observing how PAs interact with patients, collaborate with physicians, and generally operate in their medical practice. In addition, you get to administer a Quality of Life Patient Survey and present a Plan of Action to your facility administration, giving you a sense on contribution to the quality of service for current and future patients.

If you think this unique, hands-on experience isn’t valuable, take a look at a past student’s recollections of their time in the program.  Read more »

How Well Do You Know Your Physician Assistant History?

How well do you know your Physician Assistant history? You may know enough of the bullet points to get through your interview, but will that may not be enough to get a good understanding of the profession.

To be able to effectively convey your reasons for wanting to become a physician assistant, it’s important to understand what a physician assistant does. If you don’t have a solid knowledge of where the profession came from, how it was founded, and how it grew to the point it is today, you’ll have a difficult time justifying why you want to become a physician assistant rather than a doctor or nurse practitioner. Read more »

10 Important Things to Consider Before Starting PA School

Picture this; you’ve been accepted to your top PA program. Your application and interviews are a distant memory, you’ve celebrated your acceptance, and the reality of starting school is starting to kick in.

Regardless of your previous academic or personal experiences, Physician Assistant school will be a new type of challenge you likely have not faced.  If you want to maximize your PA program experience, familiarize yourself with what you’ll be getting into (just like you did when you were preparing for your interviews). You probably already know you’ll be spending a lot of time studying, but there’s much more to doing well in PA school than hitting the books.

We’ve compiled the top 10 things pre-PA students should consider before starting their PA school journey. Read more »

Navigating the Ethics of Healthcare

Healthcare: Entitlement vs. Right

In an era where the face of healthcare is rapidly changing amidst an affordability crisis, the question on everyone’s mind is simple: is healthcare a right to all that live in our country? This question is difficult and goes into the entitlement vs. right debate. As a future physician assistant, you must bear in mind that it is our obligation as health care providers to provide care to everyone, giving them the best care possible.  That being said, we need to always make sure we act ethically and base our decisions around providing the best possible care without bringing our own biases or morals into play. Read more »

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.

Read more »

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.

Read more »

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 »

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