In light of National PA Week, I thought I would take a minute to talk about the “medicine” side of Medicine & Manicures. I actually started this blog as a way to document my time in physician assistant school, which has taken up a big chunk of my life the past two years. With only 65 days until graduation, the idea that I’ll soon be practicing medicine and seeing patients on my own is becoming so much more real! I cannot explain how happy I am that I chose this profession so I thought I would share the process on how I got here.
I originally had the idea of getting into the medical profession because of my mom, who was an oncologist when we were still living in Russia. My grandfather and uncle were also doctors over there, so I guess some of it came naturally. The first PA I ever saw was when I was 15 so I did a little research and thought hey, I could totally do that when I grow up! I was always interested in the sciences and medicine was intriguing. I knew I didn’t want to go the nurse route because I wanted to be the provider and have the chance to diagnose and treat. I also didn’t want to become a physician mostly because of the time spent in school… and residency.
Fast forward to college. I decided to major in biology so I could do something medical and PA school was always in the forefront of my mind. My grades were good, but not straight A’s and I didn’t have a lot of patient experience. That is one of the challenges of getting into PA school versus med school- programs typically want you to have anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 hands-on patient care hours. I knew I wanted to take a year off before applying so I wouldn’t get burnt out from school and so I could gain some more experience. I still remember to this day when I met with our pre-med advisor at UNC Charlotte. She looked at my transcript and told me that I had a “glimmer of hope” of getting into PA school. Still haunts me to this day. No words of encouragement or guidance, basically just telling me that I’ll never get in. Guess I showed her!
It took me two tries to get in (as it did many of my classmates) but I still remember the day when I got my acceptance email. Of course I cried tears of joy!! It was one of the happiest days of my life, finally knowing that all of my hard work had paid off. Like I have told you many times, PA school has been challenging (aka has pretty much taken over my life) but has also been so much fun. Way more fun than I expected. I think I have my awesome program and amazing roommates to thank for that. I can’t wait to feel all those feelings of happiness and accomplishment as I get my Master’s degree in Physician Assistant practice in just a few short months!
The entire first year gave me a baseline of knowledge. Countless medical conditions, physical exam skills, and medications were drilled into our heads. But the second year during clinical rotations is where we have gotten the chance to apply all that knowledge to real-life situations.
I love seeing patients on my own, getting their history, and trying to figure out what’s wrong with them. I’m also big on providing patient education, especially on preventative medicine. I can’t stress the importance of a yearly physical! I love the fact that I’m not going to have a “desk job” and that my career will provide variety to my workday. It is so crazy to think back to the day when I got my acceptance letter to Campbell University and today, in this moment, I’m sending out my CV and starting the job search. Please send some good vibes my way- going for and interview always makes me a little nervous… but super excited at the same time!
So there it is, my PA journey in a nutshell. It has been a long road but the best part is… I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! If you or anyone you know has any questions about getting into PA school or about the career in general, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read more about my experiences under the “All Things PA” tab at the top of my blog. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to hug a PA today!