If you wish to become a physician assistant, a powerful way to get a feel for the position is through shadowing a physician assistant (PA) while he or she works in the medical surroundings where they work. This will offer the knowledge you need to come up with a good, well-informed conclusion as to whether this work is suited to your ambitions.
How to find physician assistant to shadow
A good way to start shadowing a physician assistant is to drop by or call local health care facilities or doctors practices and ask if they would allow PA shadowing of one of their physician assistants. If the facility doesn’t allow PA shadowing, be sure to inquire whether they could direct you to a hospital or private practice that would allow you to shadow a Physician Assistant. Be aware of the fact that many healthcare facilities don’t allow students to shadow PA’s because of privacy concerns.
Second, connect with other pre-physician assistant candidates and current PA students. It’s possible that they could put you in touch with a practicing PA who would be open to letting you shadow him or her.
A third alternative is to volunteer at a health care facility where physician assistants are employed. This will give you the opportunity to meet some of the hospital staff which might later turn into the opportunity to shadow a PA. This can be doubly good because experience gained through volunteering often counts towards the work related experience hours you need in many PA programs.
A fourth way is to email or write your state’s Physician Assistant association. They might provide you with a list of physician assistants in your area who would be willing to allow a student to shadow them.
How to be a good shadow
There are some things you can do when shadowing a physician assistant which will keep you in good graces with your PA.
- Be punctual. Physician assistants are extremely busy people today. Always be prompt if you possibly can or at worst be on-time.
- Have on more comfortable footwear. Physician assistants stand a lot of the working day this means you should be able to walk around and stand plenty.
- When you show up to shadow a PA, Eat a smart breakfast in order that you will possess energy and endurance. PAs generally try to eat meals when an opportunity presents itself, therefore anticipate to go extended periods while not eating in any way.
- Don’t wear apparel that could be improper or even revealing. As a shadow, you’re not supposed to stand out so don’t wear something that would likely call attention to you.. And do not use perfume. A lot of health related facilities currently have regulations against fragrances because the chance that it could trigger allergic reactions.
- Be wary of where you position yourself.. If in case you have any doubt, question the Physician Assistant the place you really should stand and what would be most useful to them.
- Go along with the physician assistant to where ever he or she goes with the exception of, of course, the bathroom.
- Be quiet. Don’t disturb the PA with chit chat unless he or she initiates the discussion. Do not ever give any kind of insight unless requested. As described before, Physician Assistants are extremely busy. Even if you find yourself alone, your PA is likely thinking about patients. This is the PA’s time and not yours.
- Be sure to be polite. You are most likely going be working together with patients. They’re probably those that had a preceding history with the Physician Assistant and that trust her or him. Don’t forget that the patient is letting you compromise their privacy, so be respectful and polite. Here the PA may ask the patient before beginning the exam if it’s okay for you to be in the room during the consultation. If the patient says no, go out of the room and give them the needed privacy. Wait for your Physician Assistant to complete the examination. And don’t eavesdrop.
- When there’s time, you may ask questions. The PA might be open to providing answers to questions at the proper time, between examining patients, at meals or after the daily routine dies down a bit. First, ask and then wait for the appropriate time. One important thing to discuss with the PA is the physician assistant certification in your state. The PA knows you want to learn and that asking questions is a great way for you to do this. Just make sure that when you ask your questions, the time is appropriate.
Shadow more than one Physician Assistant
If possible, it’s good to shadow several PAs. Just like physicians, they’re different in their approach to patients, the way they handle exams and their bedside manners. There are also different health care specialties that use Physician assistants. By shadowing several different PAs, you’ll not only get a feeling for what it takes to do the job, you’ll be able to see how they handle their work emotionally. While shadowing a physician assistant you will be able to evaluate which specialty or type of medicine appeals to you most and reach a better long term career decision.