Today I'm excited to share an interview with a PA-S2 (PA student, year 2)! Jamie attends the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center and she has graciously helped me in my process of applying and getting into PA school. Here she is to answer some questions about her journey.
1. How were you introduced to the PA profession? My interest in being a physician assistant started when I was in high school. At the time, I had two sisters in nursing school, so we were all learning about the medical profession and the different opportunities out there. I knew I wanted a graduate degree, and the physician assistant programs fit everything that I wanted in a career: caring for others, flexibility, *and less time in school, but don't say that in your interview.*
2. What type of direct patient care experience did you acquire and would you recommend that route to pre-pa students? I was an MA at a urology clinic, which gave me good exposure to issues like low T, kidney stones, and prostate cancer. However, since I was in a specialty clinic, my exposure to medicine was fairly limited. If I was going to recommend an ideal patient exposure for someone who is pre-PA, I'd recommend becoming a scribe in the ER, EMT, or nurse tech. All of these positions require training, but it will give you a leg up in your initial classes and with pharmacology.c
3. Why did you choose pick to apply to/accept admissions into the PA school you are in? I attend UNT HSC because it was the school I was accepted into 😉. I applied to 3 schools: OU, UT Southwestern, and UNT. Of those three, I interviewed at OU and UNT and was accepted at UNT. I really wanted to attend a school in Texas because that's where my family is, but I went to undergrad in Oklahoma, so OU was also a good option for me. I chose these three based on their national rankings, PANCE pass rates, and location.
4. Any tips or advice for pre-pa students interviewing right now?/Any questions you remember that tripped you up? I think my biggest mistake in interviewing was focusing too much on what the interviewers wanted me to say. You should be thoughtful in your answers, but not stiff and rehearsed. In my experience, the interviewers want to get to know you and connect with you, so don't let your nerves get the better of you (like I did). One question that did trip me up was when my interviewer (who is ex-army, fairly intimidating) asked me if I knew how to change a tire-- I do not.
5. What is your favorite part of PA school so far? What is your least favorite part of PA school so far? This may sound cheesy, but I love my classmates and I have so much respect for my faculty. PA school can be grueling, but it's such a relief to know that you've got a whole class behind you and faculty that want you to succeed. I'm incredibly grateful for being accepted into this program and to have this opportunity. That being said, I'd have to say my least favorite part of PA school has been pharmacology. Drugs are hard, and there's a lot you have to know about them.
6. Is there anything you've experienced that you didn't expect/prepare for? There's a lot about PA school that there's just no way to prepare for (like being in class for 6-8 hours every day), so just go in with an open mind, ready to work hard.
7. What specialty are you most interested in and why? Right now, I'm really interested in orthopedics and cardiology. They just make a lot of sense to me, and I'm really excited for those rotations.
Anymore burning questions that you want to ask a Physician Assistant Student? Leave them in the comments below! I'll be interviewing more PA students in the future.