Pre-PA Mentors and Mentees

I remember when I was deciding to become a PA.

I had already shadowed a few PAs in a local emergency department and pediatric surgery. After asking the PAs and the physicians if they could do it all over again, the PAs generally seemed happier with their choice. Of course, plenty of physicians enjoyed their career, but the flexibility, low debt, high income straight out of PA school really appealed to me. So, once I decided that was it, I was all in. I looked for Pre-PA groups on my college campus and there were none, so I helped start the University of South Florida’s Pre-PA Society (PPAS). We got a sponsor and laid the groundwork just before I graduated. The plan was to host things like PA school prep and interview workshops, networking skills, and to have PAs speak to the group, it’s done well and now they have plenty of members.

There wasn’t a lot of social media back then (2006- totally dating myself here) so my resources were pretty limited. I latched on to any PA who would talk to me. “Do you like what you do?” “If you could do it all over again, would you?” “How long was your PA Program?” “How many patient care hours did you have?” “Do you think I could get accepted to a great PA Program?”. I know I was obnoxious but I wanted to know everything there was and what to do next to become a PA.

These days, I assumed it was easier for the average Pre-PA to find a PA to ask questions to. There are tons of PAs on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media outlets.  There are podcasts, websites and lots of great resources about PAs. Most college campuses have a Pre-PA student association. In fact, I was involved in helping the University of Florida get theirs off their feet with some of my PA classmates. I just assumed all PA Associations would have someplace a Pre-PA could ask questions.

I was wrong. Some of the associations do have pre-pa resources, but not all. AAPA as an affiliate membership but you can’t join Huddle and request a mentor like PA students can.

The more I looked into it, Pre-PAs have very few places to ask questions, network, get shadowing hours, etc. PA Programs are getting more difficult to enter, and there are a million things you have to do to get there, many of which means you need at least 6 months (or more) of dedicated shadow or clinical hours in addition to the GRE, maintaining an excellent GPA, and taking pre-requisites courses.

My best solution to this was to create a Facebook group for Pre-PAs to find a mentor. Here Pre-PAs can ask questions, get advice and find local PA contacts. Busy PAs can be “mentors” just by answering questions and offering their advice. The link is below. If you are a practicing PA and want to be a mentor to Pre-PAs or if you are a Pre-PA who has a ton of questions, please check it out!

Also, I created a free PA Shadow Hours log for those that don’t mind signing up to our email list. Check out the links below 🙂

-C

The link for the facebook group is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PrePAmentorandmentees/

 

 

 

DOWNLOAD THE FREE PA SHADOW HOURS LOG HERE

Courtney
Physician Assistant, Owner and Blogger at EmpoweredPAs.com. Currently practicing in a Pediatric Emergency Department, overseeing and developing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines with teams of amazing people, supporting and mentoring Pre-PA and PA Students, with a hope to advance our profession and give PAs the tools and resouces they need to advance their careers.