How many shadowing hours for PA school | 2022

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How many shadowing hours for PA school: There are a few challenges that need to be conquered before you can make your goal of being an assistant in the medical field a reality. PA shadowing is one of the most crucial components of your application to PA school. Even if there are some schools that do not require you to have shadowing experience, it is highly suggested to give your application more strength.

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What is a physician assistant?

A physician assistant (PA) is a medical professional who works under the supervision of a licensed physician. As members of the teams that provide medical care, PAs:

  • consider one’s medical history,
  • Examine patients, as well as assess and cure them,
  • make diagnosis,
  • medication to be prescribed,
  • help out during the operation,
  • counsel patients and
  • carry out some simple operations.

Although a PA has substantial latitude in diagnosing and treating patients, the scope of a PA’s practice is determined by both the supervising physician and the laws of the state in which the PA works. PAs are licensed to work in a diverse range of medical settings and subspecialties.

How exactly does one go about becoming a physician assistant?

Physicians and PAs have comparable functions. They diagnose and treat patients, write prescriptions, and do some surgical procedures (though always under some sort of doctor supervision).

Considering the scope of their tasks, PA requirements are strict. Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) consists of 300 medical and surgical multiple-choice questions and lasts five hours.

You must also have a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from an ARC-PA-accredited school (ARC-PA). Some states, including New York, need a degree to take the PANCE exam.

Two- to three-year PA programs are available. Half of the time is spent on clinical rotations (around 2,000 hours) and the other half on classes like biology, policy, medicine, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills.

After the first two challenges, submit a licensing application to a state. Each state has different licensing requirements. In 20 states, including California and New Jersey, you must be co-signed by a doctor. Texas requires you to pass the Physician Assistant Jurisprudence Exam, which tests your medically relevant legal knowledge.

To keep your PA license current, you must maintain your education. To maintain your license, you must earn 100 hours of CME every two years and pass the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam every ten years.

Shadowing requirements needed for PA schools

Depending on the university or institution where you wish to pursue your PA education, the criteria for shadowing experience may differ.

Some institutions do not require but strongly encourage it, while others consider it a condition of your candidacy.

PA schools that require shadowing experience

Please keep in mind that the details presented here are subject to modification. Please browse the websites of each school for information that is both current and accurate to the best of your ability.

1. Alderson Broaddus University, WV:

Shadowing Experience: Required – minimum of 40 hours with a PA.

2. Augusta University, GA:

Shadowing Experience: Required – with a suggested minimum of 100 hours with at least 2 PAs.

3. Barry university, FL:

Shadowing Experience: Strongly required- volunteer work with direct patient care within a hospital or clinic is acceptable

4. Bay Path University, MA:

Shadowing Experience: Required – minimum of 24 hours with a PA.

5. Bethel University, TN:

Shadowing Experience: Required – minimum of 40 hours with a PA, 100 shadowing hours encouraged.

6. Chatham University, PA:

Shadowing Experience: Required – at least 32 hours of PA shadowing experience.

7. Concordia University, WI:

Shadowing Experience: Required – minimum of 24 hours with a PA.

8. Des Moines University, IA:

Shadowing Experience: Required

9. Elon University, NC:

Shadowing Experience: Required – at least 20 hours.

10. Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University, LA:

Shadowing Experience: Required

How many shadowing hours for PA school

There are not one set minimum amount of hours that all institutions that require PA shadowing experience require of their applicants. There are PA programs that demand as little as ten hours of shadowing, while others may ask for as much as 24 to 40 hours.

Other schools require students to perform shadowing experiences with two to three PAs working in a variety of practice settings before graduating.

It is essential to conduct research on the prerequisites necessary for participation in particular PA programs that are on your radar. Check to see if you need prior experience shadowing PAs or if it is strongly recommended.

Even if it isn’t, we strongly recommend that you observe a PA regardless, both to give yourself an advantage in the application process and to give yourself the opportunity to obtain a better understanding of the profession.

Why is PA shadowing important?

It doesn’t matter how much you read about the PA profession or how thoroughly you research medical topics in textbooks; unless you really have some hands-on experience in the field, you won’t have a good idea of what it’s going to be like to work as a physician assistant. You are aware of the common expression that “experience is the best teacher.”

Spending time in the setting in which a PA works will provide you with an insider’s perspective on the profession, a sense of what PAs do on a daily basis, and the opportunity to expand your knowledge of how to deal with patients and where to concentrate your efforts. You get the opportunity to question them about their practice as well as the profession they are in.

Observing a PA in action might also help to convince you to pursue a profession in the field of physician assistant. It helps you gain a deeper grasp of the field and assess whether or not it is a good fit for you, taking into consideration your interests, talents, and long-term ambitions.

It provides you with a glimpse into what you will be putting yourself into, and if your time spent shadowing a physician assistant sparks your interest in pursuing a career in the field, you can utilize that enthusiasm to propel you forward in PA school and achieve your full potential there.

How do you get PA shadowing experience?

The prerequisites for PA shadowing involve accompanying a PA throughout their working day and watching what they do in the course of their duties. Finding a PA to shadow is the first step in this process. This can be difficult, especially considering their hectic schedules.

In order to discover and obtain your PA shadowing mentor, follow the advice we’ve provided below, but in general, you may need to contact PAs by phone, email, or even in person at their clinics. Family members that work in the field might also be great mentors for you.

You can also conduct research on a possible internship or shadowing experience options by visiting medical facilities, regional hospitals, and clinics.

Another choice is to connect with local PAs by going to the state association for physician assistants. You may create a network of prospective PAs by inviting PA students to join as well.

Who should you be shadowing?

The majority of PA programs demand that your shadowing experience be completed during normal business hours with a practicing physician assistant. After all, your goal is to do what they do, thus seeing a personal assistant will provide you with important and pertinent information about the field into which you intend to enter.

However, it is also to your advantage to be familiar with other people in the healthcare field as well as you pursue your career.

It is highly advised that you observe the way in which physicians (MD) and nurse practitioners (NP) interact with physician assistants (PAs), as well as the ways in which their responsibilities differ from those of a physician assistant before you decide to become a PA.

While it’s possible that you don’t know what area of expertise you want to pursue just yet, you might want to think about observing other PAs that work in the subject that interests you.

PAs are employed in a variety of settings and can specialize in a wide range of medical subspecialties. Depending on your interests, you could want to see physician assistants working in one of the following specialties:

  • Endocrinology 
  • Pediatrics
  • Primary care
  • Urgent care 
  • Cardiology 
  • Emergency medicine

How do you improve the PA shadowing experience

i. Ask questions

ii. Aim for a quality shadowing experience

iii. Stay connected

Conclusion: How many shadowing hours for PA school

During the earliest stages of your journey toward becoming a PA, one of the most beneficial opportunities you’ll have is to shadow a PA.

In addition to making you a more competitive applicant for the physician assistant program of your choice, shadowing provides you with the opportunity to observe the setting in which you will work once you begin your practice and equips you with useful information that you can put to use during your time studying to become a physician assistant.

Make the most of your time observing a PA, and be grateful for the experience and the chance to grow.

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