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First Year PA

My First PA Job Offer

Published January 11, 2013 10:49 AM by Harrison Reed

The airplane shuddered around me and somewhere in the back a baby began to cry. I looked out of the window, past the carpet of clouds to the countryside that rolled in every direction. The plane shook again, even harder this time, and a few rows away a man cursed. I couldn't help but smile; I always loved the turbulence.

A limousine driver 30,000 feet below waited to take me to a steak dinner at a lavish hotel where my accommodations, like the plane ticket, were compliments of one of the most prestigious hospitals in the world. The next morning, some of the nation's top medical professionals would work to convince me to join their team. It all seemed strange and overwhelming for the son of a single school teacher who had never made more than 10 dollars an hour.

But nothing about the last two years was typical. I had left my home state of Florida while the ink on my Bachelor's diploma was still wet. I entered PA school -and the foreign world of the Ivy League-and was told to learn a medical school curriculum in half the time. I grew up fast; I had to. The lessons of my first year blew by. Twelve months after I arrived I was shoved into the hospital where the drugs, the blood, the scalpels and the patients were real.

Be comfortable being uncomfortable. That was my Zen-like approach to the chaos. Each clinical rotation brought a new environment, new colleagues and new opportunities to learn. Of course, it also meant new challenges tailored to wreck that fragile student self-esteem. The start of every rotation was like the opening to the middle of a book everyone else had already read.

I leaned back into the airplane seat. My gray suit had been crisp and new three years ago when I traveled to my PA school interviews. Now the cuff of the left leg was ragged and there were moth holes in the pants and jacket. I hoped the hospital's top-brass wouldn't notice.

Sure, PA school was a challenge. But students have a security I never really appreciated until it was gone: the expectation of ignorance, of ineptitude and of constant mistakes. When my plane landed and I began shaking hands and answering questions, my potential employers wouldn't see me as a student. They would see a professional PA paid to do a job.

The plane rocked again. Even after a year of constant change, my biggest adjustment is still ahead. Yes, it is the greatest opportunity of my life. My mom would cry tears of joy, my brother would pat my back and my nephew would give me a little smile and eye-twinkle-the look of admiration that always kept me going.

Still, most sane people would be a little scared. A major shake-up is about to hit my life. But that's ok. I always loved the turbulence.

10 comments

OMG---YOU MUST PUT ALL OF THIS INTO A BOOK FORM.  WHAT A WAY TO GO.  I AM SO PROUD OF YOU AND YOUR AMBITIONS,YOUR ARTICULATION, AND THE EXPERIENCE THUS FAR  EXCEEDS MY YEARS AS A NURSE.  KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, BUT KEEP YOUR FAITH AS WELL. HOW VERY INTERESTING HOW YOU BROUGHT THAT INTO YOUR FIRST COMMENTARY.   %0d%0aGREAT JOB. YOUR GRANDMOTHER IN FLORIDA.

ROSE WALLEZE July 11, 2013 4:40 PM
MAITALLND FL

You missed your true calling! You should be writer. I enjoyed reading about your journey. Please consider using your PA education on a novel.

Roger McKee, Family - MSN,FNP-BC, VA January 24, 2013 11:33 PM
Mesa AZ

I look forward to hearing about your experience.  Be proud of your accomplishments and know that the real learning is just beginning!

Peter DiPiazza, , Director OhioHealth January 24, 2013 8:27 PM
Columbus OH

Good luck to you in your future endeavours. You have been very lucky.

R L, Urgent Care - FNP-C January 24, 2013 1:13 PM
AZ

Harrison, I see you graduated from the Yale Physician Associate program.  Since you earned the Physician Associate degree, I hope your SPs will be kind enough to call your their Physician Associate, not Physician Assistant.  You deserve that title and were in one of the few programs that still is called Physician Associate.  Assistant is for none of us.

Paula January 24, 2013 1:11 PM

I honestly envy the treatment u had ^^  None of hospitals in my area accept newgrad NP, especially we were required to do additional 520hours or 6 mth under provider's supervision to apply for furnishing# & DEA#.  Although, it is changing d/t SB1524, still many hospitals' jobs for NP/PAs require midlevel providers to have 1-2 years experience under their belt.

Still fresh in my memory how I was trying to get a job few months ago right after I got my license. Me: yes NP license, no exp, no furnish#, no DEA#, no board cert.  Employers: are you kidding me? I got two jobs anyway, but hey it was very challenging.  Thus, I envy the treatment u had.  Good luck to you ^^

Hengky L. Kartomedjo, Urgent Care - NP-C, SmartClinic / Corona Doctors January 24, 2013 10:25 AM
Los Angeles CA

What school did you go to Dan?? Ronco University??

T P January 24, 2013 9:34 AM

KK, Thank you very much. You will be able to read all about it here. In my experience the interview protocol varies by institution. I certainly think that PAs and NPs are high-caliber clinicians worthy of a thorough recruiting process and it seems the more forward-thinking institutions are willing to put in effort to attract the best candidates. But all of this is new to me and I am grateful for all of the opportunities I've been presented.

Harrison Reed January 11, 2013 1:49 PM

"Was told to learn a medical school curriculum in half the time." Please don't perpetuate this nonsense.

Dan, ICU - PA January 11, 2013 1:43 PM
IL

Wow!  Good luck to you, I'm anxious to hear how this works out for you.  I don't know what it's like to be courted so lavishly. Is this royal treatment common for PA's??

KK, Women's Health - Nurse Practitioner January 11, 2013 12:21 PM
WI

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