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First Year PA

The Quarterly Check-up

Published April 4, 2013 12:45 PM by Harrison Reed
We made it through one quarter of my first year as a physician assistant. Let's take this opportunity to reflect on some of the lessons learned during my first three months. It's sort of like your boss' 90-day evaluation, but without the sense of impending doom.

Transition is Tough - Whether you are moving into a new career or a new city (or both at the same time), the shift from student life to professional life is an imposing obstacle. Don't underestimate this task. Allow yourself enough time, resources and social support to pull off the big move to PA-C. Manage your expectations and mentally prepare for the inherent stress of a major life change.

Choose Carefully - Your first job is not just your gateway to the PA profession. It can determine the course of the rest of your career. Choose a job that fits your preferences and personality, offers challenges and learning opportunities, and creates a teaching-friendly environment for a new grad. A solid foundation now will launch a successful career.

Burn No Bridges - Every person you have met in the past is a potential friend, mentor or supporter. Keep your previous relationships strong even as you forge new ones. (Speaking of which, I need to thank everyone back at Yale who dropped what they were doing to help me with the state licensing process.) The PA profession is a small network, so work to keep all of the bonds you create.

Respect Your Elders - Pay attention to the experienced coworkers at your new job. Even if they don't have an official role in your training, they can provide useful insight and support as you orient to the new environment. And remember these moments when the next rookie shows up in a few years.

Thank you to everyone who has read and commented on this blog for the last three months. Coming up next quarter: I begin practice as a fully licensed PA, attend the national AAPA conference in Washington D.C. and plan my next international excursion. Stay tuned!

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