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The truth about PA school

The truth about PA school Downloaded from https://pdfs.journals.lww.com/jaapa by BhDMf5ePHKZxZb3ruX4b9cKfbT5h3bp+v9gTtSlrchDWvVTxyN8Hif2P/rPZfAxb8td684/2m6Qj/1S0ZObgiiKJ9vD64yNdY1wI1G/v4gN3ti1fujtTJsg5898WZFuC on 02/23/2019 BECOMING A PA Kathleen Di Simone, MS, PA-C ever in my life did I think I could take 19 classes You learn that confi dence is a spectrum, not a set point. in one semester. But in PA school, I did. (OK, Some show it sooner or easier than others. But for most, Nthey were modules—but classes nonetheless.) confi dence takes time and experience. Wherever you fall It took me until my late 20s to attempt a medical educa- on this spectrum, your place in it will change over time. tion. I switched between science and the arts when I was You control this, all with your own decisions. younger, always thinking I didn’t have the endurance to You also learn that there will always be someone who complete a science degree. PA school takes a massive knows more answers than you, who gets higher grades amount of endurance. It takes ALL the endurance you can than you, and who is calmer, more graceful, or more giv- muster ... and then more. ing. You learn that with all your hardships, the classmate When you start the program, you hear about how hard next to you is also dealing with a death in the family, a it will be, that it is 4 years of medical school reworked into breakup, or some hellish life event just like yours. (for my specifi c school) just under 3 years. You hear about You learn that large groups of people always branch off sacrifi ce, missing weddings, birthdays, friends, and family. into smaller groups because they can’t help it. You learn You hear about how you are entering an academic boot to avoid gossip, and not let people’s judgments distract camp, a labyrinth of all-nighters and incessant exams. PA you. You learn that complaining can bring people down— school, so they said, is a marathon that will push your and other times, it makes them feel less alone. You learn brain beyond its limits. (And they were right.) that doing things the hard way isn’t always the best way, But that isn’t what I want to tell you about here. What but that doing things honorably is. I want to tell you about is everything you learn—through You learn the value of telling the truth, being effi cient, your actions or the actions of others—outside of medicine. and believing that you can work out a problem. You learn You learn how to interact with classmates and faculty on rotations that these practices make outstanding PAs. under extreme pressure. You learn to forgive other peo- PA school teaches you so many things. You leave having ple for how they interact under pressure. And if you’re to know the intricate workings and downfalls of every lucky, you learn that others can forgive you, too. You single body system. You leave prepared to care for and learn humility, how to accept when you’re wrong, how save human lives, from diagnosis to surgery. You leave to own up to your shortcomings, and how to overcome with knowledge, much more than when you started. But them. perhaps most importantly, you leave with wisdom. You learn about weakness and strength, and about how As you study and take your exams, I want you to the two are not necessarily a measure of character but just remember this. Wisdom is not a number, a pass or a fail. different states of mind. Sometimes, strength actually looks It is not the highest grade in the class, or how broad or like weakness. And for those times when you judge a book in depth is your memory of each medical specialty. by its cover: weakness can look like strength. Wisdom is not academic, not intelligence, not measured In retrospect (ah, retrospect), sometimes you learn that as IQ. Wisdom is the result of navigating PA school itself, you could have done more, worked harder, or given it one with all its great triumphs and tremendous sadness, the more try. And as disappointing as that realization can be fear of failure and not being able to make the path to ... it will one day help you to save someone’s life. graduation. Most of all, this wisdom comes from your You learn that you can persevere for longer than you emotional intelligence, your understanding of people. thought you could. And you can do this through frustra- This understanding is the pillar of who you are; it is the tion, sickness, letdowns, and uncertainty. pillar of a PA. That’s the truth about PA school. If you’re like me, you Kathleen Di Simone wrote this as a student in the Touro College won’t get all of these things mastered before graduation. Manhattan PA Program in New York City. She now practices emergency I’m still learning and relearning many of them. I’d tell you medicine. that when you take on PA school, be sure you can handle Tanya Gregory, PhD, department editor it. But I wasn’t always sure I could handle it. I was only DOI:10.1097/01.JAA.0000527699.06536.ea sure of one thing: that I wanted to. Copyright © 2018 American Academy of Physician Assistants Somehow, that was enough. JAAPA www.JAAPA.com Volume 31 � Number 1 � January 2018 Copyright © 2018 American Academy of Physician Assistants Downloaded from https://pdfs.journals.lww.com/jaapa by BhDMf5ePHKZxZb3ruX4b9cKfbT5h3bp+v9gTtSlrchDWvVTxyN8Hif2P/rPZfAxb8td684/2m6Qj/1S0ZObgiiKJ9vD64yNdY1wI1G/v4gN3ti1fujtTJsg5898WZFuC on 02/23/2019 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the American Academy of PAs Wolters Kluwer Health

The truth about PA school

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Wolters Kluwer Health
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1547-1896
eISSN
0893-7400
DOI
10.1097/01.JAA.0000527699.06536.ea
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Abstract

Downloaded from https://pdfs.journals.lww.com/jaapa by BhDMf5ePHKZxZb3ruX4b9cKfbT5h3bp+v9gTtSlrchDWvVTxyN8Hif2P/rPZfAxb8td684/2m6Qj/1S0ZObgiiKJ9vD64yNdY1wI1G/v4gN3ti1fujtTJsg5898WZFuC on 02/23/2019 BECOMING A PA Kathleen Di Simone, MS, PA-C ever in my life did I think I could take 19 classes You learn that confi dence is a spectrum, not a set point. in one semester. But in PA school, I did. (OK, Some show it sooner or easier than others. But for most, Nthey were modules—but classes nonetheless.) confi dence takes time and experience. Wherever you fall It took me until my late 20s to attempt a medical educa- on this spectrum, your place in it will change over time. tion. I switched between science and the arts when I was You control this, all with your own decisions. younger, always thinking I didn’t have the endurance to You also learn that there will always be someone who complete a science degree. PA school takes a massive knows more answers than you, who gets higher grades amount of endurance. It takes ALL the endurance you can than you, and who is calmer, more graceful, or more giv- muster ... and then more. ing. You learn that with all your hardships, the classmate When you start the program, you hear about how hard next to you is also dealing with a death in the family, a it will be, that it is 4 years of medical school reworked into breakup, or some hellish life event just like yours. (for my specifi c school) just under 3 years. You hear about You learn that large groups of people always branch off sacrifi ce, missing weddings, birthdays, friends, and family. into smaller groups because they can’t help it. You learn You hear about how you are entering an academic boot to avoid gossip, and not let people’s judgments distract camp, a labyrinth of all-nighters and incessant exams. PA you. You learn that complaining can bring people down— school, so they said, is a marathon that will push your and other times, it makes them feel less alone. You learn brain beyond its limits. (And they were right.) that doing things the hard way isn’t always the best way, But that isn’t what I want to tell you about here. What but that doing things honorably is. I want to tell you about is everything you learn—through You learn the value of telling the truth, being effi cient, your actions or the actions of others—outside of medicine. and believing that you can work out a problem. You learn You learn how to interact with classmates and faculty on rotations that these practices make outstanding PAs. under extreme pressure. You learn to forgive other peo- PA school teaches you so many things. You leave having ple for how they interact under pressure. And if you’re to know the intricate workings and downfalls of every lucky, you learn that others can forgive you, too. You single body system. You leave prepared to care for and learn humility, how to accept when you’re wrong, how save human lives, from diagnosis to surgery. You leave to own up to your shortcomings, and how to overcome with knowledge, much more than when you started. But them. perhaps most importantly, you leave with wisdom. You learn about weakness and strength, and about how As you study and take your exams, I want you to the two are not necessarily a measure of character but just remember this. Wisdom is not a number, a pass or a fail. different states of mind. Sometimes, strength actually looks It is not the highest grade in the class, or how broad or like weakness. And for those times when you judge a book in depth is your memory of each medical specialty. by its cover: weakness can look like strength. Wisdom is not academic, not intelligence, not measured In retrospect (ah, retrospect), sometimes you learn that as IQ. Wisdom is the result of navigating PA school itself, you could have done more, worked harder, or given it one with all its great triumphs and tremendous sadness, the more try. And as disappointing as that realization can be fear of failure and not being able to make the path to ... it will one day help you to save someone’s life. graduation. Most of all, this wisdom comes from your You learn that you can persevere for longer than you emotional intelligence, your understanding of people. thought you could. And you can do this through frustra- This understanding is the pillar of who you are; it is the tion, sickness, letdowns, and uncertainty. pillar of a PA. That’s the truth about PA school. If you’re like me, you Kathleen Di Simone wrote this as a student in the Touro College won’t get all of these things mastered before graduation. Manhattan PA Program in New York City. She now practices emergency I’m still learning and relearning many of them. I’d tell you medicine. that when you take on PA school, be sure you can handle Tanya Gregory, PhD, department editor it. But I wasn’t always sure I could handle it. I was only DOI:10.1097/01.JAA.0000527699.06536.ea sure of one thing: that I wanted to. Copyright © 2018 American Academy of Physician Assistants Somehow, that was enough. JAAPA www.JAAPA.com Volume 31 � Number 1 � January 2018 Copyright © 2018 American Academy of Physician Assistants Downloaded from https://pdfs.journals.lww.com/jaapa by BhDMf5ePHKZxZb3ruX4b9cKfbT5h3bp+v9gTtSlrchDWvVTxyN8Hif2P/rPZfAxb8td684/2m6Qj/1S0ZObgiiKJ9vD64yNdY1wI1G/v4gN3ti1fujtTJsg5898WZFuC on 02/23/2019

Journal

Journal of the American Academy of PAsWolters Kluwer Health

Published: Jan 1, 2018

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