All PA programs either require or strongly recommend hands-on patient care experience as a prerequisite to admission. The actual requirements vary from program to program, so it is essential that you visit the website of each school that interests you to make sure that you meet their specific requirements. Some schools "recommend" that you have "some hands on, patient-contact experience," while others "require" more than 1500 hours of this kind of experience! Check the schools websites for details.
THE ASPECT OF PATIENT-CONTACT EXPERIENCE IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR APPLICATION TO PA SCHOOLS, SECOND TO GRADES AND PERSONALITY. MANY PEOPLE HAVE MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT IS NEEDED FOR EXPERIENCE. HOPEFULLY THIS PAGE OF Q & A CAN HELP!
What counts as "hands-on patient care experience?"
Most programs will define this as any work experience where you interact with patients directly in a clinical capacity. Some examples include medical assistant, nurse's aide, patient care tech, phlebotomist, EMT tech, physical therapy tech, and so forth.
What does not count?
Non-clinical positions such as receptionist or medical records clerk will not satisfy this requirement. Also, many programs will not count volunteer experience to fill the patient care experience requirement, even if it is technically hands-on patient care. Check the schools website to see what they require when it comes to paid or volunteer experience.
How do I get work experience?
This one is up to you. Many students choose to complete a CNA training program through a local school. Others train to be phlebotomists or EMTs. Some Nursing homes offer to pay for your CNA training if you agree to work for them for a certain time. You might also be able to find a job as a Physical Therapy aide (which may not require training.) It could cost you money to get the training necessary for a hands-on position. Jobs that require no formal training are few and far between, so if you are going home for the summer, you might consider enrolling in a CNA course at a tech school in your hometown. Also remember that the kind of work experience you choose is important because schools look at some jobs with more "respect" than other jobs. For example, a Medical Assistant in a family practice who works with PA's and doctors daily might be looked at as having more "experience" than a Physical Therapy aide who never works with a physician or PA.
Why do I need work experience?
PA programs want to be sure that you really understand the profession and that you have a good grasp on what working in the health care system is really like. They know that if you have worked in the field for an extended period of time, you have had a chance to become familiar with the basics of medicine, and also to get comfortable with one-on-one patient interactions as a provider. Working with doctors and PA's (or Nurse Practitioners) gives you an incredible experience that allows you to really come to see the profession. Also, being around patients during treatment or evaluation gives you an incredible understanding of human nature and true compassion. These are essential aspects of life that healthcare providers should know.
IF YOU HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS REGARDING GETTING A JOB IN A HEALTHCARE SETTING THAT WAS NOT ANSWERED ABOVE, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO EMAIL THE CLUB PRESIDENCY AT email@example.com.
Possible Training opportunities for Medical Jobs:
2- Utah Phlebotomy Training. www.drawblood.net. The National Phlebotomy Certification is $495 and the Standard Phlebotomy Course is $295. Classes are in SLC.
Certified Nurses Assistant-
2- Other colleges or clinics offer training for CNA's. Some nursing homes will pay for you to become a CNA if you commit to work with them for a certain number of months.