For those who have been with me for some time – you are very well aware of my background. For the rest, I thought it would be a good time to share this with you.
I graduated from the UC Davis PA Program in 2012 at 24 years of age (how time flies). During that time, UC Davis was structured in such a way that we started our rotations after our first quarter.
This, as you can imagine, was very stressful. I mean, how much can you really learn/do after only 1 quarter? Interestingly enough – more than you think! Seeing patients while studying for exams really solidified my learning and allowed me to learn exponentially faster when compared to the traditional route.
We were given a main primary care/internal medicine rotation, which we stayed at for the entire duration of the program. Every so often, we took a month off from our main site in order to complete our specialty rotations (emergency medicine, orthopedics, etc).
What made my experience even more unique was my preceptor (who has become a great friend over the years). As a student, he forced me to see every single patient on my own. He didn’t hold my hand and he didn’t “protect” me. Of course, he would discuss the patients with me, but most of the care was up to me.
This made for a sink or swim environment, and of course, I learned to swim very quickly.
Needless to say, I was offered a job after graduation. I have now been there for a total of 6 years (living in Southern California). I have full autonomy and work as a solo provider. In fact, I was a solo provider right out of school. Again, this forced me to read and learn as much as possible as there was no one to turn to for help. This created a sense of urgency for me and made for fast learning.
Most don’t learn best this way – but I wouldn’t have traded this experience for the world.
In 2013, I started the PA Boards website as a way to help others, and in the process, to continue my education. Over the last year, the website has grown quite a bit (over 30,000 students and clinicians get my emails) and the podcast has been downloaded over 1 million times 🙂