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2017 Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Physician Assistants

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If you have a physician assistant in your life, I know you want to make sure to get them the best present ever! We'll cover Pre-PA, PA students, and practicing PA presents, and it's not too late to make sure the PAs in your life have a present that they'll love. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. 

Pre-PA

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Medthusiast is a great place to start for anyone in the medical field, especially since the company was started by a PA. Specifically, for Pre-PA students, they have some catchy shirts and these amazing anatomy mugs

There are plenty of books out there that any Pre-PA student would appreciate. Here are a few that I would recommend: 

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The Applicant's Manual to Physician Assistant Programs - A resource with all of the information needed for applications about the various PA programs that are available. 

Better by Atul Gawande - Dr. Gawande is an amazing writer, and I recommend that anyone interested in the medical field read his books. 

The Ultimate Guide to the Physician Assistant Profession - A colleague wrote this book and it's a comprehensive book about what it takes to become a PA. 

If your Pre-PA gift recipient has a job in the medical field, scrubs are always a great present. A few on my favorite and more inexpensive brands are Med Couture, Maevn, and Nursemates Brand

A gift from The PA Platform is always a good option too! Whether it's a Pre-PA Assessment or a Mock Interview, make sure that your Pre-PA student is as prepared as possible to take the necessary steps forward in becoming a PA. The Physician Assistant School Interview Guide is also available for anyone who is anticipating an interview for PA school in the near future. 

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PA Students

If you want to step up the scrub game for your PA students, check out Medelita scrubs. (If you don't already follow @thePAplatform on Instagram, make sure to check it out because there might be a giveaway coming up!) These scrubs will last forever and the styles are very flattering. If you use this link, you'll receive $20 off of a $70 purchase and you can use the code "THEPAPLATFORM1" for another 15% off. 

Another thing every PA student will need is a great PANCE review book. PANCE Prep Pearls is a great one that would be much appreciated by any student no matter their year in school. 

For a book that is more "fun" reading, Complications by Atul Gawande is a great option. 

For a PA student on rotations, the White Coat Clipboard will come in handy for keeping notes organized and having important information accessible at all times. Another small reference that was essential during clinical year was the Maxwell Quick Medical Reference

If you want to splurge, one tool that was extremely helpful during PA school was my Microsoft Surface. It's so much easier to take notes and write directly on the screen than trying to print everything out! 

Physician Assistants

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Medthusiast also has shirts for physician assistants, and this is one of my favorites! 

Medelita also has some amazing white coats that can really up the game for anyone in the medical field. One thing that's cool about Medelita is that the company was started by a PA! There are tons of options and the fit and quality can't be beat. 

If your PA needs a new stethoscope, check out the ERKA from Medelita as well. 

For $20 off a purchase of $70 or more, use this link to set up your account, and use the code PAPLATFORM1 at checkout for an additional 25% off! 

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You can also look and see if there are any CME resources or review materials that would be helpful, and I'm sure any PA would appreciate if you ask if there's something they've been eyeing. 


Nurse Mates Review - Scrubs and Align Shoes

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By now, you know that I am a scrub junkie and I love trying out all of the different brands on my mission to finding the best scrubs ever. I also want you to be able to make the best decisions possible when choosing your medical wear and equipment. Nurse Mates sent me some scrubs and shoes to try out, so keep reading to hear my thoughts. Some of the Amazon links are affiliate links so I'll get a percentage of the purchase if you use them! 

 

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For the scrubs, I am wearing a Maci Top in Small and Brooke Pant in Small Petite, both in Navy. I've found that some scrubs tend to run small or the Petite versions will be too long, so I went with the Small size, but I think these actually run true to size. Whenever I order more, I'll go with the XS, but these still fit fine, and I've been wearing them to work frequently.  My most favorite thing on these scrubs are the pockets on the Maci Top. There are so many of them! Not only are there front pockets, which is where I usually keep my pens and phone, but there are also side pockets. It's awesome. 

 

 

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For the pants, I really like the zippered pockets, which is nice for holding my credit cards when I run out to get lunch. The petite length with a 29 inch inseam is really great on these. I'm 5'1'' so I either need a shorter version or I have to get my pants hemmed, and ain't nobody got time for that. There is a tall version as well. The color is deep on these scrubs, and they've held up well in the wash with no noticeable shrinkage or fading. The price point on these scrubs is around $25 for each piece, which isn't unreasonable for a high quality set of scrubs with good fit. 

 

 

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My underscrub long sleeve tee is the Willow Top in Smoke in XS. Underscrub is great for a few reasons. It keeps you warm in a cold office, and it gives you some protection from any stray bodily fluids that you may come in contact with. It also looks nice! This cotton based top is very lightweight and easy to wear under any scrubs. I love the color of this top and I've been wearing it as quick as I can get it washed. The little embroidered heart on the sleeve is a cute touch too. This top is around $18. 

 

 

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Now let's talk about the shoes. These are the new Align Velocity shoes in Grey, and these are my absolute favorite! Nursemates got it right with these. I've experimented with many different shoes since I've been working in medicine, even when I started as a CNA, and I've developed some requirements: lots of support, comfortable all day long, and look cute and professional. These shoes check all of the boxes. I had been switching between Danskos and regular tennis shoes, but the Danskos were kind of hard and made my feet hurt if I wore them too much, and the tennis shoes didn't have the best support. 

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I was skeptical that these shoes would offer enough support based on the appearance, but I was proved wrong, and since I've gotten these, they are all I've worn to work and often outside of work when I'm just running errands. I would 100% recommend these shoes if you're looking for something that will be comfortable and stylish. They are easy to clean and resistant to stains and water. There are many other colors and styles of the "Align" line of shoes from Nurse Mates, and I have my eye on the slip-on style now that I know how great the support is. These are around $90, but so far they've held up well and totally worth it. The elastic lace in the shoe can be replaced with traditional shoe laces as well. 

I hope that helps to give you some more information if you're looking for scrubs or shoes, and I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below!


Guest Post from PA Cents: What is the 2017 Salary of a PA?

PA Cents is an awesome new blog about all of the financial stuff that comes along with being a physician assistant: salary, loans, debt, negotiations, and so much more. I'm reposting one of my favorite articles from the site today, which goes over everything you need to know about the current status of PA salaries.  And one of my posts was republished over there as well, so if you want to read about how I was able to pay off my PA school debt, check it out! 


A Breakdown of 2017 Physician Assistant Salary Reports

It’s a common question that everyone wants to know, whether you’re thinking about PA school, currently in a PA program or a practicing PA. How much do PAs Make? There are a few different sources for this information and each has it’s own benefits and drawbacks.

BLS Employment Statistics

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics is one source for salary information for all types of careers. They use data collected from employers on salary and benefits information. The data is collected over 2-3 years and is averaged. The salary includes incentive pay and production bonuses.

Per the Occupational Employment Statistics the mean annual wage for Physician Assistants from 2016 is $102,090; with the bottom 10% making $65,620 and the top 90% making $142,210.

The Good
As these surveys go out nationally and is done by the employer the information covers most PAs, which makes for a good sample size. The survey was for 104,050 PAs which would be almost all certified PAs. Not sure it is good or bad but the BLS reports is collected from employers and is not a self-report survey.

The Bad
Their is some delay in the data due to the time it takes to collect it. The data is averaged over a couple of years so it might not be the most up to date. Also, the salary is based on gross compensation so it combines both the base salary and bonus.

NCCPA Annual Report

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants is the certifying body for PAs and collects data through PA profiles. Of the 115,547 certified PAs, 109,592 provided responses for at least a portion of the profile. How this works is that if you are a certified PA and you log in to your profile on the website they ask you a number of questions about who you are and they collect this data to make the report. Some people probably have not answered all the questions or have only partially completed their profiles at the time the data was collected, however overall this a large sample size as it covers 94.8% of certified PAs. The data is collected by a rolling collection and is reported based on total gross income from all PA positions.

According to the NCCPA Annual Report the average salary for certified PAs was $104,131. With the highest median salary going to those in emergency medicine and dermatology with $115,000. The lowest median salary of $85,000 goes to those working in adolescent medicine, gynecology, ob/gyn and pediatrics.

The Good
If you’re a certified PA you most likely filled out the profile so this report covers most PAs, which provides for a very large sample size. It also provides data for the breakdown of salaries in different specialties.

The Bad
This report is not as comprehensive as other reports as far as salary goes. It does look at things like practice setting and specialty but as far as the break down of base salary, bonus and benefits it does not go in depth. Also, the data is collected in a rolling cycle so it might not be based on the most recent year’s salaries.

AAPA Salary Survey

The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) is the national professional society for PAs. The AAPA advocates for  PAs and provides educational opportunities. It sends out an annual salary survey to all the members who have not opted out of communication from the AAPA. For the 2016 survey, it was sent out to 89,228 PAs and PA students with a total number of respondents of 15,999. The data is collected from the previous calendar year.

The median salary for the 2016 AAPA annual salary report was $97,000. Highest pay awarded to surgical sub-specialties and PAs working out west. The lowest going to PAs working in primary care and those in the Midwest. The 50th percentile for bonus amount was $5,000 for full-time PAs.

The Good
Of all the salary reports the AAPA salary survey is the most comprehensive. It breaks the data down by state and even shows data for the breakdown of benefits including time off, insurance, retirement, etc, so you can really see what other people are receiving and how others are getting paid. The data collected is from the prior year so it should be the most up to date. Also, it breaks it down from base salary and bonus and for full-time compared to part-time employment.

The Bad
The sample size is small and quite possibly the 75,000+ PAs who did not respond to the survey are the ones that are making so much money they don’t have time to respond to the survey. The survey is only available to AAPA members for free, non-members can purchase a copy.

Payscale.com

Payscale.com is another self-reporting survey. It has only 5,479 individuals who have reported on Physician Assistant salary. The data is collected through creating a personal report. When you go to the website you can get an individual salary report and in order to do this you must answer all the questions that pertain to yourself, including your salary and bonus.  The salary amount does not include bonus.

The median salary as of May 2017 was $91,402, with bonus ranging from $1,012 – $17,588.

The Good
Its the first thing that comes up when you google “physician assistant salary” (not sure that is a good thing or not). It breaks down salary to base salary and bonus.

The Bad
Very small sample size. Who knows when the data is from. They collect data from individual profiles so although it might be updated recently, the individual profiles are probably reflecting old salaries as I doubt most people are updating their payscale.com salaries annually.

The Bottom Line

From the 2017 salary reports we looked at, the average salary for 2017 is in the low $100,000 with a couple thousand difference (The reports are actually from the prior year but released in the current year, so 2017 data is collected in 2016 then the report is compiled and released in 2017). The AAPA and Payscale.com looked at base salary and bonus separately, where as the NCCPA and BLS reports looked at combined base salary and bonus.

The AAPA salary survey is by far the most comprehensive with that data that it provides but it is a smaller sample size. (Here’s my plug for doing the AAPA salary survey. If more members responded to the survey we would have better data. It does take some time but if you want help with negotiating its best if everyone takes part in it. Also, you need to be a member in order to participate so it is worth keeping up with your AAPA membership). To look at the survey it is free to members or you must pay a fee.

The Payscale.com report is the least valid as it has the smallest sample size and probably not very current. I wouldn’t recommend using the payscale.com number for anything more than a general idea of what PAs make.

Overall, PA salaries have been increasing over time and the outlook looks good for increased salaries in the future. I know compared to 5 years ago and after a job change my base salary has increased almost $20,000.

Salary Reports are helpful for anyone interested in the Physician Assistant Career. If you’re looking at becoming a PA you might be interested to know how much PAs make and above are some resources to look at.

If you’re a practicing PA or graduating soon you can use the salary information to help you negotiate a fare wage and you can use these salary reports to help you see what others are getting paid.

Don’t forget to comment below the original article and share with your friends!


Hey there! Check me out over here!

As I've shared in the past, I'm a H.I.P Ambassador for Medelita, which is a medical apparel company that was actually started by a PA!  Part of being a member of that community includes contributing to the Medelita blog. 

If you've been following me for a while, you know that I went on a medical mission trip to Kenya previously this year. The post I wrote for Medelita is titled "What I've Learned From International Medical Missions."  So if that's an area you're interested in, make sure you check it out!  They have a great blog, and you'll find some other posts from some of the PA students who have done guest posts here as well. 


Medelita + ERKA Stethoscope Review

While Medelita has become well-known for their scrubs and lab coats, they have more recently entered the medical equipment field. As a HIP Ambassador for Medelita, I was able to give their new stethoscope a try. 

Medelita teamed up with ERKA to create a high quality stethoscope that is an easy competitor for any well-known stethoscope.  ERKA originates from Germany and has been around for a long time.  They are well known for their stethoscope design and amazing functionality. 

Aesthetically, the ERKA stethoscope is so nice. There are tons of color choices to choose from including black, red, lime green, violet, ceil blue, pink, light blue, burgundy, dark green, navy blue, light grey, and rose pink. I went with the light grey because I wanted something neutral, and if you were to see my T-shirt drawer, you would find about 10 grey shirts (it's a problem). This stethoscope is very comfortable in the ears and easy to throw around your neck. They also come with a very nice storage case. 

There are 3 different types of stethoscopes available.  The Finesse2 is $100 and is equivalent to a Littmann Classic III. The Precise is $156 and is equivalent to a Littmann Cardiology IV. The Sensitive is $178 and is equivalent to a Littmann Master Cardiology, and this is the type that I chose because it's most similar to what I trained with. 

When it comes to sound quality, there's no doubt that the Medelita stethoscope is of the best quality. I don't use a stethoscope frequently in dermatology, so I sent this one with my husband to the hospital to try out.  He's an internal medicine resident, so it's important that he has a great stethoscope. He was impressed, and now it's uncommon for me to find that my stethoscope has gone "missing." 

Medelita always offers free shipping and free returns. For $20 off a purchase of $70 or more, use this link to set up your account, and use the code PAPLATFORM1 at checkout for an additional 25% off! There's also a 5-year warranty on these scopes. Let me know if you check them out!


Medelita M3 Ellody Lab Coat Review

I'm really excited to announce that I am now a HIP Ambassador for Medelita.  That means that I get to share all of their awesome products with you, and tell you more about why I love them so much. One of my favorite things about Medelita is that it was started by a physician assistant! I love fellow PA-preneurs, and it's really cool to see the impact that Lara Francisco has been able to make in creating high quality medical wear. She took the idea of seeing a problem and finding a solution to the next level. 

In this particular review, I'm wearing a Medelita M3 Ellody Petite Fit Lab Coat. For reference, I am around 5'1'' and I'm wearing a size 2.  In normal clothing, I usually wear a 0-2/XS or Small, and I've found that these run very true to size, and that the size chart provided is accurate. 

When I first graduated from PA school, I was so excited to also graduate from my short coat to my long coat.  It's a sort of rite of passage. I was also extremely eager. I visited the local scrub store, looked at the 2 options available, and picked the one that was the better of the 2.  I can't say I was super impressed with the quality, but at the time it didn't matter that much to me. I was a PA! 

Once I started working, I noticed that my supervising physician's coat was a nice, crisp white and just looked a little better than mine.  After a few washes and a couple of months, my white coat was starting to look a little dingy and the already thin fabric was just getting thinner and thinner.  I asked her about it, and she said it was by a brand called Medelita

I looked further into Medelita, and I knew I was ready for an upgrade.  I was a little nervous about ordering a coat without trying it on, and since it would be embroidered, I wouldn't be able to return it. I used the size charts, took some measurements, and took the plunge. Best decision ever.  

It's important that your first impression with patients is a good one, and usually that comes from your appearance. I know that I tend to look young for my age (because my patients tell me everyday), so it's even more important for me to look professional.  Your white coat can do that. It lets the patient know what your role is, and gives confidence that you are there to take care of them.  Or it makes pediatric patients cry, but usually it's the opposite effect. Even if I see a new patient, when I walk in with my white coat on, they instantly know who their provider is. 

When I received my white coat, I was so excited. The fabric that Medelita has crafted is so nice. It's thick, bright white, and actually repels liquids, which is nice in a field like dermatology (think Dr. Pimple Popper).  The Ellody coat is perfect for me because it is a petite fit designed for women under 5'4'' and has a great tailored fit.  But if you are blessed with height or a guy, there are options for you too!  Medelita has many different designs and styles, so you should be able to find something to suit you.  My husband (internal medicine resident) is still jealous that my coat looks better than his, so I may end up having to get him one too. 

On these coats there are plenty of pockets to hold any equipment you may use on a daily basis, and the pockets are large enough for an iPad. There's no need to dry clean, and even after many washes, my coats have maintained their fresh white appearance, and the embroidery hasn't faded at all. These coats may be a little more pricey than some other options, but I can guarantee you'll be happier with the quality and durability.  The current options range from $128-162, but be on the lookout for discount codes by signing up for the Medelita email list or checking their Instagram. 

For $20 off a purchase of $70 or more, use this link to set up your account, and use the code PAPLATFORM1 at checkout for an additional 25% off! 

Medelita offers embroidery on their lab coats and scrubs.  There's the option of 2 lines of print, and 3 different fonts and 18 colors available. It costs an additional $12 or is free for orders over $175. There's also an option of having a logo uploaded on the right side of the coat. 

This coat was provided to me for review, but I can honestly say that I have been a customer with Medelita for a while, and I don't see that relationship ended for a long time. I will never recommend anything that I don't fully endorse and that I wouldn't pay for, and I can promise you will not regret your decision of purchasing a Medelita white coat. 

1 Thousand Instagram Followers = Giveaways!

I made a promise a while back on Instagram that if @thePAplatform hit 1 thousand followers, we would do some giveaways over this weekend and next week.  And you guys did it!  It actually happened while I was in Africa, but now's the time!  I'll be posting most of the giveaways on Instagram, so make sure you're following me there.  Next Thursday I'm heading to the big AAD dermatology conference so I'll be sharing a lot of pictures while I'm there next weekend!

Leave a comment with what you'd like to win in this giveaway or others in the future!  

To make sure you don't miss out on any giveaways or updates, follow me on Instagram: 

@thePAplatform

My trip to Kenya!

Last month I had the privilege of going on a 10 day trip to Kenya!  It was through the ME to WE organization, and I cannot say enough about how amazing it was.  The purpose of the trip was to provide dermatological care to people of the local tribes.  We also got to participate in some unique cultural immersion activities, like visiting local homes and the local market.  I'm going to share some pictures from my trip today, and I have a lot of posts that will be coming up so I can tell you all about my experience.  I would encourage you to take any opportunity you may have to go on a mission trip!  

I'll be sharing more in the coming weeks, but if you want to see a video of me kissing a giraffe, check out my Instagram - @thePAplatform 

3 Questions You Need To Know For Your PA School Interview

JORGE MUNIZ, PA-C, President at Medcomic.com
 

Congratulations! The moment you receive news that youve landed an interview for PA school is an exciting time.  The next step is to prepare and practice the types of questions youll most likely encounter during the interview process.

If youre currently a Pre-PA student, you may have done some research and found a list of popular questions to review prior to your interview. However, have you really given thought to how your answers will differentiate you from the other candidates?

Before we talk about specific questions, I think its important to make a note on the delivery of your responses. Keep your answers succinct, dont go off on tangents, and remember to smile!

With over a thousand qualifying candidates applying each cycle, getting into PA school is becoming more and more competitive each year. Here are three questions I believe you should put at the top of your list as you prepare for your PA school interview.

1.     How do you think youll be able to handle the workload?

A common analogy used for the amount of new information we consume in PA school is that its like drinking water from a firehose. How will you convince your interviewers that you can handle this daunting task? I like to turn this question upside down by eliminating the burden from the proposed workload.

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Remember that medicine is your passion. Passion is work that you enjoy doing so it doesnt feel like work. This makes accomplishing the task easier because you dont mind putting in the time and effort to complete it. For instance, learning to play guitar isnt easy. It takes weeks to build the callouses to eliminate finger pain. For most, it takes months or even years to become proficient with the instrument. These people push through each day because the process of practicing their passion doesnt feel like a burden.

Similarly, you can tell your interviewers that the workload in PA school is something you welcome as part of the process to practice your passion. Youre already an avid reader and you love learning. Be confident, tell them to give you a second firehouse.

2. Why are you interested in our PA program?

Just as you should be mindful of differentiating yourself from other candidates, dont forget to identify the the characteristics that makes one PA program unique from another. This will support any reasons you give for being a good fit for their program. Some PA programs may have a focus on recruiting local students that want to practice medicine in rural areas, while others may place more value on a students ambitions to have their research published in journals. Always take a look at their curriculum and mission statement to get a better idea if one particular PA program over another is a better fit for you. Be ready to give your concise answer.

3. What is your favorite hobby?

I like this question because its more informal and gives you the opportunity to showcase your interpersonal skills. Your hobbies and extracurricular activities can give the interviewer a good idea of the type of person you are. Its also a good time to provide an answer that demonstrates balance in your life, something that is essential during PA school.

Conclusion

The PA school interview is a big deal. In my opinion, its the most important part of the application process. Not everyone with a 4.0 GPA that gets interviewed makes it into PA school. Remember to be confident in your answers. When possible, choose responses that are unique to you. Youll be interviewing with the top qualifying candidates, why should they choose you?

One final recommendation. Before getting into PA school, I read a book called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Despite the odd title, its a great read that made me more aware of how important interpersonal skills are in business and in life. Pick it up and give it a try.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/32217894@N03/6122032240

About the Author: Jorge Muniz is a board-certified Physician Assistant from Orlando, Florida. He graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a Master's in Medical Science in 2013. Jorge is also a self-taught cartoonist and the founder of Medcomic, an educational series of illustrations that makes studying medicine entertaining and fun. To view his work visit http://www.medcomic.com

Conference Review: GDPA Dermatology PEARLS

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The Georgia Dermatology Physician Assistants (GDPA) puts on an annual conference called Dermatology PEARLS (Physician Extenders Advanced Regional Learning Symposium).  It is held in Atlanta, GA or somewhere nearby.   It was in October this year, and the next one is scheduled for March in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.  There was a maximum amount of CME of 26.5 hours offered, with a possible maximum of 22.5 hours for each attendee.  8 of those hours could be self-assessment if you are in the new CME cycle.  3 workshops were offered - Intermediate Surgery, Hyperhidrosis, Neurotoxin & Fillers - but I didn't participate in any of these.  The price for this conference was really reasonable.  For early registration a non-GDPA member, it's $300, and if you were a member, it was $275.  These prices increased by $75 each for later registration, so plan early!

The location was at the Cobb Galleria Centre, and the hotel was adjacent to the convention center.  I didn't need to stay at the hotel since my sister lives in Atlanta, but it would have been nice to have just a 5 minute walk to the conference.  The conference was 3 days long, which I felt like was appropriate.  There was a ton of information presented, and I was exhausted at the end of each day.   Everything was extremely organized, and the schedule ran on time.  There were a few lectures I would have liked a little more time for questions, but it was nice to know what to expect throughout the day.  

There was a notebook given that had all of the information for the conference, wi-fi information, and a page for notes on each of the lectures (and I took tons of notes).  The speakers were all awesome.  There were some physicians and some PAs, and I would just love to spend a day with any of them.  I don't think there was a single lecture that I felt like I didn't learn something.  There were a few instances where I felt like the information went over my head (immunology!), but I still feel like I learned a lot.  I got so many pearls, and I'm really excited to try them out in practice.  It was also reassuring to hear from people who have been practicing dermatology for 10, 20, or 30 years that they struggle with treating some of the same skin diseases that I feel frustrated by.  

I had a great time at the conference, and I learned so much.  This is definitely a conference that I plan on attending again in the future!

Tips for a Medical Conference

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This past week I attended my first ever Continuing Education conference.  The one I went to was put on by the Georgia Dermatology Physician Assistants (GDPA), and it was their bi-annual Dermatology PEARLS conference.  The next one will be in March in Atlanta, GA if you have any interest in dermatology or are looking for a conference.  I went there not really knowing what to expect, but it was an awesome conference!  (I guess I don't have anything to compare to, but I did enjoy it.  I'm going to do a separate post reviewing this particular conference, but here are some tips I would like to share if you are getting ready to go to a conference!

  • No matter what you wear, you probably won't be the most underdressed or overdressed.  There were people in anything from jeans to suits.  
  • Bring a sweater!  It might be cold, and you'll be sedentary for most of the day.  
  • Welcome back to PA school!  Be ready to sit and listen to lectures for about 8 hours, unless you go to a conference that only has lectures in the morning.  
  • There's lots of food and coffee.  We had a breakfast and lunch buffet, and lots of coffee breaks with little snacks and drinks.  
  • Goodies!  They gave me a bag, pens, a notebook, and a jump drive with lectures when I arrived.  And then in the Exhibit Hall, there are a bunch of booths with pharmaceutical reps, hospitals, and other medical products that have handouts and information.  
  • You can come and go as you need to.  You can only claim the CME for the parts that you are actually present for, but it's not a big deal if you need to leave early.  
  • The sessions can be very interactive.  We had clickers to answer questions, and the speakers were very engaging, and encouraged questions.  
  • You need to know generic names.  All of the speakers try to be non-biased so they will use the generic names instead of the brand names as much as possible.  
  • Learning is exhausting, especially when it's been a while since you've had such intense classroom time.  
  • Students welcome!  There were a good bit of students at the conference I went to, and I think I would have been overwhelmed as a student, but also I would have learned a lot.  It's a great place to make connections and meet people for finding rotations or a job after graduation.  
  • And lastly, if you go to a dermatology conference, then everyone will have perfect skin!  But seriously, they did.  

Comment with any of your tips for conferences, or any CME events that you've been to and would recommend!

Physician Assistant Blogs

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While there isn't a ton of information out there in the blog world, and many of them do not stay recent, if you look hard you can find some good posts.  Here is a list of the blogs I've been able to find, so let me know if you run a site or know of any others!

I'm A PA - A site from the AAPA, and their blog does update a few times a month, and you could write for them if you have an interesting perspective.

Jay the PA -  A firsthand look at what it takes to become a PA from the Pre-PA stage to being accepted and starting school!  

With Ashley Kay - Ashley is a current PA student sharing her journey through school.  She has beautiful photography on her site as well! 

White Coat Clutter - Stephanie is a PA who is transitioning to dermatology and shares a ton of tips for Pre-PA students and current PA students. 

Life as a PA - Andrea is an amazing Pediatric ICU PA who is very open about sharing her lifestyle and giving back to the PA profession.  Make sure to follow her on Snapchat too! 

PA Student Essentials - A site run by PA students and the SAAPA

Meghan in Medicine - Meghan is a soon-to-be PA student who is doing an amazing job showing the details of how she's accomplishing her goals.  

The PA Life - Jourdyn is a current PA student at UW-Madison blogging about her time while in PA school.  

Reddit Pre-PA - Not exactly a blog, but more like a forum to ask questions to an active community and look up information that others have asked about in the past. 

PA Boards - This is a great resource with so many options - podcasts, blog posts, PANCE review, YouTube videos, and even an app!  

Musings - The JAAPA blog.  This is a great resource to stay up to date with issues facing PAs.

ADVANCE for NPs & PAs - They have a few different blogs, including one for students and one for new grads.   

Lauren Does Life - A new blog with an awesome looking site.  Lauren has just started her clinical year of PA school and it looks like there are some great posts coming in the future!  

Lindsey's PA Blog - Lindsey is currently a PA student at Albany College and has been writing periodically about her experiences there.  

Hay the PA - Hayley is a PA student at University of Kentucky and she has a beautiful site where she shares tips for both PA school and living a healthy lifestyle. 

PAs RISE - A resource for pre-PAs, PA students, and physician assistants where they have access to interesting reads, mentorship, and FOAMed (free open access medical education).  This site encourages the PA community to contribute their thoughts, expertise, and opinions while shining a spotlight on the advances PAs and students are making within the community.  

The Organized Undergrad - Follow Emily's progress through undergrad as she works towards a profession in the medical field, and tries to make decisions between pursuing PA or MD.  

Medicine & Manicures - A great combination of PA school and fashion.  Kristina just graduated from Campbell University's PA program, and she will be a derm PA as well!  (Best choice ever.)

PA Fanatic - Brittany is transitioning from a Pre-PA to PA-S, and sharing all of her tips and advice along the way. 

Physician Assistant Blog - A blog with unique posts that are a little different from the typical things other sites write about.  The authors also wrote the PANCE/PANRE Study Guide, which is a resource to use during school and when studying for boards.  

AP the PA - A new blog from Aashna, a student who is about to start PA school.  Great information so far!  

Pre-physician assistant blog - A bunch of interviews with various students and PAs.  Especially helpful if you're interested in schools in Texas.  

New PA-C Here - Not updated recently, but she posted a good bit during school about her experiences 

Trust Me, I'm a PA Student - A well-researched blog from a current student at UTSW

The White Coat Investor - The best blog for financial advice if you're working in medicine. Not specific to PAs, but definitely helps everything to be slightly less confusing and provides great resources.  

Physician Assistant, Finally There - Not updated recently, but a lot of information from school and resources as well.

Women in Surgery - This is not specific to PAs, but seeing as there are plenty of women PAs and PAs doing surgery, it's a great reference.

Food, Fitness, & Family - Although the title may not seem to fit, this is a blog of a current PA student and how she survives.  And shes's a mom!

PA-C Hustle - A PA and mother, and how she balances both jobs. 

PA Journey - Follow along with a PA student on the journey to becoming a PA.  

xohollyd - Holly is currently in her didactic year of PA school and provides updates on her blog so you can see what it's like to go through PA school. 

Stethoscope and Sparkle - Follow Erin through her time in PA school, and look for all of the advice she has for Pre-PA students 

Apple A Day PA - Demi is currently in her clinical year at Florida International University in Miami, and she blogs about her experiences and offers advice for clinicals. 

White Coat Dreaming - Alex is in her 3rd year of PA school and on the tail end of clinicals.  She has some great advice from fellow students and throws a personal touch into her posts too. 

Lynzy and Co - Definitely more of a lifestyle blog, but Lynzy is a mom, but also a part-time PA.  She does a great job showing how she balances life. 

The PA Pursuit - Chelsea is a PA student who has beautiful pics on her site and her Instagram as she offers advice to hopeful PA students. 

White Coat Whitney - Whitney is a second year PA student sharing advice about PA school and for Pre-PA students. 

PA-Cents - A new kid on the block that is discussing all things having to do with the financial side of PA school and being a PA. If you have any questions about money stuff specifically for PAs, make sure to check it out!