Hey Everyone! I’m Jennifer and I am currently a first year physician assistant (PA) student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) in Philadelphia, PA. Ever since deciding to become a PA I have wanted to share my experiences. The goal of this blog is to educate others about the PA profession and to give you an inside look about of my experiences during the didactic and clinical phase of my PA curriculum.
Let me start by saying a little about myself: My name is Jennifer Pilchman and I graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2008 with BS in biology. I decided to become a PA on Christmas Day, 2008. I kid you not! And, I got into PA school almost exactly a year later on December 19th, 2009. My decision to become a PA was made for many reasons. I wanted to be in medicine but not necessarily at the top of the medical hierarchy. It’s a career choice that allows me to work hands-on with patients, do procedures, assist in surgeries and work in tandem with my supervising physician and medical team. The PA profession allows flexibility in scheduling as well as specialty choice. Not having gone through the clinical phase yet, I am not sure what specialty I want to go into, however, I have always leaned towards pediatrics and primary care.
Just so that you are all aware, both my parents are doctors and they LOVE what they do, so my love for medicine was in the blood so-to-speak. I believe one of my first words was “stethoscope.” The decision to become a PA was a difficult one, and yet so rewarding, and I have not looked back since. The PA program at PCOM is 26 months; 14 months are didactic and 12 months are going out on clinical rotations. Right now I am in the didactic phase and I go out on clinical rotations starting August 15th, 2011 (not like I am counting or anything). So far, school is really tough. For those that don’t know about PA school, let me put it this way: we were told on the first day of orientation that PA school was like drinking out of 2 fire hydrants, and man, they were not kidding. I have never worked this hard in my life! BUT, I have to say, it is amazing how much you can learn in such a short period of time. For those that are unaware, PA school is based off the medical model, so we learn a similar curriculum in a shorter period of time. Although PCOM is an Osteopathic Medical School, we do not learn any osteopathic manual manipulation, which is something unique to the DO program. However, we are still taught to see the patient as a whole, which is a benefit to attending an osteopathic institution. I chose PCOM because of its close-nit atmosphere and welcoming faculty and students.
I can’t wait to share my experience with you all soon! Please feel free to share your experience with me as well.