I really recommend reading Trust Me, I’m a PA Student’s – Guide to Shadowing a PA to learn how to make the most of these opportunities.
Shadowing is a great way:
- to learn about how PAs practice.
- the nature of the PA/MD relationship
- how a PA is incorporated in a certain practice setting (e.g. Family medicine, vs. ER, vs. specialty practice like Plastic Surgery or Nephrology).
- whether this is a position you’d be interested in pursuing.
How can I find a PA to shadow?
1. Canadian Pre-PA Student Network FB Group
Join our Canadian Pre-PA Student Network Facebook Group and post your request for shadowing a PA. A PA or PA student will comment with the contact you may get in touch to help you coordinate a half day or full day observership with a PA in your area.
2. Reach within your own network
Ask your colleagues, friends and family if they know Physician Assistants that you can shadow. Ask your family doctor, clinics, or specialists (if you’re seeing any) if they know of any practicing PAs – they may have had PA students in the past or know someone working with a PA. You can also talk to your friends who attend universities that have PA programs (McMaster, Manitoba, and University of Toronto) if they know of PA students or PA program alumni. PAs are more likely to take you on as a favour to someone they know as opposed to cold calls.
3. Reach out to PAs on LinkedIn
Get on LinkedIn and do a search of Physician Assistants in Canada or your area. You can then directly message them and ask if they are open to having a pre-PA student shadow them.
4. Contact your provincial CAPA Chapter President
Contact Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) or the PA Chapter of the province/region you reside in: Look for the “Contact Us” link on the website and request the association set you up with a contact for a shadowing opportunity within your area.
5. Attend a PA Program Info Session
Attend a PA Program Info Session and speak with a practicing PA directly: Each year, each of the PA programs holds an information session on campus. The dean of the program, teaching faculty, current PA students and sometimes PA alumni who are practicing PAs attend these sessions to help answer questions at the end. This is a great opportunity to speak with PAs directly and ask if they are open to having a pre-PA student shadow them.