1st year PA program Class – Intro the PA Role with Deniece O’Leary, PA-C
We got an Introduction to the PA Role Class with Deniece O’Leary, and I particularly enjoyed that course because it gave me a good foundation to understanding the PA profession.
Course Description: “PAP 111 Introduction to the Physician Assistant Role is a robust course that covers several elements of becoming a PA. These include aspects of advocacy, as well as professionalism, communication and collaboration. This course includes a PA Panel, where students participate in dialogue with practicing PAs who represent a variety of health care settings, disciplines and levels of experience”
We talked about different topics like funding, regulation, health care economics and how the healthcare system works. We had guest lecturers who came in, assignments and a lot of readings. We’re required to look up these kinds of topics on your own, with quizzes on readings and interesting creative assignments.
I think some of those assignments, I remember, as PA profile, we had to film a video of ourselves talking about the PA profession with a personal touch to it. You can choose to it in any format. I did mine in an interview format where my classmate asks me questions and I talked about myself and the PA profession, almost like a making it seem like I was applying for a job as a PA.
We had a lot of discussion posts which was a key aspect of the course where, people would ask questions and would answer questions.
One of final was to choose a topic related to PA – whether it was regulation, funding, or a topic that you came up with in class. Denise as an instructor for the course was flexible about picking your topic, where you would just start a discussion and then you would write an opinion editorial after that about that topic that you chose to do it on. There were a lot of, interesting assignments which made you think about the profession and see if it was something that aligned with your interest. It was definitely a good course.
Opinion Editorial Topics:
- Why PAs Need to Be regulated
- Why PAs need more funding
- Why Health care systems need to allocate more funds towards PAs
- What PAs contribute to the health care system.
And while you write this opinion editorial, you would do research about it and you do learn more about it. it’s not like just a typical lecture based learning. It was a different way of learning. And again self taught.
About Longitudinal Clinical Experiences (LCE) Course
LCE is longitudinal clinical experience (called Longitudinal Placements or LPs at McMaster’s PA Program). We are expected to do 30 to 40 hours Max, in any clinical setting.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: “In the Longitudinal Clinical Experience (LCE) courses (PAP 110, 120, 130), students participate in practicums, which, by definition, expose them to the practical aspects of clinical medicine. From the first semester in the program, students consistently describe how these LCE opportunities help to solidify their knowledge and enhance their level of confidence. These experiences only strengthen their confidence and competence in Year 2 during clinical rotations”
In certain semesters, we have certain requirements for areas of medicine. For example, 10 hours of LCE has to be primary care, which includes family medicine as well as emergency medicine. And you can do the remaining hours in other specialties.
The thing about LCEs is you are expected to reach out and network and, this goes back to the importance of networking skills.
We are given an LCE database of clinical preceptors and locations, to reach out to people who’ve taken students on before. These LCEs are done based on your interests, and you do these clinical placements and again, throughout the week.
Tuesdays are officially allocated for those placements. Your day could range from just four hours of clinic, or 10 hours like when a General Surgery LCE which was from 7:30 a to 5:30 PM. So it can be short or long days.
Every semester has a different requirement and as you progress through 1st year PA school, you’ll find that second and third semesters LCE requirements are more focused on specialties. While first semester you have primary care as well as allied health professionals, which is when I was able to do those super cool, EMS places and with the paramedics.
Expectations as on an Observer on LCE Placements
Expectations of PA students during LCE placements varies with the setting. For example, with my paramedics placement, I wasn’t able to do anything. There was a lot of observership and I did have a lot of discussions with the paramedics – like what their thought process was in that emergent situation and why they did certain things. For those kinds of experiences, you’re writing a reflection piece, reflecting on what your goals were going in and what you learned throughout what things we found challenging .
If the LCE was in a more clinical setting, like when I did general surgery or when I did family medicine and ER, you do write S.O.A.P. notes. In first semester PA school you are expected to write a certain number of SOAP notes and reflections.
In addition to the paramedic placement, I did the coroner’s office, which was another interesting experience where I could reflect on how I felt during the experience.
Interprofessional Education (IPE)
There are different requirements in IPE: Core and elective activities.
Throughout the two years of PA School, everyone completes the Core-Curricular Learning Activities and attend in person (online or in person) and you are also expected to complete at least two electives.
“COURSE DESCRIPTION: At the beginning of every year, we welcome over 1600 students from 11 Health Science Programs; Dentistry, Kinesiology and Physical Education, Masters of Professional Kinesiology, Medical Radiation Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Social Work and Speech-Language Pathology.
Over the course of the Interprofessional Education Curriculum curriculum, students engage in up to nine core learning activities: Teamwork: Your Future in Healthcare, Roles of Health Professions and Team Dynamics, Understanding Patient/Client Partnerships in a Team Context, Faculty-Led Learning Activity, Collaborating for Quality, Conflict in Interprofessional Life, Case-Based Learning Activity: Pain Curriculum, Palliative Care and /or Appreciating Roles and Collaboration to Improve Care: Head and Neck Cancer Case, and IPE Component in a Practice Setting. Additionally, students complete a minimum number of approved elective learning activities according to the program requirements. Electives, facilitated by university and clinical faculty, are held on campus and in many practice settings and include interactive sessions, simulations, patient/client/family stories, clinical team-led cases and discussion, student team-based activities, community clinic engagement, as well as facilitated blended learning activities.” Centre for Interprofessional Education – University of Toronto
We actually just had one a couple of days ago where it was online and everyone was able attend that on. But sometimes IPE activities are scheduled during Residential Blocks where the PA students are physically located in Toronto.
In IPE, they want you to be aware of your future health care colleagues when you’re working in the healthcare setting. So far I’ve met like PTs, OTs, medical students, speech language pathologists, dentists, pharmacists, and like we would do case studies together or depending on the activity you do like case studies together and everyone chimes in.
It’s interesting to learn about everyone’s strengths and like their perspective on patient care. And just the recent one to a couple of days ago was focused on involving the, we’re including the patient as part of the team, which is something that we don’t usually think about because we focus on the disease and like different healthcare providers providing solutions to the disease. But also learning about the importance of involving the patient in the discussion.
And then the elective activities is more on how you can learn different concepts or apply different concepts based on your own interest. I’ve done one on death and dying as well as another activity on exercise based on my Kinesiology background.