Physician Assistants (PAs) are highly skilled health care professionals educated in the medical model who practice medicine. PAs can work in any clinic setting to extend physician services, complement existing services and aid in improving patient access to health care. (CMA Toolkit) Learn more →
Casey is an incoming University of Toronto BScPA Student. You can follow her journey at @caseythepa.
Casey’s Pre-PA Stats
University of Toronto, PA Consortium
University of Western Ontario – Bachelor of Health Sciences in Major Rehabilitation Sciences
For my undergrad, I took a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science with a Major in Rehabilitation Sciences. I took this because I knew I wanted to be in a health-related field, but I was unsure of what exactly I wanted to do. This gave me a solid understanding of our healthcare system, the social determinants of health and contributed to my decision to pursue the PA profession.
My cPGA was around 3.46 out of 4.0 on the OMSAS scale, the last 2 years of my undergrad were my strongest years.
Health Care Experience Hours:
Physiotherapy Assistant at an LTC center for about 130 of my hours – I worked in collaboration with the physiotherapist and other PTAs to assess patients, perform treatment plans and run exercise classes. At an LTC home.
I worked as a “Direct Support Professional” at Community Living I had about 1200 hours there when I applied, which is group homes for people with intellectual disabilities and accompanying comorbidities. This was a direct patient experience. Some of the roles include attending to each person’s unique medical needs, specialist appointments, providing accurate documentation, medication administration, including some controlled acts, assisting in end-of-life care, connecting the people we support to the community and providing necessary resources, assisting in activities of daily living and much more. A huge part of this role is advocating for the people we support. I was fortunate enough to be on a “care team,” where I was worked closely with a physician, nurses, social worker, and other healthcare professionals. I saw the importance of interprofessional collaboration and how it impacts patients. I learned so much from the people I support and the healthcare professionals I worked with.
My Interests and Hobbies:
I am a very active person, I love sports (both playing and watching them) and working out
I have 3 brothers and a golden retriever named Riley
I love cooking and trying new foods
I love travelling, my favourite places I have travelled are Australia, Vietnam, and the West Coast!
I am very social and I love spending time with family and friends
I have spent every summer since I was younger up North near Parry Sound
Why I decided to pursue the PA profession
I picked PA for a multitude of factors. I have always been interested in pursuing medicine. Like many other pre-PAs, I was seriously considering medical school until I discovered the PA program.
I love the fact that PAs contribute so much to the healthcare system. I have some family members and people I support at my job with complex health needs, and I have seen the gaps in our healthcare system first-hand.
I appreciate the positive impact PAs have on our healthcare system by decreasing wait times, helping prevent physician burnout, and increasing the quality of care.
“I was ecstatic to find a role where I can practice medicine and make such a great impact on the quality of care people receive.”
The ability to move laterally through specialties was very exciting to me, as I can learn about different specialties and diversify myself as a healthcare practitioner. I am so excited to help trailblaze the profession and be a part of an interprofessional healthcare team!
What I think helped me stand out on PA Admissions
I think what made me stood out is that I tried to be very personable and draw from my unique personal and professional experiences.
While writing my supplemental applications, I wanted to tell the admissions committee a story so they get a better picture of who I am and how I would be a good fit for the profession.
I believe my thorough understanding of the healthcare system, combined with my healthcare experience and genuine appreciation for the profession allowed me to convey my passion to become a PA to the admissions committee effectively.
My tips for Canadian Pre-PA Applicants
1. The application process is quite daunting and seems like a lot but have fun with it. Try to remind yourself that it is exciting that you have this opportunity. I remember when I was preparing for interviews, I would start to feel the nerves kick in and I would try reminding myself how exciting this opportunity is by talking to friends and family about all the things I am looking forward to in the PA profession.
2. Use your resources. There are SO many amazing resources out there. Reach out to PA students and other pre-PAs to ask questions, practice for MMIs, etc. The PA community is a very welcoming, encouraging community and everyone wants to see you succeed. It also made me that much more excited to be in the application process. I do not think I would be where I am right now without all the different people I reached out to throughout the process.
3. Be yourself and tell YOUR story! Take time to reflect and dive into why you want to become a PA and what characteristics you have that will make you a good PA. The admissions panel sees many applications, so show that you are enthusiastic and use your uniqueness to your advantage during the application process and MMIs.
Hi! I’m Anne, a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant working in Orthopaedic Surgery.
I’ve been writing about my PA experience since starting my PA journey and I’m excited to share CanadianPA.ca as a resource to help you learn about the role and impact of Physician Assistants in Canada.
This blog is my way of helping you, the way others have helped me, discover the PA profession and pursue a career that I love.