PA STUDENTS • WITH JILL

Accepted! McMaster PA Student Jill (@pa.my.way)

Jill is an incoming  McMaster PA Student. You can follow her journey at @pa.my.way.

Jill’s Pre-PA Stats

Accepted: 

Jill was accepted both into:

  • McMaster PA Education Program (will be attending)
  • University of Toronto BScPA Program

Attempts:

  • First-time applicant, accepted on the first attempt.

Education:

  • Queen’s University, Honours Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology

GPA:

  • 3.9 out of 4.0 on the OMSAS scale

Health Care Experience Hours:

  • Family Medicine Internship (4th year University) – 150 hours, unpaid
    • In my family medicine internship I worked directly with a nurse practitioner and saw all of her daily patients with her. I was able to learn all about clinic life from the perspective of a provider, as well as how to converse with patients to get a detailed history. I also had the opportunity to perform many procedures such as: fetal ultrasounds, SOAP note charting in EMR, taking vitals, cryotherapy & much more (All under supervision!!)
      .
  •  ER Screener – Working in a rural hospital ER – 1350 hours, paid
    • In this position I helped to screen patients coming into ER triage for COVID symptoms, ran errands for all ER staff, directed patients & helped transport patients to imaging. I also learned an immense amount about how a hospital runs, interprovider communication & how the social determinants of health truly impact lives
      .
  • Nursing assistant / Patient Care Assistant – Working in a major city ER (*Not included in my application as I started this position in April) ~900 hours, paid
    • This position is my current job & I love it. Even though this experience was not on my application, I wanted to let Pre-PAs know that experiences like this do exist! In this position I work in the ER directly with nurses, doctors, PAs, RTs, OTs, PTs and help to support them in all of their patient interactions. I often help retrieve supplies, position patients, monitor patients via. telemetry, and participate in procedures such as: casting, conscious/ unconscious fracture reduction, foley catheter insertion, IV insertion, wound care, etc.

Note: Jill got acceptances into University of Toronto and McMaster’s PA program. However, keep in mind that McMaster does not require or review health care experience hours. 

Fun Facts about Jill:

  • I am the first person in my family to pursue a career in medicine, which means I’ve had to figure out most of this journey by myself. This is one of the major reasons I started my Insta page – to help provide information to other pre-PAs who may be in my position!
  •  I was accepted to both McMaster and University of Toronto PA programs this year!
  •  I am a rural applicant – from Northumberland, Ontario & I would love to return to my hometown to increase the access to quality healthcare there

Why I decided to pursue the PA profession

I realized quite late that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine – at the end of my second year of undergrad. I knew very little about a career in medicine or what career choices were even available to me. Early into my google searches I actually came across the “Canadian PA” website, read every single page & honestly fell in love with the profession.

The top reasons that I chose PA were:

  •  The amount of knowledge & the position of autonomy, yet partnership that the profession holds.
  • the profession’s emphasis on patient advocacy, education & preventative medicine; missions that I am incredibly passionate about due to my rural upbringing & Kinesiology degree
  • The ability of the profession to be directly involved in patient diagnosis & care, while also being in a position to comfortably acknowledge limitations & continually further learning

I found that the principles of the profession directly aligned with my values & goals:

  • a passion for teamwork
  • increasing access to quality care
  • being a strong advocate for patients

I knew that these factors, combined with the profession’s work-life balance, would result in my ability to obtain ongoing career satisfaction & minimize burnout

 (Most of this information was copied from my University of Toronto “WHY PA” application essay – Please do not copy this work as your own – it will get flagged as plagiarism – as the program uses turnitin.com to check for plagirism)

What I think helped me stand out on PA Admissions

I believe the strongest part of my application stemmed from my HCE and my lived experiences of growing up in a small rural community. Both of these experiences enabled me to understand the realities of SDH, the need for increased care in rural/ northern/ underserved areas & to identify WHY I wanted to work in medicine as a PA.

I also made sure to have a really strong presentation of my application. I spent weeks writing & rewriting my UoT essays and practiced answering MMI questions every evening for ~2 months leading up to the Mac supplementary application.

I believe that all of this work allowed me to clearly articulate my goals, intentions & experiences to the admissions committees!

My tips for Canadian Pre-PA Applicants

Begin thinking about your application as early as possible! By this, I don’t mean that you need to start writing essays long before you apply, but rather work to identify areas that you believe make you a strong applicant and elaborate on why these areas are strong. For example, I work in a busy emergency room as an ER Tech / Nursing support. This experience sounds neat, but what skills did I learn? How has this experience shaped me? How did this experience help me decide to become a PA? Beginning to think in this mindset will help SO much when it comes time to actually write / speak about your experiences

It is also important to identify areas that you may not be as strong in. This can be challenging, but will truly help your application & allow you to grow. As I began to think about my application in my third year of university, I realized that I seriously lacked hands-on HCE. Based on this information, I applied to my school’s internship program and was able to secure a placement in a family medicine clinic. This information also helped me to realize that taking a gap year would be beneficial!

Finally, look at your application as a whole – not just as multiple pieces that you have to check off. I believe that admission committees want to see the individual, their story and proof as to why you want to pursue a career as a PA. Be yourself & advocate for yourself by talking up your experiences and skills! (think of it as practice to advocate for your future patients!) ❤️

Connect with Jill! (@pa.my.way)

Follow Jill on Instagram!

Now its your turn!

Thank you Jill for sharing your incredible journey to gaining acceptance into PA School!

Have questions? Leave it in the comments below.