Interview with Kelsi, an Out-of-Province PA Student

Kelsi is originally from rural Alberta, attending University of Calgary and majoring in Psychology. She decided to apply to PA school after 5 years of working in a position in Endocrinology, and applying to medical school.

Watch the full interview here:

Transcript abridged and modified for readability:

What is a PA?

A PA is, an extension of physician because they are able to practice under a certain scope of practice depending on what the supervising physician is practicing under, and PAs are someone who is able to provide high quality healthcare to patients in a way that is similar to a physician but also a little bit different because we’re able to spend more time with the patient than I find most physicians are able to.

And yes, I may not have as much education as someone that came from medical school, but I liked the ability to be able to learn on the job and transition between specialties if needed. I’d say a PA is a highly trained, highly educated healthcare practitioner that can see patients and prescribe and be really integrated well into healthcare team, just under the supervision of that physician.

My Background

  • From Rural Alberta Community

  • Completed Bachelor of Science in Psychology at University of Calgary

  • Worked in an Endocrinology Clinic for 5 years

My Medical School application attempts

In my third year of Undergrad, I wrote MCAT between my third and fourth year, and then applied to medical school for the following year to try to get in and was unsuccessful

When I found out that I didn’t get into medical school, I didn’t really know what to do with my life and I just started applying to jobs and landed a job at an endocrinology clinic.

I would apply to medical school and every year I never got in. And so after five or six years doing that streak, I realized that I need to do something different cause I was getting older and I eventually want a career, but I also want a family as well.

How applying to Medical School helped me apply to PA School

Just filling out the application itself was something that I was already used to having filled out so many medical school applications. So that was one of the things. And during my medical school application time, I had read the book “DOING RIGHT” as I feel like a lot of Pre-PAs and pre-med students, had done the same and I attended a lot of MMI’s for medical school as well.

And even though I never actually got into medical school, I found just going through the process of an MMI interview had really helped me with my PA MMI interview. And so I actually didn’t really prepare for my PA interview at all because I had so much experience from my medical school apps previously.

Why I’m glad I pursued PA

I’m really glad I pursued the PA profession for the people I met in the program specifically. I’m grateful it took me 5-6 years after undergrad to get here, I’m glad that it took me that long because if I had gotten in at any other year, I wouldn’t have met the people that I’ve met.

. In addition to that, I also feel like I finally found something that I’m able to pursue medicine yet still have the good work-life balance that I want.