New Ontario PA Grad Celina reflects on Finding Work

Celina Wu

I met Celina a few times while she was a first year PA student when I helped to facilitate the Casting Workshop at University of Toronto, and again seeing her at the CAPA Conference in Winnipeg in 2016. Celina’s experience with finding employment after graduation was unique, as she was employed before Health Force Ontario jobs were released in the fall of 2016. I thought it would be valuable to get her perspective on the job hunt

Some of her favourite elective rotations as a second year PA student:

  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences in Toronto Centre (Emergency Medicine, OB/GYN, and Cardiac Surgery)
  • a rotation in Pediatrics through Shigami Kwe in Sudbury, Ontario
  • an international elective in India for the Himalayan Health Exchange in rural medicine with Sandy, another fellow PA student (now grad) who documented the experience in her blog.

Celina is now employed in family medicine practice in Toronto. Here she discusses how she obtained employment shortly after graduating.

Celina Wu

Celina during her international elective in rural medicine for the Himalayan Health Exchange

When and how did you start preparing for the job process?

Theoretically, I prepared for the job process during my training as a student. I approached clinical rotations as if though I were “interviewing” for the positions and received a job offer after completing my rotation at my current clinic.

How was your job process different than your peers?

I had secured a job which is funded outside of Health Force Ontario (HFO) thus I felt less pressure during the HFO interviewing process. I thought I would see what my options were and applied to numerous HFO-funded positions – none of which mounted into anything significant.

How did you make your decision about where to work? 

I started working a month after graduating, before HFO funding was announced. I had already spent time in the clinic as a student, so there was a sense of comfort going back to familiar territory. Furthermore, the location of my clinic is my ideal location for work, namely downtown Toronto. I was apprehensive accepting any offers that was limited to a 1-year term, so I was more than happy to take on a permanent position at my clinic. While I did not immediately recognize the benefits of family medicine, I have come to quickly learn the perks of stability (10 am -6 pm, no weekends!) and the fulfillment of patient care continuity.

What do you think made you a successful candidate at the job of your choice?

I attribute the success of my job with working hard, being proactive and a bit of luck. I would spend longer hours at the clinic than required, help with any tasks that needed to be done, and developed great relationships with amazing staff (I could not be luckier!).

What tips do you have for new PA graduates when approaching employment?

I would encourage PA students to be proactive during their clinical rotations and express their interest(s) to their supervisors/employers. It is much easier, in my opinion, to land a job where you spend a month demonstrating your skills and knowledge than it is to compete with 60+ peers who on paper have the same experiences as you. Be proactive early!

How are you involved in PA advocacy? 

  • Answering pre-PA questions via in-person meeting, phone calls, emails
  • Sharing experience, notes, tips with current PA students
  • CAPA secretary, Board of Directors
  • UofT PA MMI file reviewer, MMI interviewer

Do you think its important to get involved?

I think it is EXTREMELY important to be involved. Given the novelty of the PA profession, I believe educating practitioners and the community of our roles and services is our duty as a PA. As a student, I received valuable advices and mentoring from countless PAs; now as a PA, I hope to be as supportive and inspiring to PA students/pre-PAs as my seniors have been to me (thanks Anne!).

About the Author

Celina Wu

Celina Wu is a physician assistant (PA) in family medicine and received her training at the University of Toronto. For her undergraduate degree, Celina was in a concurrent program in Kinesiology and Athletic Therapy at York University. Celina subsequently went to McGill University where she received her Master’s of Science in Neurosciences and published a first-author paper in the Journal of Neuroinflammation. In her spare time, Celina enjoys globetrotting, painting and learning about auto-mechanics.

Connect with Celina:
LinkedIn | CAPA Board of Directors

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