Hired! New PA Grad Kali shares her experience on the job hunt

Kali is a graduate from the Manitoba Masters of Physician Assistant Studies. She is currently working on the frontlines at a COVID-19 Asessment Centre for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA).

Where I work now

I currently work for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) as a PA in Covid Assessment Centres.

There were 5 newly created PA positions, starting work in November 2020, to support outpatient COVID assessment in the form of episodic primary care.

Referrals (from numerous providers/agencies) are run through a centralized COVID Response Unit to book assessments within 24-48 hours (ideally same day).

Criteria to refer to the COVID-Assessment Centre includes:

  • COVID positive with worsening respiratory symptoms, not requiring urgent care or ER
  • COVID positive with primary care needs that can’t be seen at home clinic
  • COVID suspect with ILI

My position is unique in that I work at the only site taking walk-in Covid assessments. I am situated in the downtown core, servicing some of the city’s homeless and shelter populations.

We aim to be low barrier to care for those who do not have primary care providers or access to reliable forms of communication

The PA Job Hunt

When it comes to looking for your first job, I think you’re either an “apply to everything” person or “apply for what you really want” person. I was the former, but I don’t know what the right answer is.

Our class graduated one month early, but only half our class was employed at that time. I spent 100 days looking for a job. I was frustrated. I knew that I should enjoy my time and trust the process, but it was hard to watch classmates enter the workforce.

I ultimately want to work inpatient, but took my current role (1 year term) for the opportunity to work in something that was somewhat related to infectious diseases, while also keeping the broad generalist approach that comes with family medicine. Working in the setting of COVID-19 means adapting to constantly changing policies as new knowledge is uncovered.

I am considered “leadership” in my job, and influence new changes in the workplace on a regular basis.

Tips for New PA Grads

If you’re a PA student getting ready to apply for jobs, reflect on your experiences in PA school and career goals to help you decide where to focus your application efforts.

Have your resume ready (it’s a living document from now until the end of time), and reach out to your references ahead of time to confirm they are willing/able to say something nice about you.

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