Shadowing is a great way to learn about how PAs practice, the nature of the PA/MD relationship, how a PA is incorporated in a certain practice setting (e.g. Family medicine, vs. ER, vs. specialty practice like Plastic Surgery or Nephrology) and whether this is a health care profession you’d be interested in pursuing.
Finding a PA can be challenging compared to shadowing other health care providers. There are 26,000 Physicians in Ontario, 115,792 registered nurses in Ontario, and ~300 PAs in Ontario. There are usually several logistics involved with taking on a PA observers who is not a medical learner through a university (e.g. medical student, PA student). Our numbers do continue to grow and PAs do their best to accomodate requests!
If you are unable to obtain a shadowing experience, speaking with a PA over the phone to ask them about their day to day is also extremely helpful to gain insights. Also note that PA shadowing experiences are NOT a requirement to get into Canadian PA schools, and conducting an informational interview with a PA can be very insightful as well. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request to speak to a PA and they can connect you to a PA to speak with.
Read Tips to Maximize your PA shadowing experience.