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Pre-PA Student in NEED of patient care hours

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by FOG0917, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. FOG0917


    Jun 2, 2008
    I am a returning student with a B.S. in Biology. I have just 3 more pre-coursework classes to complete before applying to PA programs. Now that my semester load is light, I would like to use my free time to focus on getting the required direct patient care hours.

    I've looked over some of the accepted categories for patient care experience for PA programs, but all of them require either a certification or an associates degree. For example: EMT/Paramedic, Medical Assistant, Physical Therapist, Medical Tech, ER Tech, Phlebotomist, etc.

    Here's my concern...Would I still need to take MORE classes in addition to the classes I've already taken AND given the fact that I already have a bachelors degree? If not, how do I go about finding employment AS A STUDENT? Should I prepare a resume? Or do I stop by the HR departments of local hospitals, community health departments, or medical offices and explain my situation? I would prefer a paying position, but if volunteering is my only route to getting direct patient care experience, that's fine.

    Can someone PLEASE, PLEASE help me? :(
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  3. Mobius1985

    Mobius1985 7+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2007
    PA schools in my state require a minimum of 2000 paid patient-care hours before application. Hopefully, yours is less stringent. Patient aide positions in nursing homes generally don't require previous training (where I worked, anyway). Nor does work assisting dorm students who are unable to fully care for their own needs. There was a large population of differently-abled students at my previous undergrad school, and perhaps there is at your school as well. If volunteer time is accepted, working through a Hospice Program might be feasible for you, as they provide the training and hours are flexible. These are just some ideas that occurred to me. Hopefully others will chime in too.
  4. FourMoreYears

    FourMoreYears 2+ Year Member

    May 15, 2008
    To get paid working experience, go to local hospital's HR departments and apply for a patient care tech position. Some places require a CNA, Med. Tech certificate. Many do not. Pound the pavement. You should find something.

    You can also try volunteering through the Red Cross. I was placed in a military base ER.

    Good Luck!!!
  5. 177983


    Dec 2, 2007
    Central VA
    I agree with the above posters that you don't have to get further education to start working. Many hospitals will provide on the job training. My friend was a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) at a psych hospital. His first two weeks were paid training, then he was set to go. Another friend became a certified phlebotomist the same way. You might have to make a 1 year commitment or so to get this kind of thing, but then again, you need ~1 year of full-time work to get the full 2000 hours anyhow, so it should be no sweat off your back to commit to the year.
  6. Bluelotus024


    Apr 11, 2010
    Go Phlebotomy (~3 month + cert. exam), Accelerated EMT-Paramedic course (6 months + Cert. exam but will get all hours in class), or get Masters in Public Health (2-3 years, get time, get masters, have credibility, and look good). Never GO CNA (if you do you will hate yourself b/c of all that is required of you, remember you are not trying to be a nurse you want to be something like a doctor and most nursing homes will steal your SOUL), or any position requiring over 2 semesters unless it is a master's program.

    Keep your record clean at all costs. Any smudge or misconduct will kick you out of the medical profession FOREVER!!!!!!!!

    Work for hospital, company, or doctor's office (NO NURSING HOMES)

    Make medical professional friends and use your contacts to find the jobs that don't require cert. or Lic. but always be aware of your limitations.

    Get advise from people who know what they are talking about and only apply to programs that have reasonable requirements. 2000 is way too much require hours. 1000 is a bit much (4-5 months full time position), 500 is not that bad (1-2 months full time).

    If you have nothing so are then just get your Masters in Public Health which will give you the hours and protect your credits from being messed over by a 5 yr decay on undergraduate work.

    Take advise with a grain of sand and never do any actions with no understanding of it. PA and Medical Schools are a difficult and irritating process and you will have to hang in there.

    Best of wishes my friend
  7. Fireflies15


    Apr 7, 2014
    Hi Bluelotus024,
    I wanted to know how can Master in public health would help me get patient hours? I started at a community college and I looked at programs like emt and patient tech program but it all takes more than semester to complete. I am still in process of getting all my prerequisite done. I am trying to understand and plan how can I focus on getting a certification in any of these fields. it takes times and more importantly it takes time away from academic courses. can please suggest what to do for someone who just started on journey of considering PA as their path? thank you
  8. SN12357

    SN12357 2+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2013
    The MPH suggestion is a really bad one for someone who wants to be a PA, particularly someone asking explicitly about how they can get the necessary patient contact hours to even apply, which an MPH will be absolutely no help with. It is a gigantic waste of time AND money. One of my friends had an MPH, was working in public policy research, and ended up taking a big pay cut in order to get the necessary patient contact hours to apply to PA school. The MPH ultimately wasn't helpful at all towards the goal of getting into PA school. Time will eventually tell whether it was worth it in a larger career sense, but given the massive expense involved I think the answer is fairly likely to be no.

    In addition to the suggestions already made above for patient contact hours some clinical research assistant positions can count as patient contact house if they involve things like EKGs, blood draws, neuropsych testing, etc. I know some people who accumulated the necessary patient contact hours via working in entry level research jobs. However the viability of this varies greatly depending on the type of study or data collection being done.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
    Darth Doc and MedWonk like this.
  9. MedWonk

    MedWonk 高飛車 7+ Year Member

    May 13, 2010
    New England
    Sometimes scribing is accepted, sometimes not. I think to be safe, you should look into patient care tech jobs. There are ones where you don't have to have any certification and it is all on-the-job training. If that doesn't work, find the cheapest certification program and use that to get a patient care gig.
  10. Darth Doc

    Darth Doc 2+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2013
    I spent the 2 months to get a CNA certification in my state to get the required patient care hours. I also volunteered as a medical desk clerk at a charitable homeless healthcare office and worked in the office of my personal physician doing filing.

    There's a lot you could do, but I encourage you not to skimp on the experience portion. Those in my class with stronger experiences (nurses, paramedics) did MUCH better in the courses than the rest of us. The stronger and more hands on your experiences, the more you'll understand what you're learning and why.
    paolakit likes this.
  11. sazerac

    sazerac rye sense of humor 5+ Year Member

    Feb 26, 2012
    Lol, it was the difficulty in finding the 2,000 paid patient care hours that drove me from my pre-PA program and into applying to medical schools. When I threw in the extra year of academics it would take to become a licensed paramedic or LPN in order to then get a full time job for a year (nobody was hiring entry level EMT or CNA where I lived), going to med school was honestly the easier path.
  12. paolakit


    Jun 10, 2014

    I just called a program and asked them about this, and they said either CNA or phlebotomy was acceptable; neither preferred over the other. However, I understand your reasons for recommending not going into CNA. It is probably best to call the program you are interested in and seeing if they do have experience preferences.

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