Thursday, October 3, 2013


This weekend is the California Academy of Physician Assistant (CAPA) Annual Conference in sunny Palm Springs. The theme this year is 2013 PAs Trending! 

If you are going to the conference please send me an email if you would like to meet up!

I have been asked to share the following with any of you that are going to the conference.

  • The Student Track is open ONLY to current PA students. 
  • Guest Registration will only get you into just the exhibit hall.  There is a lot to see in the exhibit hall, so if you did get the guest registration please visit the vendors!
Enjoy your weekend!!! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2nd Year of PA School is Underway!

If you have not noticed by the lack of posts, but I am back at school.  We are actually the 5th week of school, and if is flying by!!!  Here is a quick rundown of what is keeping me busy:

  • Women's Health Module- there is so much going on down there!!
  • Student group registration
  • Student group funding paperwork
  • Health Fair Planning
  • Girlfriend
  • Clinical skills
  • ¡Español!
  • emails......more emails....
What is coming up?
PA Week= October 6-12 !!!!
Please checkout AAPA's website=> and see how you can help promote the PA Profession. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Top 5 Goals for my Second Year of PA School

Here is a recent blog post I wrote that was published on the website.

Please check it out here:

Thank you to the Dan Wagener and everyone at the AAPA for giving me the opportunity to blog for the Also thank you for all of your editing help.

Friday, August 30, 2013

In Need of Anatomy & Physiology Help?

Recently I spoke to pre-PAs at an Information Session for the physician assistant program that I attend (USC) and I was reminded of a very useful application (app) called Visible Body. I would like to thank Erica Batres for reminding me! (She also writes a very interesting blog which I encourage you all to check out:

Visible Body is actually the parent company for several useful anatomy and physiology study app. These various apps are simple and easy to use that allows you to move various anatomic structures 360 degrees and hide or show certain structures.

Their various products include:

Here is a link to their store!
They also offer a free trial!!!!! >>>>

*** I do not get any money from this company. Several people in my class use this application along with one of our professors.

I wish I had this when I was in undergrad.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Life Rolls On...

I have been volunteering with a group called Life Rolls On for several summers now and it is an amazing experience every time. Life Rolls On (LRO) is a subsidiary of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (That is Superman if you did not know). LRO is a non-profit organization to provides opportunities for people with varying levels of paralysis. One of their goals is to "inspire others to see the boundless possibilities beyond paralysis" and they do a great job!

There flagship program is called They Will SURF Again (TWSA) and it is the program that I have been involved with. They also have They Will SKATE Again and They Will SKI Again programs that offer unique opportunities. Below is a video which will do a lot better explaining the event then I would. Plus I think it provides more emotion then I could in my writing.

We are LRO from Life Rolls On on Vimeo.

Here are some pictures:

I also want to highlight a special athlete, his name is Patrick Ivison.  He is very active in a physical sense and in the community. He is also a USC Trojan and attends there film school. He has a really impressive resume which I can not go into here because it is just to long. Please check out this video on him:

I hope this inspires you to get out there and volunteer within a community you enjoy helping!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Do PAs Intubate? You Bet!!!

Dr. Lary Mellick is part of the Emergency Medicine and Pediatric Faculty at Georgia Regents University and he also has an amazing YouTube channel that I encourage you all to check out. Here is the link:  He also has a blog which you can read here:

But I want to bring your attention to a recent video he posted. Please check it out:

Important PA Related Legislation!!!

"Obscure language tucked into a 2,225-page proposed regulatory rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) threatens to disrupt the important role of PAs and other qualified licensed practitioners in the hospital admissions process by mandating new requirements that limit the ability of PAs and NPs to admit patients." - Source

Please check out the link above, and contact your representative in government!

This is a picture from the recent AAPA Conference in Washington, D.C.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Have you heard of the PANCE? No not your pants!

PANCE stands for Physician Assistant National Certification Exam.  The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistant (NCCPA) is responsible for creating and maintaing the integrity of the PANCE. Basically they make sure the PANCE is difficult and that if you are able to pass that test you are going to be fit to be a PA (at least on paper). If you are starting PA school soon it would behove (yes I just used that word) you to look at the student section of their website and check out the content blueprint they give for the exam.

(Notice I used Skitch here. What is Skitch? Check out my previous blog post: When studying gets difficult don't itch SKITCH)

They break it down by Organ System and Task

What I have done is focus on the organ systems, and I created a PANCE notebook within my Evernote (How I use Evernote Part 1 and Part 2). I then created a note for each organ system and within each note I retyped up the diseases that is given in the blueprint. And it was nice to see that I have covered most of them in my first year of PA school. Then I started linking the disease to my previous notes and objectives on the same topic.  This is all with the idea that one it comes time for studying the PANCE I have a very complete and organized study guide. (Is this idea a little OCD, probably but hey if it helps you all I am happy to share.) 

If you have started using Evernote, please let me know how it is going. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Antidotes for Addiction....

Recently I was contacted about an interesting infographic and I thought I would share it with you all.

When studying gets difficult don't itch.... SKITCH!!!

Skitch is an awesome app that you can find in the Evernote Trunk.  It allows you to modify and mark up notes in various ways. Here is Skitch's short overview:

Bellow I show how I use Skitch for studying in PA school . I have also used in making annotated images for presentations and handouts.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Evernote in PA School (Part 2)

I would like to say that I am not paid by Evernote, in fact I pay them for a premium membership. But with that said I think they have an awesome product and I am happy to share my experience with the product with all of you.

Also I would like to Screenflick. Which is the software I used to make these quick videos. It took me a while to settle on a particular software and I think given the features, price and ease of use I made the right choice. In the future I will see if I can get the quality even better. Any suggestions are welcome!

At USC all of the lecture material is posted prior to class, so this is what I do prior to class:

Once I am in lecture this is how I take notes:

This is how I organize notes by a notebook and how to merge notes:

This is how to tag notes and view by tagged notes:

If you have questions or comments please let me know. I am interested in learning how you use Evernote already and in the future.  Coming up I will highlight how I use Skitch which works seamlessly with Evernote and does some amazing things. If you like Evernote you are going to love Skitch.  Check out the other products Evernote has to offer:

You can also check out The Trunk which has other apps that work well with Evernote.

After working on making these video, I think I have realized how big of a nerd I am...
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Thursday, August 1, 2013

What do you know about the history of the PA profession?

I could write some interesting introduction here... but I can not come up with anything better then giving you the direct link to the Physician Assistant History Society (PAHx).  They have put together a wealth of information and I HIGHLY encourage everyone to check out there website and read about the history of PA profession.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Taking Notes with Evernote in Physician Assistant School (PART 1)

If you have been reading this blog you should know by now that I use Evernote for my note taking in class. (If you missed that check out this post)  I promised a long time a go I would show how I use Evernote to take notes and since I am going to speak to students about it soon, so I thought it was time I delivered on the promise that I made to you all first.

To get yourself acquainted with Evernote  start by going to there website and check out this video below:
Evernote is free so regardless if you decide to use it to takes notes you can still use it to help organize your life. If you are going to use it for school like I have I would highly recommend you go Premium which costs about $5.00/month or $45.00/year. Given all of its benefits and the fact that you can use it across all aspects of your life (not just school) I think its a pretty small price. Plus they run promotions so look out for those.

Lets go over some of the basics of Evernote:

  • What is a Note? 
    • Think of this as just one page in a note book. In this case the note is digital and can hold a lot more text, pictures and audio then a traditional note in a notebook.
  • What is a Notebook?
    • This is simply a place to organize/place several notes.  You will probably start out with just an "inbox" notebook. You can create notebooks as you need them.  For my Topics In Medicine (TIM) class I will create 2 notebooks per module (Dermatology, Cardiology, etc). One for class notes and the other for objectives. I will show examples in videos to come. 
  • What is a Stack?
    • A stack is simply a collection of Notebooks.  For me after I finish a particular module  I will create a Stack with different notebooks related to that module. This is very easy because all it involves is simply dragging and dropping.
  • What is a Tag?
    • Think of a Tag as adding a sticky color thing to a note with in a notebook. I will use Tags to keep track of different subsections with in a Notebook as well as to keep track of where the Note came from (ie which professor presented it).  For example when we get a pharmacology lecture for a module I will tag all the notes regarding pharmacology with something like: "Dermatology Pharmacology"
  • Searching
    • Keep in mind one of the powerful things about Evernote is that you can search all of your notes, just within in particular Notebooks, or Stacks, or even by a Tag. The above features described along with the search power allows you to find things quickly, stay organized and access information quickly. 

For now open an Evernote account and start playing around with it. I think you will find it easy to manage. If you need some help you can check out their video section of their website here:|1|1

Coming up I will post a video on how I make notes from a Powerpoint presentation, edit them, organize them and so on.

Follow Evernote on Facebook and Twitter +Evernote .
Follow me on Twitter @AspiringPAhelp

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Postgraduate PA Programs ...what are they?

A postgraduate PA program is similar to the idea of a residency for a physician. These program offer PAs the opportunity to gain more training and experience in a specific field of medicine. These programs very in length, admissions requirements, class size, and compensation. However to give you an idea I would say these programs can last from 12 months to 18 months, require you to have passed the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certification Exam) and have become certified in the state where the program is located.  Most class sizes are between 2 to 4 or 6 people, and your compensation will most likely be on the lower end of the average salary but remember you are going to come out of there program with a wealth of knowledge and experience that will make you more marketable.

-Is a postgraduate PA program necessary?
Absolutely not!!! Please know that they are completely voluntary!!!

-Should you attend a postgraduate PA program?
If you are a Pre-PA it is way to early to start considering this, but I do think its important to know that these options are out there. Some PAs are in favor of post graduate PA programs and others are against the idea. In my opinion, I am glad these types of programs are available to PAs, it provides us an additional opportunity to improve our skills as health care providers. Each PA will have to make a calculated decision on whether or not to attend a program.

-Where can you learn more about these programs and see a list of all the ones available?
Check out the Association of Postgraduate PA Programs (APPAP).

PA Focus a Great Resource for the Pre-PA!!!

The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) has put together a great site for Pre-PAs. Please check it out here ==>>

You can also follow them on Twitter => @pa_focus

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lets Talk Textbooks

-What textbooks did I use in my first year of PA school?
Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment (CMDT) 2014

FYI:  From what I have seen over the years (undergraduate and graduate school) you pretty much can't go wrong with a "LANGE" book.  (That's just my 2 cents).
Bates Guide to Physical Exam and History Taking, 10th Edition

Physician Assistant: A Guide to Clinical Practice 
Conversational Spanish for the Health Professions 3rd Edition

(We did not use this one, but it was suggested in the past: Spanish for Health Care Professionals)

When it came to our Dermatology Module we had some great lectures but we also referenced this book: Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology

For our EKG module we used this book to get us stated: Rapid Interpretation of EKGs 6th Edition

To help us in reading and understanding x-rays it was suggested that we read this book or at least parts: Learning Radiology: Recognizing the Basics

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Interested in Emergency Medicine?


Of course!!!!  Well maybe not everybody is interested in emergency medicine,  but it is a rotation you will have to do once in PA school.  There is a ton to learn about emergency medicine the PA and patient interactions are a bit different then in a regular outpatient private office setting and an inpatient service.  To help you get a better idea of  the challenges in an emergency department check out the resources below:

This is one of my favorites!! It is easy listening and very entertaining.



ER Cast's Rob Orman

The EDexit Video

To many to list...

I hope this sparks your interest and gets you studying. If you know of any other great resources please post in the comments below.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

PAs in Global Medicine

- How can U.S. PAs become involved in Global Medicine? 

Mission Statement- 
To promote cross cultural awareness and serve as a resource for Physician Assistant services to domestic and international health professional shortage areas.

Reading List- 
This is a reading list I picked up from them at the AAPA Conference in Washington D.C. back in May. 

They also have their own blog!! Check it out here ==>>

Monday, July 8, 2013

Are there PAs outside of the United States?

The simple answer is YES!

-Are the PAs in other countries the same as the PAs here in the U.S.?
Yes and NO.  Some of the PAs in other countries are PAs that trained here in the U.S.  However there are several countries with their own PA programs.

-Where is the PA model being used?

-Why should Pre-PAs care about this topic?
     Is this topic going to help you get into PA school today? No. But it will provided you with more information about a unique aspect of the PA profession. I think it is also important to keep in mind that as the PA profession grows and expands across the globe there will be more and more opportunities for U.S. trained PAs. Along with possible job opportunities there will be immense networking and information sharing opportunities. I hope PAs form all over the world will be able to meet at international conferences to share patient care and quality health care ideas to improve the health care of the world.

I know international conferences, I must be crazy! NOPE there will be one in the Netherlands on November 6th and 7th in 2014


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Have you heard of "Spice" or "Purple Drank", what about "Molly"?

All of the above are emerging/present drugs of abuse. Haven't heard of them?  Thats ok!!!

Drugs coming from the "streets" are always changing and progressing and its difficult even for users to keep up with all of them (I am guessing).

Where can you learn more about these drugs and state up to date?
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIHDA)

You can also follow them on Twitter:

You can also follow me on Twitter:


PA Foundation

-What is the Physician Assistant Foundation? 
In simple terms the PA Foundation is the AAPA's philanthropic arm. It was started in 1977 at the AAPA's Educational and Research Foundation and was known as this until 1991. In 1991 the name was officially changed to Physician Assistant Foundation and it adopted a new mission - "fostering knowledge and philanthropy that enhance the delivery of quality healthcare"- and a focus of "advancing healthcare through philanthropy". (1)  With these changes the organization expanded its programs to what now includes community-based project grants, research fellowshipstudent scholarships and more. (I think it is always important to review an organization's mission, vision and goals, so I have provided them below)

     Mission- To foster better health through better care.
     Vision- Patient-centered, team-based, quality healthcare for all ages
          Outreach- Resources to promote the physician assistant workforce and foster innovative practice
          Education- Programs, tools and resources that assist PAs in providing better healthcare to their patients
          Visibility- Promotion of PAs and their practice to patients, caregivers and other health professionals
          Capacity Building- A robust, viable, self-sustaining organization

-What is A PAramount Evening?
A PAramount Evening is a dinner hosted by the PA Foundation every year at IMPACT which is AAPA's annual conference. It is a fundraising opportunity for the foundation, as well as a great networking opportunity.  I was able to attend this years dinner where I met several great PAs, PA students and amazing U.S. Marine, Lt. Col. Justin Constantine. The food was good and the experience was amazing! Here is a list of those that were recognized. (Please click on the people's names to see a video about them and the work they have done. Also a special thank you to AAPA for putting these videos together. They are inspirational!)

     This years PA Foundation Award:
          Caring for Communities- Bread for the City
     This years AAPA PAragon Awards:
           President's Award- John Trimbacth PA-C
           Eugene A. Stead Award of Achievement- Ron Nelson PA-C
           Outstanding PA of the Year Award- Jeff Callard PA-C
           Publishing Awards- 
                Research- Marcia Bouton PA-C
                Clinical- Christopher Castellano PA-C
           Preceptor of the Year Award- Joseph Cohen PA-C
           Federal Service PA of the Year Award- Earl Morse PA-C
           PA Service to The Underserved Award- Sixtus Atabong PA-C
           Humanitarian PA of the Year Award- Erle Canfield PA
           Health Monitor Life Changer Award- Kyra Downing PA-C
I could not find a video on Mrs. Downing but I do have a quote from Linda H. the patient that nominated her for the award:
"Kyra sent me for an ultrasound because she didn't like the result of the office EKG. The ultrasound showed a benign tumor in my heart. If left untreated, it would have eventually caused a heart attack. Soon after I had an open heart surgery. The tumor was taken from the wall of my heart. I have been given a second chance. Thank you, Kyra Downing, for being an excellent PA."- Linda H. (2)
*I would also like to thank the PA Foundation for the cards giving to everyone in attendance. Very cool!
-Why should Pre-PAs know about this organization?
Pre-PAs need to know about the PA Foundation for several reasons. The first and arguable the most important for the Pre-PA is that they offer the only Pre-PA Scholarship that I know of!  Yes a scholarship specifically for PRE-PAs!!!  If you have not clicked on the two previous links to go to their web page on the Pre-PA scholarship please click HERE!  Why else should you know about this organization?  The offer PA Student Scholarships. In addition they recognize your fellow (or soon to be fellow) colleagues, provide you opportunities to volunteer and give back and are overall just a great organization.

If you have any questions please feel free to email me or check out the PA Foundation website by clicking on their logo at the top of this post.

To show your support to the PA Foundation please check out ways to give

1. Vision, Mission, History. Physician Assistants Foundation. Available at: Accessed June 5, 2013. 
2. PArtners in PAtient Education. PA Professional. May 2013:7.

Please note I do not know how to do a superscript when composing in Blogger so the "(#)" will be what I use for referencing.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

PAs Took Washington, D.C.

Here is a video highlight of the conference from AAPA:


I had an awesome experience at AAPA's IMPACT 2013 in Washington, D.C..  Here is a brief summary of my trip:

Saturday May 25
I arrived early in the morning after taking a red eye and met up with two classmates that I was sharing a room with. We headed over to the conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, where I checked-in. The first talk we went to was called Rapid Response...The Approach to the Acutely Ill Patient by Paul Szczybor PA-C . This was an interesting talk and a good review of you basics in an emergency situation. It was also nice to see how PAs could play an integral role in the rapid response team (RRT) in a hospital setting. If you want to learn more about PAs and RRTs pleas check out this article (this is not from the conference).

Next we attended the Adolescent Medicine Sports Injury Cases, which was a good review/motivator on common orthopedic problems. This talk was done my Dr. Andrew Gregory who works at Vanderbilt's Orthopedic Department, and was also a member of Men's National Volleyball team. Vanderbilt has an iTunes channel you may want to check out.   This was not from the talk but here is some more pediatric orthopedic problems to check out.

Next we attended PVC Pipes Leaking or Clogged- Clotting Issues and Anemia 101: To Low, No Go which were both presented by Allan Platt PA-C, MMSc. These two talks were a great review for some hematology issues. I also noticed the more interesting the title the more interesting the talk (keep that in mind the next time you attend a conference).  Mr. Platt was also an interesting character and if you every get a chance to here him speak I encourage you to check it out. He is the Academic Coordinator and Board Review Coordinator at Emory University. Here are some great educational resources: EMORY (scroll down when you get to page).

Sunday May 26
It was a beautiful day, so we did not do much conference stuff. We walked all around D.C. checking out different attractions.

Monday May 27
We started the day with talk by Dr. Richard Cantor on Current Drugs of Abuse, which was very informative, shocking, and funny. If you are interested in drug abuse here is a great place to get started: National Institute on Drug Abuse.

We also attended the Emergency Medicine Procedures: An In-depth and Internal View by Jeff W. Hinshaw, MS, PA-C, NREMT-P. This talk was really cool and a bit over my head. Mr. Hinshaw talked about many ways to manage airways and provided several videos. He also provided videos on what it looked like from inside the patient, when you put in various airway devices which was very interesting. I can not find any of the videos he used (so far..) but here are some videos from a quick YouTube search, check them out here.

That night I met up with other classmates at the National Medical Challenge Bowl!  While our team did not win, we all had a lot of fun and it was a great experience. I do want to say congratulations to Stanford team which got into the finals via a wild card. AAPA has not posted a video of the event yet, but when they do I will post it. (You should subscribe to AAPA's YouTube channel if you have not done so already.)

Tuesday May 28
Tuesday started with General Session talk involving Former Senator and Founder of Caring for Military Families: The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Elizabeth Dole (here is a video clip of her speech), past AAPA President Robert Wooten PA-C (PA Man), and current Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,  Kathleen Sebelius. AAPA has put together an extensive set of resources of PAs helping veterans, please check it out here.

I attended a few more sessions this day and then at night I was lucky enough to go to the PAramount Evening which is to benefit the Physician Assistant Foundation.  More to come on this night later...

Wednesday May 29
Capitol Hill Day...more to come on this topic later.

Thursday May 30
This was my last day in D.C. and I was able to visit Arlington National Cemetery, which I encourage everyone to do. I would like to say thank you to all that have served this country, gave their lives for this country and a special thank you to their families.

Here are some pictures from my travels

Friday, May 24, 2013

End of the First Year!

I have made it to the end of my first year of PA school!! Thank you to all that read my blog and send in questions. During the summer I will do my best to keep my response time to as quick as possible. 

I am very thankful that I get a summer break and I can't believe this is the last one of my life!!! (WOW!) I have already gotten back to a more relaxed sleeping schedule. In regards to PA school here are some of the things I will be working on this summer: 

- Pharmacology- I will be reviewing my pharm book and lectures. There was a clear trend in reviewing my tests over the past year and pharm questions were where I lost most of my points. 

-Endocrinology- was another area I do not feel confident in. Diabetes is a big problem and there is a ton to know about it. Also Metabolic syndrome or Syndrome X is increasing in prevalence and is even more complex then diabetes ( I think). How am I going to be tackling this? I am going to start w/ my notes from class and then work back to the book. My focus is on the basics here and as I review and boot my confidence I move on to practice questions. 

-Dermatology was another area I did not feel too confident in. I think this is because everything looks very similar to me. Also when you see patients there skin condition can be at various stages and look very different, thus adding to my confusion.  How am I going to tackle this? I will be reviewing Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 

-Cardiology and Orthopedics were some of my favorites subjects and I will enjoy reading and reviewing them more this summer. 

In addition to reviewing, I will be working, relaxing and vacationing anywhere possible.  This Memorial Day weekend and week I will be in Washington, D.C. for AAPA's IMPACT 2013 Conference. I will be doing my best to tweet (@AspiringPAhelp) and post from the conference on interesting topics and anything pertinent to Pre-PAs. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New PA Program in Southern California

The Southern California College of Optometry (yes they will be changing their name soon!) is holding an open house on Saturday August 10 from 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM for their new Physician Assistant Program. To find out more about the school please check out their website:

To RSVP for the Open House go here ==>

All prospective students, family and friends are welcome!
SATURDAY, AUGUST 10, 2013 REGISTRATION: 8:30 am – 9:00 am PROGRAM: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm At the Open House you will...
● Enjoy testimonials from current physician assistants
● Learn about the PA Program and admissions process from Allison Takeda, Assistant Director of Admissions
● Interact with MBKU students and faculty
space is limited, you must rsvp to attend this event. please rsvp by August
1, 2013 at sccopaopenhouse2013.event
contact info:
MBKU has applied for accreditation pending approval from the Western Association of 2575 yorba linda blvd. fullerton, ca 92831
Schools and Colleges (WASC), and provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on the 714.992.7808
Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC- PA). MBKU anticipates matriculating its first class in August 2014, pending WASC approval and accreditation–provisional from ARC-PA. Accreditation–Provisional is an accreditation status for a new PA program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its initial accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation Standards.


I have been very busy lately and apologize for not having posted this earlier.   I want to thank all of the people that made the 2nd Pre-PA conference a success!  I had help from so many people, and so many offers it was a bit overwhelming at times.  I have posted some pictures from the conference below. 

I would also like to thank Dan Wagener who runs one of AAPA's blogs called PAs Connect. He gave me an amazing opportunity to write a blog post for their site and I am deeply honored. Please checkout and bookmark AAPA 2 microblogs: and  Here is the link to the article I wrote:  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Another Great Pre-PA Blog

Hello All!

If you are looking for another website with PA related material I suggest you check out:  Mr. Kubin PA-C created the site and is a graduate of UC Davis PA Program. His website is a wealth of information.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Right now there are several Pre-PAs celebrating the exciting news of acceptance. Unfortunately there are also many more not celebrating acceptance to a PA. For the majority of those not celebrating, it is most likely due to the lack of seats not your qualifications! KEEP YOUR HEAD UP!!!!!

Whether you fall in either of the above described categories or you are just trying to figure out this PA thing please see the below for inspiration and motivation to keep you going!!!

#1 (This is my number one motivational source!)
ET The Hip Hop Preacher!!!

#2 No matter your situation, do what you love and you will be happy!

#3 A life of service feels so good!


Thursday, February 14, 2013


I am excited to announce that there will be another Pre-Physician Assistant Conference!! Here is the link to register:   Please see they picture below for more information!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

PA Student Essentials!!!!

I wish this website existed when I was a Pre-PA!  If you are a Pre-PA, in PA school or are any way interested in the Physician Assistant Profession please take the time to look at this website:

The publishers have done a lot of work, and it looks great!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

What is a mission statement? Why is it important? Do you have one? Does the program you are applying to have one? Have you read it?

A program's mission statement is important and you should take the time to read and reflect on the ideas guiding a program. Hopefully the programs you are applying to have a focus and values similar to yours. At the very least you should read it and know it for the interview or any supplemental applications you may write. 

Do you have a mission statement? What about a written out list of goals? List of values?  If you don't I encourage you to HAND write out a list of goals. I a, guessing if you are reading this one of your goals is to get into PA school. Start by writing it down and then work from there. Another option is to write your top three on a small piece of paper and keep it in your wallet, so every time you buy something you are reminded of your goals. Wherever you choose to put your goals or mission statement I encourage you to hand write it. I know from personal experience and from what I have heard over the years that hand writing your goals is much more powerful then typing them or just leaving them in your mind.  Write it down, make it real, keep them in front of you and stay focused! 

Happy studying! PAs ROCK!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Is PA school fun?

Yes! Well it can be, if you make it fun. So far my class has organized some fun events. Here are some of the fun stuff we have done:
- color run
- interprofessional bowling night
- potluck parties
- monthly birthday celebrations
- Clippers game
- conferences
- lunch/dinner/ drinks together
-fundraisers- group dinners, pie throwing contests! 
See PA school is not all studying all the time! At least it should not be. Balance is important, exercise keeps you sane, sleep is a necessity not a once in a while thing. I think it is important to keep in mind that you may learn about a lot of new topics or diseases during your first year but remember that this is not the last time you are going to see the stuff. You will see a lot of it again during clinical rotations (I think, if I don't see them in clinic, I will come back and edit this part). You will see things again and again, don't beat yourself up if you don't get everything the first time! You are going to have to look over things again and again, try and lay down a solid foundation and then add layers of knowledge with each re-visit /review. 

On that note happy studying! But go for a run first you will absorb more when you study after!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Top 5 Resources for the first semester!

This is a post I had originally created for a friends blog but thought I should post it here too. In the future I am planing on adding more about how I use Evernote. Enjoy! (Sorry for some of the weird spacing I originally created it in Word and have had some trouble w/ it copying over.)

Before I started at USC, the program decided to go as paperless as possible. With this decision, there have been a few hurdles but many benefits! It has challenged us (the students) to modify our learning strategies and for some implement new note taking strategies. Thanks to my super smart classmates, I was introduced to several great electronic resources. Here is my top 5 Resources that got me through this semester.

5. Mindmeister allows you to create “mind maps”, like those though thought maps you may have had to make before writing an essay when you were a kid. You can create a free Basic account, which allows you to create up to 3 maps, share, collaborate and import. These maps can get quite large! I would suggest using the map to organize and summarize large subjects. You can minimize and expand different sections, which allows you to not become overwhelmed with all you have to learn.  You can also get it on your iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. When your maps get really large, you can easily use the search feature in the bottom right corner to find whatever you are looking for!

<= Search Function                       

You can also add connecting arrows, which helps unite important facts or concepts.

Quizlet and Study Blue are two great flashcard applications. Both offer free accounts, flashcard sharing, and very easy to use features. I used Study Blue in undergrad and switched to Quizlet once I started PA school only because the class ahead of us had used it and we could easily find and use the flashcards they had already set up. Study Blue is available on your Apple, and Android devices and in the Amazon app store.  For Quizlet I downloaded the Flashcards Deluxe app to my iPad and I am easily able to access my Quizlet flashcards. You can also uses theses apps to make picture flashcards that can come in very handy for your dermatology and radiology module. Tip: always make sure the flashcards you are studying are correct and accurate!

3. Your local whiteboard!
I know this is not very high tech but it’s a valuable resource that I think many students tend to under utilize. For me I used it in reviewing and drawing out anatomy and physiological processes. Near the end of the semester I also used it before we would start a module to help me plan out my attack for that specific module. Plus, using the whiteboard allows be to only have to carry around white board pens instead of notebooks and stacks of papers. Here are some examples of how I used it:

2.  YouTube
I did not start using this GREAT resource until my last module and I have no idea why. There are probably millions, maybe even billions of videos on the Internet and there are many for each disease we have to know. After reading our go to text book I would do a quick search on youtube and try to pick out a good video that would help me review or remember the disease. I would also copy and past the movie link into my notes on that disease that way I can use it in my review later. I found this especially helpful when dealing with very visual topics or ones that I had little previous experience. Give it a try and you will be surprised! (Just don’t get stuck on youtube watching those videos of surgeries, or I&D videos for too long). Plus they now have youtube for your iPad and iPhone and Android devices.

1. My friend and classmate Josh Miller introduced my to how useful Evernote can be (he also gets credit for introducing me to Mindmeister).  Evernote is where I keep all my lecture notes, objectives and just about everything related to school.  I pay for a premium membership, which allows you us to upload almost an endless number of notes per month and when each slide of a PowerPoint is a note there can be many notes in a month. It also allows you to access your notebooks (you can create various notebooks for different subjects) offline. So when your traveling or your power goes out you can still access all your notes. Other advantages of using Evernote include:
  • Automatic backup of your notes (while connected to the internet) (can you imagine your computer dies that weekend before a big test and there goes all your note!- THIS HAPPENS, do not think you are the exception!!!)
  • You can download Evernote on you iPad, iPhone, and android devices. That means you have access to all of your notes all of the time!! Only us study hungry PA students can understand this kind of excitement. I have take advantage of this on many occasions (waiting in lines, while someone else is driving you, at dinner when your significant other is not looking you can double check which CN are innervating your face).
  • You can easily organize all of your notes. Note can be organized into notebooks and tagged with a tag. For example if your professor spends a lot time on a certain subject/slide or flat out tells you need to know this, you can tag the note with “Memorize” or “Need to know”. You can also use the tag “clinical” which will help you before you go clinical rotations when you go back to review. Once you start to accumulate many notes with the same tag across many notebooks you can easily view them choosing to view by the tag instead of by notebook. This also you to create connections across different subjects.
  • Each note has a link that you can put in other notes to help you connect the dots of various subjects or important ideas.
  • One of my favorite features is the search function. When someone (or yourself) can’t quite remember what the certain thing was, you can do a quick search across all notes or within certain tags or notebooks and QUICKLY find that answer. Without Evernote this could take you minutes to sometimes hours!
  • Evernote also have a great blog with helpful tips and tricks. As well as a several other apps that you can use in conjunction with Evernote to enrich your experience.

I know this may sound scary to try and use any or all of these resources but I promise you that they are all very user friendly and easy to learn. I use Evernote heavily and it probably deserves a whole blog post of its own.