Before and After Clinical: Two PA Students Share their Perspectives
August 27, 2015
The primary goal of Drexel’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program is to develop graduates who are competent, caring physician assistants, possessing the skills of life-long learning needed to incorporate new knowledge and methods into their practices and to adapt to a changing medical environment.
A key marker on the road to this profession is clinical training. At Drexel, the clinical training phase consists of six, five-credit, five-week clinical rotations in medicine, surgery, women’s health, pediatrics, emergency medicine and behavioral health, assigned in varying order in locations across the United States. The final portion of the clinical training phase curriculum consists of two, 10-credit, quarter-long, primary care practica (preceptorships). During these practica, each student is assigned to primary care sites for individualized clinical training with physician preceptors.
Two students, Amina Wirjosemito and Julia Jackson, at two different stages in their Drexel PA education – one four months from graduating and one in her first year, respectively – share their perspectives on the clinical phase of the Program and how each has benefitted from Drexel PA’s long-standing mentorship program.
Amina has just completed clinical at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, CT, where she worked in the Emergency Department. Reflecting on her experience, she said, “At this stage in the game we are starting to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it almost feels surreal. Job prospects are becoming a reality, and my clinical knowledge and skills are finally come together. It is so rewarding to look back at all of the hard work that we've put in so far and see how it is coming to fruition!”
Comparatively, Julia is preparing for her first rotation. Her six rotations will all be in different locations, including surgery at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center at Pomona, NJ; Adult Medicine at Mainland Cardiology Associates, Pomona, NJ; Behavioral Medicine at Wellington Retreat, Lantana, FL; Pediatrics at St. Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury, CT; Emergency Medicine, Camden, NJ; and last but not least OB/GYN at Alafia OBGYN in Millville, NJ. She said, “My first rotation is surgery and for me it’s quite intimidating. I am eager to learn from hands on experience and develop relationships with my co-workers and patients alike.
Though the experience is completely new for her, Julia can lean on her mentor, Amina, to share her insight. She sees her mentor as a “personal life jacket” and said, “She helps to build up my confidence when I have doubt, and also helps to relieve anxiety by telling me tips and tricks on how to make the most out of my future rotations.”
Amina has armed Julia with sound advice, encouraging her to be open-minded. “She needs to be confident in her abilities as a student, realize that the preceptors are NOT expecting her to know everything, and be open minded to experiencing everything she can in the clinical setting,” said Amina.
Their open-communication and supportive peer-to-peer relationship has benefitted Amina as much as it has Julia. “Julia is the most determined, driven and compassionate person I've ever met, and she has taught me the value of perseverance, especially in this really challenging program. She has also taught me to be humble, which is a quality that is hard to come by these days.”