Hi! This is me, Rachael. Some of you have been reading this blog for a while, welcome back! For others, this is your first time here. I wanted to write a piece that was a little more personal, because I want you all to know me more, and what motivates me.
I was thinking a lot about how hard you guys are hustling to get to PA school. I get the privilege of hearing your stories, your challenges, your triumphs. That’s why I love being a part of PA Trek. Hearing how hard you guys are pushing to become a medical provider constantly reminds me why this job is important. When I was trying to get into PA school 13 years ago, that was almost all I focused on. For a period in my life, I couldn’t imagine doing anything besides working with patients. It became a reality for me when I graduated from Philadelphia University in 2007. What I didn’t know at that point in time, was how my journey would twist and turn. My priorities changed. My strengths turned out to be much different than I envisioned. The opportunities that I helped to create for myself completely changed how I viewed my possibilities as a PA.
So often the scope of a PA is presented as a negative thing. We are less than a doctor. We are limited. We can’t do certain things. Our profession unwittingly pigeon holes us into the category of “minion”. I felt that way for a long time. A “worker bee” was how many people described my role. There is nothing wrong with being a part of a team. No provider operates independently, even if they like to give the impression that they do. Its your mindset while you are on that team. If someone is limiting my advancement or putting down my ideas because “I am only a PA”, that is a problem. Just remember, you are the only one who can remove your limitations. If you believe the rhetoric around your scope of practice, then you may be limiting your opportunities. Who knows where your degree could take you? Here are some things that I was able to do with my degree that totally surprised me.
- Be an expert- I spent a large portion of my career in the ER. My current practice setting is the Urgent Care and I am often asked questions on how to manage higher acuity patients. Doctors are asking me questions. I never thought that I would be a resource to other providers.
- Be a teacher- occasionally I am asked by local PA programs to be a guest lecturer. If you would have asked me when I was 20 if I would be standing in front of a classroom teaching grad level science courses I would have rolled my eyes. I never saw myself as capable of that. Turns out, I really enjoy teaching and I’m good at it!
- Be an entrepreneur- there are a lot of ways to use your medical knowledge. I started PA Trek four years ago with no business background. I allowed my passion for mentoring to help grow a really cool business.
- Be creative- I write blog pieces for the AAPA. I’ve always enjoyed writing but I never thought that an organization like the AAPA would think I Was good enough. But I put myself out there and now I am a regular contributor.
- Be an advocate- Being a PA is a lot of responsibility, and it extends beyond the exam table. We get the privilege to have a voice when it comes to policies in our clinics, and in the great society. Our opinions can help drive polices that allow more people to get access to healthcare.
There are so many possibilities that higher education unlocks. Don’t focus on the things you can’t do, and don’t let others cast shade on your dreams either. If you believe that the limitations define you, then they will. This career is not given to anyone and once you achieve your degree, don’t be afraid to take it to the next level. Let us know in the comments what you plan on doing with your degree, or what things you accomplished with it!