Shadowing a PA

Evan Bridges, pre-health student:

I came into this program with a basis of what shadowing was since I had done some in high school. I wanted to choose an oncologist to shadow this semester since that is the field of medicine that I am looking to go into, however the doctor was not available during my free times. I decided to shadow a PA instead. She works at a pain management clinic. I was blown away the first day that I went to their office. 

They were all so welcoming and the PA embraced me and never made me feel like I was in their way. She took me under her wing and let me follow her and the doctor around. I would ask questions and instead of just answering them she would get out the model of a spine and show me exactly where the doctor was putting the injection and which nerves traveled to which parts of the body. I learned so much about the spine and nervous system! Shadowing the PA and having her explain all these conditions and techniques to me made me excited to go home and do more research on all of it! It was fascinating! I was in awe of the physician’s experience and skill. 

She was also really helpful in explaining to me the role of a PA and what PA school was like for her. She was funny and made the hours at the clinic go by fast with her humor and knowledge. I loved watching her interact with the patients and how she was able to translate her vast knowledge of their medical condition into simpler terms that the patient could understand. She would also dictate chart to be put into the computer system, which was amazing to watch because she would speak so fast! The experience was way better than I expected and I will definitely take what I have learned into my practice after PA school!