FTG 0016 - All Things Physician Assistant with PA Jessica Schwartz '10

Episode 2 January 18, 2022 01:06:33
FTG 0016 - All Things Physician Assistant with PA Jessica Schwartz '10
Following the Gong, a Podcast of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State
FTG 0016 - All Things Physician Assistant with PA Jessica Schwartz '10

Jan 18 2022 | 01:06:33

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Hosted By

Sean Goheen

Show Notes

This episode is for any Scholar interested in pursing a career as a physician assistant, a career in medicine generally, or even just wants to learn what a PA is and does. Jessica Schwartz ’10 (HHD) provides an in depth look at the profession and how it both differs from and complements physicians, nurses, EMTs, and others in the medical field. She also gives an overview of what to look for in PA programs, how find the right fit, and how to succeed in PA school and in the field.

Guest Bio:

Jessica (Jess) Schwartz ‘10 HHD is an assistant professor at DeSales University in Center Valley, PA as well as a certified physician assistant at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, PA. At DeSales, she teaches graduate students in the physician assistant program. At Lehigh Valley Hospital, she works as a physician assistant in hospital medicine. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Studies and a minor in kinesiology with honors from Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development in 2010. She earned her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from DeSales University in 2012.

Episode Specifics:

In this episode, Jess shares her insights on:

· Choosing the Honors College to find a small campus feel within a (big) Penn State

· Finding the right major after beginning the undergraduate journey

· Determining what to do with your degree to find the right career – and utilizing the Penn State network and other resources along the way

· Succeeding as a Scholar despite not being excited about the honors thesis – and moving past pre-conceived notions of what it means to conduct scientific research (and not needing a white coat, microscope, and goggles)

· Tips for connecting with faculty and finding research opportunities and ultimately presenting and publishing that research (after ringing the gong)

· Finding time to get involved outside of the classroom and lab including THON

· All things Physician Assistant:

o The program search and admissions process

o How PA school programs work in the classroom and in the clinic

o What a PA is and how it’s different from other healthcare roles

o The team orientation of healthcare

o Inpatient vs. Outpatient experiences

o Developing bedside manner as a PA and importance of empathy

o The upsides and drawbacks of choosing PA as your path in healthcare

o The value of a nutrition degree in the field

o Working as a practitioner and an instructor

o Professional development and lifelong learning

o Worklife balance as a PA, the value of family and hobbies, and moving past perfectionism

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Schreyer Honors College Links: 

Website 

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LinkedIn 

Upcoming Events 

Scholars – Need Assistance? Book an Appointment! 

Alumni – Learn Why and How to Volunteer 

Make a Gift to Benefit Schreyer Scholars 

Join the Penn State Alumni Association 

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Credits & Notes:

This show is hosted, produced, and edited by Sean Goheen ‘11 Lib (Schreyer). 

The artwork was created by Tom Harrington, the College’s Web Developer. 

The sound effect is “Chinese Gong,” accessed via SoundBible used under Creative Commons License. 

The theme music is “Conquest” by Geovane Bruno, accessed via Pixabay and used under Creative Commons License.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] Speaker A: Greetings scholars, and welcome to following the Gong, a podcast at the Shrier Honors College at Penn State. Following the Gong takes you inside conversations with our Scholar alumni to hear their story so you can gain career and life advice and expand your professional network. You can hear the true breadth of how Scholar alumni have gone on to shape the old after they rind the Gone and graduate with honors and learn. [00:00:28] Speaker B: From their experiences so you can use. [00:00:30] Speaker A: Their insights in your own journey. This show is proudly sponsored by the Scholar Alumni Society, a constituent group of the Penn State Alumni Association. I'm your host, Sean Doheen, class of 2011 and college staff member. If this is your first time joining us, welcome. If you're a regular listener, welcome back. [00:00:54] Speaker C: You. [00:00:55] Speaker A: Jessica Schwartz is an assistant professor at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, as well as a certified physician assistant at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania. At DeSales. She teaches graduate students in the physician assistant program at Lehigh Valley Hospital. She works as a Physician assistant in Hospital medicine. She earned a Bachelor of science in nutritional studies and a minor in Kinesiology with honors from Penn State's College of Health and Human Development. In 2010. She earned her Master of Science in Physician assistant studies from DeSales University in 2012. In this episode, Jess shares her insights on choosing the Honors College to find a small campus feel within a big Penn State, finding the right major after beginning the undergraduate journey, determining what to do with your degree to find the right career and utilizing the Penn State Network and other resources along the way. She also talks about succeeding as a scholar despite not being excited about the honor's thesis and moving past preconceived notion of what it means to conduct scientific research, tips for connecting with faculty and finding research opportunities and ultimately presenting and publishing that research. After ringing the gong, of course, finding time to get involved outside of the classroom and lab, including Thawn and of course, all things physician assistant, the program search and admissions process, how PA school programs work in the classroom and in the clinic. [00:02:09] Speaker B: What a PA actually is and how. [00:02:10] Speaker A: It'S different from other healthcare roles. The team orientation of healthcare inpatient and outpatient experiences, developing bedside manner as a PA and the importance of empathy. The upsides and drawbacks of choosing PA as your path in healthcare. The value of a nutrition degree in the field, working as a practitioner and an instructor professional development and lifelong learning and work life balance as a PA. The value of family and Hobies and moving past perfectionism. With that, let's dive into our conversation with Jess Following the Gong. [00:02:47] Speaker B: Jess, great to see you. It's been a while. I'm very excited that you are here on following the Gone. For those of you listening, I go back a little bit with Jess. She is married to one of my best friends who was one of my roommates in Undergrad. So I'm very excited to have her here on the show. A little bit more calm than running all around the Rose Bowl stadium after the game so we can sit here and talk all things physician assistant. So, Jess, thank you for joining me. Looking forward to our chat today. Why don't we just kind of go back to the beginning and share how you first got to Penn State and the Shriyer Honors College well, before you met Joey and got connected with me. [00:03:30] Speaker C: Great. Well, thank you, Sean. I'm excited to be here. And yes, we did not meet at Penn State. I didn't meet my husband at Penn State either. So it's a big place, but it was great. So as far as how I got to Penn State, I admit that when I was starting to look at colleges, I didn't have Penn State on my list. I'm sure you get a lot of guests who are like, I grew up in a Penn State household. I knew from the time I was born that I was going to Penn State. I admit that I didn't plan to go to Penn State. When I was looking at colleges, I looked at a bunch of small liberal arts schools. Penn State just seemed way too big for me at the time. However, back, I believe it was my junior year of high school, one of my friends took me to a Penn State football game and that was my first introduction to Penn State. And when I got there, I loved the campus. I think all of us can agree that Penn State's campus is beautiful. And then I went to the football game and certainly despite not being a college football fan at the time, there's something about the atmosphere there. And just seeing the passion and the excitement that all the students have, I became intrigued. So I went home and like a studious little high school junior, I looked on their website and started to do a little bit of research and tried to figure out if this would be something I would be interested in. I admit that I wasn't sure that I would handle a large institution well. I didn't know how rigorous the academics were at Penn State. But after I started looking at know, I became really interested in the fact that there were so many majors that you could choose from, so many classes that you could open. This might sound really nerdy, but I opened the course catalog on their website and I was like, look at all of these classes. These are all so interesting. And comparing it to some of the smaller schools I was looking at, they didn't offer those types of things there. So that was the original thing that sparked my interest. However, I still was worried about the size of the university. So I started to look a little more and I found the Honors College at that point, and it hit all of the things that I was worried about, about, you know, the larger campus, the kind of getting to know your professors more, having that small school feel. And so I went out on a whim and applied, still not knowing that I would go to Penn State. It was almost kind of a, Well, I'll apply and we'll see what happens, and then ultimately got in and decided to go there. [00:06:02] Speaker B: You're not the first person to have a story like that here, which I think speaks to people find the Honors College. And while 107,000 111,000 strong is great when you're cheering on the Nitty Lions against the Buckeyes or the Wolverines, it's not exactly the environment you necessarily want in a classroom setting, and that's something that the Honors College provides. Now, when you were filling out your questionnaire, I saw that you kind of had skipped around a couple of different majors and were feeling your way around. Can you walk us through that process of you mentioned that there's a lot of opportunities here academically that you may not get at a smaller school, while in the Honors College, you still get the feel and resources and community of that small school. So how did you kind of navigate that process and ultimately settled on if you're reading the episode description, you'll see Jess has a degree in nutrition. So how did you kind of start weave your way through and ultimately settle on that specific major? [00:06:58] Speaker C: Yeah, that's a good question. And I started off like a lot of students do. I thought I wanted to go into the medical field, which naturally led me to a biology degree, and I took my freshman year classes in biology. They were okay. I liked them, but it didn't feel like the right fit for me. So once again, I opened up the course catalog and started to look at what the different majors were that were out there, what classes you had to take for them. I had a little bit of an identity cris probably my freshman year, and actually jumped into a business degree with accounting for a semester, which is very different. Again, liked it, but it wasn't quite the right fit for me and really tried to find a major that had the science background that I really loved while still being something more practical, more human based. Like I said, I knew I wanted to go into the medical field. I didn't know what specifically, but I wanted something that was going to offer me the sciences while also offering some more of that very practical, hands on type information. And that's when I landed on the College of Health and Human Development, and they have a lot of different majors in there that were very interesting to of. I Started Taking A Few Of Their Basic Intro Classes in both Kinesiology and Nutrition and Some Of Those Courses and Just I Fell In Love With My Nutrition 251 Course, which is The Intro to Nutrition, and Knew That That Field Was Going To Be I at Least knew I Was Going To Enjoy It while I Was at Penn State. What I was going to do afterwards was still to be determined, but I figured it would open a lot of doors, and that's how I ended up there. [00:08:37] Speaker B: Well, that tees up the next question I have for you perfectly. So you kind of started if you felt your way around you found your way into nutrition, then you have to figure out what do you do with the nutrition degree? And I imagine there's a lot of opportunities. I'm not terribly familiar with it, but there's a lot of cool things that you can do with it. And I think your experience speaks to the value of trying to find where your skills and your passion lie in that mix so that you can find something to do with your career. What are the steps that you took to ultimately discover that you wanted to become a physician assistant? [00:09:08] Speaker C: Yeah, I definitely started the degree with a very general idea of what I was interested in. I am also one of those people that when I went to college, I didn't go to college just to study some things and kind of come out of there with no real plan. I'm going to college to get a degree, to get a career. And so that was a really important thing for me to figure out pretty early on, once I determined what major I wanted to do. So I did a lot of different things. I used the Internet to do some researching. I tried to find lots of people in various fields in the medical community physicians, physician assistants, physical therapists, dietitians and tried to talk to a lot of different people about what they do, what they like, what they don't like. That goes along with the idea that Penn State luckily has a very large network of people and a lot of people who are very excited to help Penn Staters learn a little bit more about what they do. So I really tried to use those resources. I went to the career center a lot. This is a small plug for the career center on campus. It is amazing. I was there a lot. I think they probably knew me by name when I walked in, which is saying something in a college that's as big as Penn State, but I always say, you paid for it, so use it. And they helped me a ton. We did lots of different inventories and discussions and all those things. They helped me to connect with various people in various professions. So that's really where I started. I just started talking to people. And then beyond that, once I had a little bit of an idea of what I was interested in, I started to try to find shadowing opportunities. So I shadowed some folks through Mount Nittney Medical Center. I shadowed a bunch of people on campus. There is a university health center there, so I shadowed the physical therapist there and the medical providers and the dietitian. And that's kind of where I started and then ultimately decided probably around my junior year that I wanted to pursue the physician assistant profession, or also known as the PA profession. So if you hear me call it PA as we go along, that's what I'm talking about. Not the state of Pennsylvania. [00:11:22] Speaker B: I know as I was prepping for our episode here today, I kept being PA. It's like kind of funny given know, this is Penn State. We're in Pennsylvania, and obviously it's great to hear you plug the career services, because I think I plugged that in just about every episode. So it's great somebody else is doing it for me. And so if you're like Sean, I listen to every episode. You're always talking about this. Well, you just heard Jess share how helpful it was for her, and that's just one career services. As a Shire scholar, you have Lisa Krachinski. And if you're at a Commonwealth campus, you have resources there. You have stuff in your major or your college that you're in. So plenty of great resources around your campus for you to take advantage of. Now you found your way to PA school, but I want to take a quick detour on that journey because obviously as a Shrier scholar, you had to write an Honors thesis, and I'm curious about your thesis process and how that maybe teed you up for further study in a PA program. [00:12:22] Speaker C: Yes. So I'm going to be the first to say that I actually didn't want to write a thesis. I dreaded the thesis. It almost made me not apply to the Honors College initially when I was going into undergrad. So I will be very open and honest because I'm sure there are plenty of people who are listening who are maybe interested in the Honors College, but the word thesis or the idea of doing research makes them want to curl up in a ball and hide. And that was me. And I made it out alive and unscathed and actually really enjoyed the experience. So I never wanted to do research. It wasn't my thing. As I said, I wanted to do clinical work. I didn't want to be in a lab. And when I thought of a thesis, especially in the sciences, I thought of sitting in a lab wearing a white coat and goggles and looking at a microscope all day and not talking to a single human being. And there are probably some areas like that, and that's great if that's what you're into, but it wasn't for me. So when I came to Penn State and I was looking for a thesis, I really tried to find something that was not like that that was a little bit more human interaction, more clinical, more practical type research. I started looking probably around the beginning of my sophomore year. I started to look up some various faculty. I kept my mind open, so I didn't just limit it to biology or once I was in nutrition, I didn't just limit it to nutrition. I looked at all of the colleges in the College of Health and Human Development, so I looked at Kinesiology and Biobehavioral Health and even, I think, some health policy administration. I tried to find different professors and what they were doing, what their studies were, see if anything interested me. I was lucky. I found a Kinesiology professor who was doing some research that I thought sounded interesting. It sounded very practical. They had human subjects, which was like, step number one for me is I didn't want to be dealing with animals or molecules or again looking under a microscope all day long. So I was very intrigued by that. And so I reached out to the professor via email. I said, hey, I'm a Shrier scholar, which is kind of like 1ft in the door already when you're looking for research. And I said I was interested in her research. I was thinking of doing a thesis and would like to pursue that and look into that more. But I made sure not to just say, hey, I just want to work with you so that I can write a thesis. And I think that's important is that when you're pursuing these things, you need to start out with, hey, I want to learn from you and work with you and get involved, because that's what they like to do. They like to bring students in and have them collaborate with them, not just come in, write their thesis, and leave. So when I first started in her lab, I really just helped in the lab. We didn't even use the word thesis for probably a good year. I started as a sophomore. I just went in a couple of days a week, volunteered in the lab, helped with their studies. I worked with the grad students in their lab. We did journal club once a week, and so I was invited to come to that. So I would go to that. And so that's really where I started. I just started by being in the lab, and then around junior year, probably partway through the fall of my junior year, we started to toss around some ideas of a thesis. I started to do some literature review. And really not until kind of the spring of my junior year did I really start to get into doing my own research. Just kind of taking some of the stuff that we had already been doing in the lab for that time I was in there and then turning it into my own research study and thesis. And then I worked there all summer between my junior and senior year, and really my senior year was spent kind of solidifying my information and writing my thesis while at the same time still helping with everything else. Because I think that the lab isn't there for you to write a thesis. The lab is there to do the research that is already being done. You're just an extra thing that is helping out. Yeah, that's kind of how I got to where I was. I ended up loving it. So despite not wanting to do it and dreading it, I ended up it was probably my favorite thing I did in my undergrad experience. [00:16:42] Speaker B: And I'm looking at what you shared on the questionnaire, and it seems like it didn't quite stop at undergrad. It looks like you had some additional opportunities that it presented. [00:16:52] Speaker C: Yeah, so I wrote my thesis, and after I was done with it, I wrote it. I got the signatures, I rang the gong, which was probably like, the highlight of my whole college career. I remember that day being probably the happiest day of my life, at least at that point. I guess there were probably some happier days afterwards. I did get married and have children, but at the moment that seemed like it was the happiest day of my life and probably is still one of the top ones. Anyway, so after I rang the gong, I finished my thesis, and my thesis advisor said, hey, we got some good results from this. Are you interested in presenting this information at a conference? And of course, I was 22 years old, did not feel like I was qualified to present at a conference at all at that point. But we ended up submitting it to the American College of Sports Medicine conference that summer, and I was able to actually do a poster presentation. So I got to make a poster, I got to stand by it at a conference where at the time, I assumed were very big wigs. We're walking around looking at posters, asking questions. And so that was a really cool experience. And then even beyond that, I ended up getting to have that work published. I got to work with some of the grad students, and we collaborated and actually got it published in a journal, which is a really cool thing that I can have on my resume, something I never thought I would do, especially at such a young age. So I was actually working on publishing it while I was in PA school, which was a little bit stressful, but definitely a really cool thing that I can talk about now. [00:18:33] Speaker B: And you started off dreading the whole process, and now you have a really cool story to talk about. And I'm glad that you enjoyed ringing the Gone, which is obviously the namesake for the podcast here. So appreciate you bringing that up. Now, before we go to PA stool, one more thing I want to talk about. Obviously in your household, I know Thawn is a very important part of both your story and your husband's, and that's actually how I got to know him, was because of Thawn and how we got to come friends. So can you tell us about the things that you did outside of your academics while you were here at University Park? [00:19:11] Speaker C: Yeah. So I was involved with Thawn. That was one of my favorite things I did at Penn State besides thesis. I think I said my thesis was my favorite. This one might have been the thesis, I'm not sure, but I was involved with the Shire Honors College Fawn team for all four years when I was at Penn State. I was really excited to join Fawn when I got there, and I wanted to find a team to be a part of. And luckily at that time, the Honors College had a team, and from what I understand, they have a team now still. But I knew I wanted to be involved in that organization in some way, so I joined my freshman year. I was a Moraler at the time. They called them dancer relations, I believe now. So I was a dancer relations person. I'm not sure what you call I was a Moraler at the time, and I was on the team for the Sharonners College, and then I danced for the team, actually in 2008 and 2010. I was a weird one that danced twice. We had a very small team at the time, but we were strong and mighty, so we actually had four dancers at the time, and so I got to dance twice. I also was a family relations chair for our Honors College team, so I helped facilitate discussion and setting up events with our family that we supported. And then I also was the chair for the team one year as well. So I have found a bunch of different ways to be involved with the Honors College Team, and it was awesome. I loved Thawn. As you said, my husband is very involved with Thawn now, both at Penn State and now as well. So we still have a pretty strong connection with Thawn, and I've been up a couple of times. I helped out one year with the Hope Express, which currently is not as it was back then, but I helped as a Moraler for the Hope Express, which is an event for alumni who would run from Hershey up to State College the night before Thon started. So even as an alumni, I found some ways to be involved, and it was definitely a great experience and I highly recommend it to anyone. [00:21:29] Speaker B: And I believe the Dance Marathon alumni interest group is actually bringing something like the Hope. It's press back through Hope from coast to coast so you can still be involved with Thawn and many other parts of Penn State as an alum. So if you're listening as a current scholar, there are great ways to stay connected with us after you graduate, when you graduate. Now, Jess, I have to imagine that being involved in Thawn and doing the family relations stuff in particular was probably good practice for becoming a physician assistant. This is really where I want to dive into your career here. For those listening who are like, yes, we're finally going to get to this part. So becoming a physician assistant or PA, requires an advanced degree. Now, it seems like at the time, Penn State did not have a program, so you had to look elsewhere. Can you talk about that search process and what opportunities are out there? And how does everything about actually going to PA school that you can think would be helpful for a scholar who might be interested in a similar path? [00:22:25] Speaker C: Certainly it's a little bit overwhelming at first. So my first suggestion is always to start looking early, even if you're not sure it's what you want to do, start to do some research. There are a lot of PA schools around the country. Pennsylvania actually has a lot of PA schools. Funny enough, there's a lot of PA schools in PA. Actually, some of the most schools are in kind of the PA New York area. So I would say the best place to start, if you are interested, start early, go to there is a website, it's Caspa, C-A-S-P-A. It's actually the central application for physician assistant schools. So if you actually go to their website, they have a list of all of the participating schools. And I would say the majority of PA schools are through this central application. So if you go there, you can actually see a list of all the schools that have physician assistant programs and then start to think about maybe which ones you might be interested in. So that might be based on location. That's probably a really common thing that people consider. Some people want to stay very local. Some people are like, get me the heck out of Pennsylvania. Been here long enough. I want to go somewhere in the west. And so try to narrow that down and then look at those schools and look at their websites. So the big thing about PA schools is they all have a little bit different requirements for what you need to do to get in. So most of them are going to require a bachelor's degree at least. And luckily, that bachelor's degree can be in anything. So certainly your biologies, your chemistries, your nutrition, all that type of stuff, those are really common fields that people get their bachelor's degree in. But you don't have to. You could be a psychology major and apply to PA school. You could be an art history major and apply to PA school. So it doesn't really matter what your bachelor's is in. You just have to have that bachelor's degree. And then from there you need to see what the prerequisite classes are. So although I say you can get a bachelor's degree in anything, there are going to be a handful of courses that you will need to take prior to getting into PA school. And so those are going to be your typical science courses for the most part. But the requirements do vary a little bit between schools. So most of them are all going to require your basic biologies and chemistries and anatomies and physiologies. But some might require biochemistry, some might require microbiology, some might require psychology, some might require physics. So it's a little bit different between schools and you're going to want to make sure that you know what those requirements are ahead of time so that you can make sure you take those courses. And that might be you take those courses while you're getting your bachelor's degree. Or it might be you take them as kind of some post baccalaureate courses after you've graduated. Find out what courses are required, find out what other requirements they have. So most of the schools require things like the GRE, which is basically the SATS that you take when you want to go to grad school. It's very similar, so you may need to take the Gres. Many schools have some type of hour requirement as far as experience is concerned. So a lot of schools may say that they require something like 500 hours of healthcare experience prior to getting into the program. So that might be shadowing, that might be working as an EMT, an emergency medicine technician that might be volunteering at a hospital, working as a scribe, working as a pharmacy tech. There's a bunch of different ways you can achieve those hours of experience. But most schools have some type of requirement, so you want to check on what that is. And some of them are high requirements, so some of them might require 1000 hours of experience and you may not get that prior to graduating from undergrad. You may need to take a year or two after undergrad to get some experience prior to applying. So you just want to look at that and see what you need and if you have that. And then the other thing I say is consider the basic details about the program. Look at what their course schedule is like, how do they teach, their didactic portion, their classroom portion, what classes are you taking, how is it organized. Most PA programs are typically about 24 months or two years, but there are some programs that are set up to be three years and you get a summer off somewhere. So thinking about all those things is really helpful. And make a chart, write it down, do it early so you can start to get what you need to get. That's usually the first thing I would say. If you want to visit the schools, that is another option. If it's something that's easy to do, I would say if it's a. School that's very far away and you're going to have to fly there to visit. It's up to you. But I would say it's probably not the most important thing to do at that moment. If you get an interview there, you may be able to travel and see the university at that time. And in all honesty, when you're in PA school, you're really usually in maybe one or two classrooms. You're in class from eight until five every day. You're not really getting involved in a lot of campus life outside of things the way you would in undergrad. So knowing what the university, what the campus looks like is great, but probably not the most important thing when you're considering a PA program compared to when you're looking at undergrad. And those are very important things that you're going to look at. [00:27:48] Speaker B: That's great, and I think really good insight, Jess. So you go through school, you come out a physician assistant. But the million dollar question I have is what actually is a physician assistant? How is it different from a physician, a surgeon, a nurse, a dietitian, an EMT, all these other roles in the medical community? What makes this a specific and unique career path? [00:28:13] Speaker C: Yeah, so there are a lot of jobs, a lot of careers in medicine. And I always start this conversation or this answer with every single one of them, is really important. And healthcare is a very team based environment. And no one job is more valuable or more important than another one that EMT, who brings someone in on the ambulance to the emergency room, who is greeted by a nurse and has their intake done, who then is seen by a physician and then seen by a radiology tech, who does their X ray. All those things. If one of those people weren't involved, nothing would work. So I say that no matter what field you end up being interested in, they're all very important. That being said, a physician assistant is probably most similar to a physician. If you're trying to find what job that everyone knows about is most similar to a PA, I would say a physician. So hence the name physician assistant. Basically, a physician assistant is taught in what we call the medical model. So very similar to med school. So if you know about med school, med school is typically four years. You do two years of in classroom work and then two years of clinical rotation, so you're out learning on the job in the field. PA school is very similar, except it's in two years. So we do one year of classroom intensive education, like I said, 08:00 A.m. To 05:00 P.m. Every day, multiple exams. You basically learn all of medicine in twelve months. After that you do twelve months of clinical rotations, where you're out in various fields, basically, again, learning on the job, except that you're not getting paid. It's not a job. You're still paying your tuition, you're paying to go to work, basically. And then after that, when you graduate, after two years as a PA, you take a certification exam, and then you become a physician assistant, essentially a certified physician assistant, and then you can go work. That's a huge difference between Pas and physicians. So one thing is, as a physician, you have to go to med school, graduate, and then you have to do a residency where you go into medicine or surgery or OBGYN, and you do a three to five, six year residency where you are a physician. You're being paid, but you're still learning. You're still in training as a PA. Once you graduate, you go and you get a job, and that's all you need to do as far as getting into your career. So physician assistants act just like physicians. We see patients, we take histories, do physical exams, order tests, we make diagnoses, and then we prescribe treatments. So we can prescribe medications. We can work in every field of medicine, essentially. There are Pas in all fields of medicine, even surgery, for example. So some people may not know, but there are Pas that work in surgery. You are not the primary surgeon, but Pas act as assistants. They may help with doing stitching, opening and closing patients, holding cameras, harvesting veins. They actually are a very vital role in surgery as well. So you really can work in any field. One of the big differences is you are working under the supervision of a physician. And I say that with air quotes. You can't see me here doing that, but you are supervised by a physician. But that doesn't mean that you have a physician coming into the room with you and literally looking over your shoulder. It just means that there is somebody there that you can go to if needed. So pac patients on their own, but let's say I saw a patient and I had a question about them, or I needed to touch base with a physician. I had somebody there that I could go to. Generally, the only requirement is they have to be available by phone. They don't even need to be in the same building as you at the same time. So it's kind of a cool field in that you get to really do a lot of the same things, but you're still working in that team model. And I love that you don't have to go into a residency to pick a certain field. I can go to a different field at any point if I want to, and I get on the job training right there. [00:32:25] Speaker B: That's really interesting. I just learned a lot, and I hope you listening. Did too. I know when we go to our family physician that we have there's, the physician and a physician assistant, we see the same to the doctor and the physician assistant each time. So we're kind of like that's. Our people there and they seem like they're a great team. So I think that's really cool. It seems like that can really help add to the quality of the care there. I'm curious from knowing that my experience with Pas are from an outpatient perspective, but I know you work in a hospital setting, so are there any differences between those two for a PA? [00:33:01] Speaker C: Yeah, so I've worked inpatient my whole career. I did some outpatient experiences as a student, but I have been inpatient my whole entire career as a PA. And it is different, certainly inpatient settings. Typically patients a lot of times are more ill. Depending on the situation, you might work in something, I don't know, like orthopedic surgery, and you do a knee replacement on a fairly healthy patient and then you round on them in the hospital. But for the most part, most patients in the hospital tend to be more sick. And one of the big things about someone being in the hospital versus outpatient is in the hospital, you really focus on what they're there for in the hospital, right. You're focusing on that acute issue, and you have to pay attention to all of their other health conditions and make sure there's nothing interacting with what you're treating them for in the hospital. But you may not necessarily be managing their chronic conditions as intensely as someone who's an outpatient provider would. So if I'm seeing someone in the hospital for pneumonia, what I'm focusing on is getting them feeling better from their pneumonia, treating that pneumonia, not necessarily making sure all of their diabetes medicines are exactly what they should be on as an outpatient. And so there's a difference there. I think the other big difference is in an outpatient setting, you are given a schedule of patients for that day, right? So when you go to the doctor, you have a time that you're supposed to be there. You're supposed to be there at 130 p. M. That's your appointment slot. In the hospital, there are no appointment slots. So I'm given a list of the patients that need to be seen for the day and they're there. They don't have an appointment time. They're waiting for me to come to them so I can plan my schedule a little bit differently. I might look at my list and triage patients a little more and say, these patients are more ill, so I need to see them earlier on, or this patient's being discharged today, so I should see them earlier. So that's kind of a nice thing, is that you have a little more flexibility from that standpoint, and you can spend different amounts of time with different patients. Some patients may need an hour and a half they're really sick. There's a lot of complicated things going on where maybe another patient is pretty straightforward and quick and only needs to see you for ten minutes. So that's one big difference there. Usually inpatient you have a lot more resources available to you much more quickly. So as an outpatient, if you needed an MRI of your knee, you have to get that ordered. You have to go to an MRI center. They're going to do the image, it's going to get sent back to your provider. Whereas in the hospital, if I think someone needs an MRI, I just order them an MRI and it's just down the hall, so they can usually get it done much more quickly. So I think there are more resources, which is good because these people tend to be more sick and need things a little more acutely. So I think those are some of the big differences, I would say. But yeah, I've loved working inpatient unfortunately, I don't necessarily get to know people as well as maybe an outpatient, like a family practice provider might who sees somebody every six months for 20 years. I usually see people for a few days, hopefully only a few days, and then we discharge them. And my goal is to not see them again. I don't want them coming back to the hospital. [00:36:13] Speaker B: I'm going to throw you a curveball here, kind of in that same vein. So you talked about your goal is you don't want to see them again. How do you go about working with people if they're coming into the hospital? And with the exception of maybe a scheduled chemo treatment or a scheduled, like you said, a knee replacement, something like that, they're probably at a very low point in their life. Maybe they just broke their leg, they got pneumonia or COVID or a myriad of other things that can put you in an emergency room or an ICU. How do you develop your bedside manner as a PA to help people in an inpatient setting when they're at kind of a really low point in their life? [00:36:47] Speaker C: I think that's a really good point to make and something I try to teach students as well and try to remember myself. I always have to remind myself of that as well. We all lead stressful lives, and sometimes if you're having a bad day as a provider, you have to remember that the patients you're seeing are probably having a worse day than you. Most people again in the hospital are not feeling well. They're at their lowest point. Sometimes they're scared, sometimes they're hurting. And so for me, I always try to put myself in those shoes. I've been blessed to have fairly good health my whole life. But I try to remember that they might be scared and if they get angry, if they are not easy to work with, it's really just their situation right then. So I always just tell people, just imagine you're in their shoes, or imagine it was a family member. Sometimes that's a little easier for folks than imagining it's them themselves. So I say imagine especially some of the younger PA students that come in, imagine this was your grandmother, how would you want her to be treated as a family member? How would you want to be treated if your family member was in the hospital? And I think that helps people a lot, is just to kind of put themselves in their shoes, and sometimes you just need to take a few minutes of a break and kind of reset your mindset too. Maybe go get a cup of coffee and take a few minutes and kind of reset your own mindset. But that's usually the way I go about it. [00:38:10] Speaker B: So it sounds like a lot of it boils down to empathy and respect as really key values that you need to have in this profession, like many others. What would you say are some of the pros if a student wants to go into medicine like you did, but they're not sure? Do they want to be a physician, do they want to pursue nursing? Do they want to become an EMT? What do you think are the pros of being a physician assistant specifically, and what are some of maybe the drawbacks? [00:38:33] Speaker C: Yeah, I think as far as the pros, I mentioned a little bit earlier too, that one of the greatest things about being a PA is the flexibility. So again, if you're going to be a physician, you're going to need to have a residency, potentially even a fellowship after that, in order to go into a certain specialty. So you imagine you take all this time, do the residency, the fellowship, and then you become board certified in that field. That's the field you're going to work in probably for the rest of your career, unless you want to start all over again and go to another residency. So as a physician, you might do an internal medicine residency and then a cardiology fellowship, and you're going to be a cardiologist. Now that is your field as a PA. I graduate with my master's degree, and I can go into any field I want. So maybe when I started out, maybe I was young, I didn't have a family. I was really gung ho and motivated and willing to work 60, 70 hours, work weeks, working on weekends and holidays. And so I went into cardiothoracic surgery, and I loved it. But then I got married, I had a kid, and that wasn't what I wanted to do anymore. I could easily transition into family practice or OBGYN or whatever field it is, and I don't have to do anything except apply for that job and be hired. So there's a lot of flexibility in that if you're one of those types of people that isn't sure you want to work specifically in this one field for the rest of your career. So I think that's a huge draw for a lot of people. I will put a caveat out. There are some fellowships for Pas now, especially in things like emergency medicine and critical care. So if you want to go into one of those specialized fields. There are some year long fellowships that you can do as a PA. But they're not required. So that's kind of one of the cool things there. There's also a lot of different types of jobs for Pas, so some people want to work full time with call and weekends. Some people only want to maybe work part time because of whatever their life situation is, and there's opportunities for that. So those are some of the big pros. Certainly for me as a practical person, one big pro to being a PA was that I didn't have as much debt. So I got my undergrad degree at Penn State and then I had a master's degree and that is the end of my higher education. I love school. I would have loved to go to school forever, but my wallet probably wouldn't have loved to go to school forever. That is a nice thing, is I have that level of debt compared to someone maybe who needed to go to much longer schooling as a physician. Some of the other pros again, if you like teamwork, it's a very team based field. So as an inpatient hospitalist PA, a lot of times the communication that goes on between specialties if I'm calling a cardiologist for a patient in the hospital, it's usually the PA calling the PA. A lot of times the physicians are kind of doing what they need to do, but it's the Pas who are acting as the boots on the ground per se and doing the communicating. Whether it's with the patients or with other specialists, there's kind of a tight knit bond that Pas have with other Pas. So I really like that. And then as far as cons, it depends on what you want to do. So comparing it again to a physician, if you want to be the primary surgeon, or you want to maybe be the one who's delivering the babies or all these things and kind of be the top person, then you might not feel satisfied as a PA. Because you are always working underneath a physician. There are some slight limitations in what you can do. So I think that is one big thing to consider. And then comparing it to maybe something like nursing. If you really like to be at the bedside with patients and really spending a lot of time with them, something like nursing might be something you're interested in. They usually have a smaller amount of patients that they're in charge of for their whole shift. So a lot of nurses work twelve hour shifts in the hospital. You will be given a couple of patients and you are with them all day. You're checking in with them, you're administering treatments and medicines and so you really spend a lot of time with the patients. You're really kind of their eyes and their ears and that type of thing. So if that's something you really like more of that kind of caring type model, then something like nursing may be interesting to you. If you're interested in doing more kind of administrative type stuff later in your career, there might be a little more opportunity if you go into nursing compared to PA. So these are just all things to consider and I would just really recommend talking to people who work in all of those fields and finding out what do you like about your job and what don't you like. Those are great questions to usually ask people. [00:43:11] Speaker B: Yes, even in a formal job interview too. I think those are great questions to ask. Jess, you kind of alluded to this a little bit earlier, but you'd started with biology, you settled on nutrition. Either are great options for going into medicine. What specifically about nutrition did you find helpful that separated itself from other majors that you use as a PA? [00:43:31] Speaker C: Yeah, I think nutrition was a great major to go into. Once again, no offense to the biologists in the room, but I didn't really enjoy learning about things like photosynthesis or plants or anything like that. And so nutrition kind of skips that part and really is all about human physiology. Nutrition, when I did my nutrition degree, I had a lot of courses that were very medicine based, so I had some of the biochemistry of nutrients, which was very interesting to me. But then I had a course about nutrition throughout the life cycle. So learning about what types of nutritional things were important in infants versus in young adults versus geriatrics. And those are the things, especially if you work in primary care, that you're going to need to talk to your patients about. I had a disease diet and disease course I think was the name of it, and that was really all about different types of chronic diseases and what impact diet can have on them. Again, something that I wouldn't have probably learned much about in biology. And it was really great for me to go into PA school with that background already and be able to bring that knowledge with me. And again, nutrition had a lot of the prerequisites that I needed to get covered organic chemistry, biochemistry, and believe it or not, nutrition was a very challenging degree. It's not just all about if you eat vegetables and fruit, you're healthy. There's a little of that nutrition, intro to nutrition, but kind of beyond that, there's a lot of science, a lot of intensive scientific concepts that really taught me how to study. And part of undergrad is learning how to study. I think of things like organic chemistry. Honestly, I don't remember a lot of the exact things I learned in organic chemistry, but what I learned was how to study a really challenging topic. And so those are other skills that I brought with me and I think it suited me very well in PA school. And I know some other folks who have gone to PA school with nutrition degrees, and they all tend to say the same thing. [00:45:31] Speaker B: So in addition to being a PA, you also teach Pas. Now, what drew you to becoming both the practitioner and the instructor? [00:45:41] Speaker C: So I said earlier, if I could go to school forever, I would. And so being an educator kind of allows me to do that in a way, just in a different area or in a different way. But I loved teaching when I was a practitioner. So as I said, when you're a PA student, you have to do clinical rotations. And so as a practicing PA, I would work with students when they were on their clinical rotations all the time, and it was one of my favorite things to do. Unfortunately, when you're teaching clinically, not only are you teaching, you're also taking care of your patients. And so there's only so much educating you get to do in that setting. And so I wanted to be able to do more, and I knew that I loved my time in PA school and I didn't mind going back to it. Some people say that they have nightmares about being in PA school and would never want to go anywhere back to that setting again, but I did not. I actually really enjoyed it. So being able to go back and help students who were in the spot that I was in at this point now, I guess ten years ago, was really intriguing to me. And when a job opened up in academia at my alma mater that I went to for PA school, I was thrilled and applied and was able to get in. And now I get to teach first year PA students and mentor them and help them kind of along their path to becoming a PA. And so if. [00:47:07] Speaker B: You'Re doing both at the same time, how do you balance the clinical work of actually being a practitioner and being in the classroom as an instructor? [00:47:15] Speaker C: I'm really lucky because it's pretty much built into my schedule. I'm very fortunate that I work at an institution that allows one day a week for its faculty to work clinically. So I teach four days a week, and then every Friday I have off for me to be able to work clinically. So I still work actually at the job that I started in clinically when I graduated from PA school. And I work there every Friday, and it's an inpatient job, so they are open on weekends and holidays and all that stuff. So I am able to pick up some weekend shifts here and there if needed. So that it's kind of built. Like I said, it's built into my schedule and I love it because it helps me be a better teacher. So it's one of the reasons why we are all given the opportunity to work clinically if all you're doing is standing in front of a classroom, you lose a little bit of your street cred that way, and it really helps me to be a better teacher, and teaching helps me be a better clinician honestly too. So it's a little bit easy for me to be able to balance both. It makes me really love and cherish both parts of my job. [00:48:22] Speaker B: So speaking of that street cred, earlier you mentioned that you don't have to get any further degrees as a PA, but typically in things like law and medicine and some other education, you have to continue your education through just kind of like classes and continuing education programs. Is that something that you have to do for professional development as a PA? [00:48:43] Speaker C: Yes, you do. So first of all, when you graduate with your master's degree, you have to take a certifying exam. So it's a national exam. You have to pass this exam in order to become certified, in order to become a licensed PA and work clinically after that. Right now, the requirement is that you take that exam again every ten years, so you have to be recertifying. The other thing is that we are required to get continuing education hours. So as a PA, you are required to get 100 hours of continuing education every two years. And there's a lot of ways that you can get that. One of the most common ways is through various conferences. So there is a national conference every year that has multiple speakers that you can go listen to. There are usually state conferences. There are conferences for certain specialties. A lot of people, especially early on in their careers when they don't have children and life responsibilities, like to go to conferences in very nice, warm places, and they usually have a beach nearby. So you can go to your conference for the day and then go to the beach in the evening. But there's a lot of different ways that you can get them. There are journal articles that you can read, courses you can take. Hospitals a lot of times will have some classes that they'll offer that you can get education hours with that. But really the requirement is 100 hours every two years. Some people need to be certified. So, for example, I need to be certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, or ACLs. I have to recertify for that every two years as well. So there's a lot of different things that you need to do to keep yourself learning. And medicine, just like many other fields, is constantly evolving. And so you really do need to have an interest in continuing to learn for the rest of your career. You never will know it all, and once you know something in a year or two, it's going to be outdated. If you don't like to learn and don't like to keep learning, then medicine might not be the field for you. [00:50:37] Speaker B: I think that's some very good direct advice, and I think that applies to a couple other industries as well, where things constantly change. Now, Jess, as we're sitting here recording, you are on parental leave. Congratulations. [00:50:50] Speaker C: Thank you. [00:50:51] Speaker B: What is it like being a parent on top of all of these professional commitments, getting that 100 hours every two years, recertifying these things? How do you balance all of that? [00:51:03] Speaker C: Yes. So I am currently on parental leave right now. I have a five week old, and then I also have a three year old at home. So I would say the biggest thing, and this is not just with children and being a parent. This is with anything in life, any kind of life responsibilities, whether it's other family members or even just Hobies that you like to do. You need to have that work life balance. Trying to make sure that you leave your job at your job. And medicine is stressful. You see some things that are really sad or really scary or all those things, and sometimes you just have to be able to almost have, like, a switch to be able to turn it off when you're at home. And that might be various outlets for different people. That might be, again, Hobies, therapy, whatever it is something to turn that off. And then I think the other big thing is know what's important to you outside of your job and prioritize it. So if your family is important, you have to make time for them. And sometimes that means having boundaries. Sometimes it means choosing a career or a job that isn't going to keep you away for 70 hours a week at certain points in your life. I know for me personally, as a professor, as someone who teaches, it's like being in school, so I could probably work 24/7 if I wanted to. There's always something to grade, there's always a lesson to be developed. But I really try to make sure that when I'm at home with my family, that that's what I'm there for. So I try not to bring a lot of work home. And if I do bring it home, I try to do it after the kids go to bed. I really try to make sure when I'm with my family, that I'm focused on them. And I think if you make that a priority, that's what it will be. It will be a priority. And sometimes that means, again, looking for a career that's going to allow you to make that a priority. [00:52:55] Speaker B: I like that you talked about kind of family hobbies those things outside of work and leaving work at work. One of the fun things that both you and I do as a hobby, thanks to your husband, is fantasy football. He's been our commissioner for years, and I don't particularly ever have a chance of winning. I'm terrible at it, but that is one thing I do to find community, and Jess does as well. So that's always an interesting angle. To do and there's some friendly trash talk and we kind of watch the games together and have a group text and it's a whole thing during Penn State football season. So one example of one of those hobbies. Now, I went around the corner into the last kind of segment of our chat here today. Jess, what would you say in reflecting back your biggest success to date? [00:53:43] Speaker C: When you sent me this question, I struggled a bit because I always find it really hard to define what does success mean? I don't have an Emmy or some kind of crazy thing that I've ever really done. I consider myself a pretty normal person, but I think it depends on the time. If you would have asked me a couple of years ago, I would have said, wow, graduating, writing a thesis right when I said that, ringing the gong was the happiest day of my life at the moment, that probably would have been my biggest success, was writing a thesis and ringing that gong afterwards. And then I went to PA school and feeling like when I graduated PA school that was the biggest success. I will tell you, PA school is very rigorous and very challenging and is probably one of the biggest successes I've had is making it through the program and graduating. But now that I'm years older and wiser and have a few more wrinkles on my face, I would say really just having my kids and helping to raise them and hopefully making them good human beings. They are still young, so I can't confirm or deny if they will end up being good human beings or not. The five week old does sleep a couple of hours a day, which at this point in life that is success, that might be my biggest success is my kids slept for 4 hours last night. In general, I think right now in my current stage of life, raising my kids, so I don't know that I would say I have one success. I think it's just various life stages and this was the most successful thing at that moment. [00:55:15] Speaker B: I think it's a great take on that. And as somebody with a toddler, those first couple of weeks, oh my gosh, if you can get them to sleep for any amount of time, that is an accomplishment on a daily basis. Kind of on the flip side, though, of that question, I'd love to know what was your kind of learning moment? I don't want to call it a failure, but what's a moment where you stepped back and were like, wow, I need to kind of reevaluate know. [00:55:37] Speaker C: I think for me it actually happened while I was at Penn State. Like many other students who are probably looking at the Honors college or who have recently gotten into the honors college, I was a fairly type A perfectionist. I hate to use the word perfectionist, but I was a perfectionist back in high school and then I went to college and started that way and almost had, I guess you'd call it burnout, maybe. I know that's a pretty big buzword these days, but I had a moment, I want to say it was probably around sophomore year. Probably when I was having that identity cris where I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up and all those types of things where I stopped and realized that you don't have to be perfect in order to be successful again. Kind of using that word. And when I looked back again at maybe my college experience, was I going to remember that I got A's on every exam? Probably not. I mean, I didn't get A's on every exam, but I wanted to take it a little more. I wanted to be more laid back. I guess that's probably the best way to describe it. I didn't want to be trying to be a perfectionist all the time. It was tiring, it wasn't enjoyable. It wasn't making me feel like a good person. And so I still worked hard. I'm not going to say that I sat there and just gave up on everything, but I found that you could have more balance in your life. It wasn't all about getting straight A's. I don't have control over everything in the world. And so just kind of finding that ability to be more laid back and taking things as they come and learning from them no matter what they are, whether they are successes or failures. And honestly, I've stayed that way since and it is way healthier and makes me a much better person and probably makes me a much better parent, too. It's probably good I figured that out before having children because it wouldn't have gone very well if I was still trying to have control over everything. So I would say for a lot of you, I'm sure that there are many people listening who feel that way and you can still work hard and be the best you can be without. [00:57:37] Speaker B: Trying to control everything, especially if there's a toddler involved. [00:57:40] Speaker C: That is true. [00:57:41] Speaker B: There is no controlling that chaos. Now, Jess, you're a teacher, so this may come a little bit more naturally to you. How do you approach being both a mentor to your students or others and also how do you approach being a mentee from others who are more seasoned pas than yourself? [00:57:57] Speaker C: Yeah, so actually being a mentor was one of the big things that drew me to the academic setting. I loved being able to share my wisdom with other students. And not to say that I know everything, but just from my experiences working in the field and just life experiences in the short time that I've been around. I really love being able to be honest with students as a mentor. I think that's an important thing if you are going to be a mentor to someone is you have to be honest with them both the good, the positive and the negatives, and just honest about your experiences. I think as a mentee, I love also being mentored. I love being a mentee. Even when I started as a professor, there were lots of folks there that had been working there longer than I had and going into education as a PA. I don't have an education degree. I have a degree as a PA. I have a medicine degree. So I don't have a lot of education background. And so having folks there to be able to teach me how to educate people, how to make lectures, how to grade things, how to approach advising students, I really valued that. And it doesn't have to be something formal. It can be very informal, I think just making sure that there's always open lines of communication, how to communicate if you are going to be a mentee, having questions that you can come with and ask them and not being afraid to ask things that feel like stupid questions. I always say there's no stupid question, and generally there are not stupid questions. [00:59:32] Speaker B: Generally. Generally there's not. Once in a great while there could be maybe a less informed question, but no stupid questions. Now, are there any professors, friends, classmates that you would like to give a shout out to from your days on campus? [00:59:47] Speaker C: Yeah, I guess I would shout out my thesis advisor. I never really actually went into much detail about what my thesis was, but I did work with Dr. Nancy Williams. She's a kinesiology professor. She was the one who really encouraged me, again, to not just have a thesis and just write something so that I could ring the gong, but really kind of make it a meaningful experience. And I really felt like, at least in her lab, we were not undergrads grad students, professors. We were just one big team who all had a role to play. And that was really cool to me that as a sophomore, I was a valuable member of the lab and of that team. So I guess a shout out to her and her lab, which works with exercising female athletes and looks at their nutrition and exercise physiology and reproductive function and bone health and all those types of things, which, again, I loved it. We kept in touch for quite a while. She was a great mentor to me and really helped encourage me to make the most of my experience great. [01:00:54] Speaker B: I'm sure that came in great use as a PA. And even if you decide that being a PA. Going into medicine is not for you, I think a valuable thing I've taken out of our conversation today, Jess, other than getting to know you better, is teamwork. And there are very few jobs in life that you can truly do just by yourself. Being a good team player is vital to learn those skills so start working on those. Which leads me into my next question, which is are there any pieces of advice that you wanted to leave off on for any scholars that are listening today? [01:01:26] Speaker C: Yes. So I mean, just again, to reiterate, if you are terrified of the thesis, find something you like to do and you will actually be able to enjoy something that may not sound enjoyable to you. That's not really advice, that's just kind of my takeaway message. But as far as advice, I would say two things. First of all, find ways to be involved at Penn State. So yes, the Honors College does make it a smaller campus, but it is still a big campus even if you are in the Honors program. However, there are plenty of ways to make it small. Find something you enjoy doing, some activity you like to be in and get involved with it. And you can kind of shop around a little bit when you're starting out, but don't wait as a freshman, go to the Get Involved Fair or whatever when I was a student there. Find out what opportunities are out there to be in different clubs and organizations and get involved in them. And then secondly, just make sure to use all the resources that are available to you. And I alluded to this a little bit earlier in the podcast. Use the career center, use the gyms, use the health center. If you're struggling emotionally, there's usually resources for you on campus there. And generally I say for most of this stuff, you've already paid for it. College isn't cheap, that's not a secret. And so being able to use the things that you've really honestly paid for is why you go to the university, go to the Career fair, go to the grad school there, go to office hours for your professor if you need to, and no one's going to come to you to do all this stuff. No one's going to kind of come to your dorm and knock on your door and tell you, hey, you should go do this. Maybe if you have a really good friend they'll do that for you. But most of the time you've got to do it yourself and so do it. And honestly, it's a great way to learn how to be an know, you learn how to do things for yourself and that's what you have to do in the real world. So do it. [01:03:21] Speaker B: Great advice to wrap up there on Jess. If a scholar is interested in becoming a PA and they want to reach out to you and learn more and continue this conversation, how can they connect with you? [01:03:33] Speaker C: I don't have a LinkedIn or an Instagram. I'm a millennial quote, unquote, but I feel like I have no millennial, things like that. So certainly you can find me on the DeSales website. DeSales is the PA program I work at. My information is there. If you need to. So certainly that's probably the easiest way. But I would say you don't have to just reach out to me. You can find anyone who's working in the fields you're interested in and just talk to them. Most people are going to be thrilled that you're asking them to give them some advice. Most people like to talk about what. [01:04:07] Speaker B: They do, especially if they're a Penn Stater and you are a Penn Stater. And as evidenced by I don't know what episode number of the podcast this is, but our alumni love to share this with you. So just some points of evidence right there for Jess's point. Now, I'm going to really ask you a very hard hitting question here, Jess. If you were a flavor of Berkeley creamery ice cream, which would you be? And most importantly, as a scholar alumna, why would you be that flavor? [01:04:32] Speaker C: Tough question. My favorite flavor is alumni swirl, though I don't think that's the flavor I would be. It's just the one I would want to eat. However, probably the flavor I would be, I'd probably say PSU coffee break. And the only reason I say that is because there is nothing better in life than a good cup of coffee and a break. So a hot cup of coffee. Now, I'm generally, usually microwaving my cup of coffee a few times, so if I could have a good cup of coffee or ice cream, I mean, ice cream and coffee are both great things in life. So when you combine the both of them, it's even better. [01:05:06] Speaker B: It's all about finding the joy and finding the balance. Very, very popular option with strollers. I don't think there's any coincidence there, given writing a thesis and probably some of those all nighters that you pulled. I pulled. We all pulled as scholars. Jess, thank you so much for joining me here today on following the Gone. Really appreciate all of your insights on what a physician assistant is and how to become one and how to succeed as one. So I really appreciate you coming on today. Thank you so much. [01:05:32] Speaker C: Thank you, Sean. It was great. [01:05:41] Speaker A: Thank you, scholars, for listening and learning with us today. We hope you will take something with you that will contribute to how you shape the world. [01:05:48] Speaker B: This show proudly supports the Shrier Honors. [01:05:50] Speaker A: College Emergency Fund benefiting scholars experiencing unexpected financial hardship. You can make a difference at slash Shrier. Please be sure to hit the relevant subscribe like or Follow button on whichever platform you are engaging with us on today. You can follow the college on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to stay up to date on news, events and deadlines. [01:06:13] Speaker B: If you have questions about the show or are scholar alum who'd like to join us as a guest here on. [01:06:17] Speaker A: Following the Gone, please connect with me at scholar alumni at psu.edu. Until next time, please stay well. And we are.

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