Wondering how to get the best possible start as a new physician assistant? These tips can help!
For National PA Week, Cross Country Locums Chief Medical Officer Michael Skovira, MBA, MPAS, PA-C, shares his guidance for new physician assistant graduates just embarking on their careers. With more than 15 years in the field and first-hand experience as a PA-C, an educator, and a healthcare leader, he brings insights from multiple perspectives to help new PAs succeed with the following tips.
Enjoy and have a happy National PA Week!
PA Grads: New Provider Tips from CMO and PA Michael Skovira
1. Leverage Your Rotations
Consider each of your rotations a four- to five-week interview. If you make an impression, you may just land your first job opportunity before you even graduate. That's actually how I landed my first job out of PA school. Even if there isn't an open position at the time, that department will remember you when a position does open up. So be sure to arrive early, introduce yourself to everyone you encounter, work hard, volunteer when opportunities arrive, and network with those around you. Formally thank them at the end of the rotation and stay in touch afterward.
2. Leverage Your Faculty
You'd be surprised at how many connections your faculty members have out there. They have all successfully established their careers and have developed extensive networks. If you have a solid rapport with your faculty, they just might introduce you to their networks. So, engage with your faculty members regularly and express your interest. Ask if they know of any potential opportunities they can introduce you to.
3. Strengthen Your CV
Personal Statement: The majority of personal statements I've read all tend to sound similar to one another. But every now and then I'll come across a powerful statement that captures my interest even more. Your personal statement is your opportunity to stand out from the rest of the pack. Use this space to connect with the reader. Think big; think profound.
Experience: At this stage of the game, your fellow graduates all have the same level of experience as you – and that is your clinical rotations. So be sure to highlight any impressive aspects of those rotations to raise the eyebrow of the reader. Was your emergency medicine rotation at a level 1 trauma center? Did your orthopedic rotation happen to be a an award-winning or nationally acclaimed orthopedic practice? Did you happen to assist in a high-risk or complicated delivery at your ob/gyn rotation? Include that relevant information! Promote those experiences!
4. Pursue That Specialty
For those of you who are passionate about a particular specialty, be sure to pursue it right from the start. This gives you the opportunity to apply all of your didactic and clinical experiences while still fresh, as well as providing you more time to grow and flourish in that specialty in the years ahead. If you're having difficulty landing that job due to minimal experience, consider applying in other geographic locations that may have more of a need. You may have to temporarily relocate, but after gaining a year or two of experience, you will have established yourself and opened a whole host of opportunities for that specialty. You can also consider a residency which provides you with one to two years of additional training to strengthen your skillset in that particular specialty while also serving as your passport for the experience required to land those premier specialty jobs.
5. Think Outside the Box
I once met a PA who landed a job for a highly revered dermatology practice right out of school. I asked him how he pulled that off and he told me that he made several small gift bags that included his CV, a hand-written note describing his desire to work in dermatology, and a few treats for the staff. He then walked to several dermatology practices all over the city and personally hand-delivered the gift bags. This particular practice loved his enthusiasm and his willingness to go above and beyond so much that they took him on board and decided to train him themselves, knowing that he had the passion and the presence to truly add value to their practice.
Locums Opportunities for PAs
Locum tenens assignments can be the ideal way to kick off your career as a new provider. To learn more about how you can embark on an exciting adventure nearby or in a new location, browse through our PA locums assignments.