Patient Care Experience
Rather than simply having experience shadowing a PA or as a volunteer, most PA programs expect accepted applicants to matriculate having significant “hands-on” experience working in a hospital or other clinical setting. In fact, competitive applicants often have at least a 1000 hours of experience prior to matriculation, with some PA programs requiring up to 2000 hours.
The best experiences bring you in direct contact with patients, and occur in established settings associated with hospitals or clinics. Indeed, many schools prefer that you spend time in a variety of clinical settings such as rehabilitation, acute care, emergency medicine or pediatrics rather than observing just one type of practice setting. Check with the individual schools for requirements, as some are stricter than others.
How Can I Attain Direct Patient Care Hours?
- Most prospective applicants become certified nursing assistants (CNAs), med assistants
(MAs), EMT’s, or medical scribes in order to gain enough experience to apply.
- Click Here For A List of Direct Patient Care Hour Opportunities
- For more information, see Mercer’s guide for direct-patient care experience and the types of positions that typically qualify: https://chp.mercer.edu/www/zzz-chp/admissions/upload/PCEInfo.pdf
How do I keep track of my Shadowing and Direct Patient Care Hours?
You should begin keeping track of your experiences in a log by downloading our Pre-Professional App that allows you to include who you shadowed or were employed by, organizations you volunteered with, your duties, the total numbers of hours worked, the time range (e.g., May 2021 through June 2022), name of supervisor, the name of the clinic or practice, address and phone number.
- Download our Pre-Professional App here.