Nearing the end of his didactic year in the Physician Assistant master’s program at Missouri State University, Chase Thompson feels prepared for his transition to the clinical year. Chase completed Missouri State’s Health Profession Scholars program during his undergraduate studies and began his journey as a PA student this past January. Read on to find out more about his experiences leading up to PA school and his insight as a successful PA student.
Carl Junction, Missouri
College attended and degree earned:
Missouri State University 2014-2018
Major: Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology
What was your previous healthcare experience?
Laboratory Assistant (February 2017 – July 2018) – I instructed patients regarding collecting specimens, checked patients into the lab, directed patients to their proper rooms, transported patients to and from the lab, and tested patient specimens.
Patient Care Associate (July 2018 – December 2018) – I worked on the cardiac ICU step-down floor where I fulfilled duties such as monitoring vitals, ordering meals and recording food and water intake for patients, assisting patients with walking, changing linens, and assisting nurses with any medical emergencies that arose.
Interesting fact about yourself:
I am scuba certified and have explored several submerged ships and plane wrecks off of the coast and throughout the US!
Why did you decide to become a PA?
I originally came to college unsure of what I wanted to do. As a freshman, I joined a pre-healthcare organization where I first learned about the PA profession. While job shadowing, I loved the positive impact that each PA seemed to make on their patients. They took the time to fully answer all of the patient’s questions and several patients expressed how a provider had never taken that time with them before. Experiences such as these as well as the passion that I saw from working PAs solidified my decision to become a PA!
Describe your experience in the program.
This past year has been the most challenging, yet rewarding experience of my life so far. As your coursework starts to pile up and you’re unsure of how to mange it all, you are able to fall back on the support of your family, classmates, and faculty who all make it much more manageable. I couldn’t be happier with where I ended up or the circumstances that I have been given so far!
What do you like best about the MSU PA program?
I truly believe that the faculty cares about how I am doing both academically as well as personally. They are always willing to listen and troubleshoot solutions if you come to them with a concern. Additionally, they do a great job with implementing teaching strategies to make it easier to learn and retain the information being taught for practice.
Did you do anything that helped you prepare for PA school?
Working and volunteering in positions that allowed me to have a lot of direct patient interaction was extremely helpful coming into PA school. Speaking to patients as a medical provider was a larger learning curve than I had anticipated and I now believe that I have an advantage as I transition into my clinical year because of those experiences.
Do you have any advice for prospective PA students?
Get as much direct patient care (both paid and unpaid) as possible. It not only gives you experience regarding effective patient communication but also gives you the opportunity to learn more about various medical conditions and their proper management firsthand – which is the most effective way to remember it. Also, become active in extracurricular activities that you enjoy and are passionate about. Even if it doesn’t directly involve medicine, it gives the faculty a better idea of who you are and what you are passionate about.
What specialty or career goals do you want to pursue? Why?
I am currently interested in emergency medicine or a surgical sub-specialty due to their fast-paced nature as well as the diversity of cases that you see on a daily basis! However, I also want to keep my options open as I transition into the clinical year, so I certainly wouldn’t rule any specialty out quite yet.