Missouri State University Physician Assistant Studies second year student, Taylor Heimann, has just completed the first rotation of her clinical year. Read her spotlight below to find out about her experience in the program so far, what she was looking forward to on this first rotation, and her best advice for new PA students.
Hometown: O’Fallon, IL
Degrees Earned: I graduated Missouri State University in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Movement Science and minors in Biomedical Science and Chemistry.
Previous Healthcare Experience: Majority of my healthcare experience prior to PA school came from being a scribe in Mercy’s Emergency Department. I also worked as a tech in the ICU and a CNA in a long-term care facility for a short period of time.
Why did I decide PA?
I have always had a passion for medicine and a desire to make a difference in patients’ lives. I first heard about the PA profession while being a patient myself and I admired the essential role physician assistants make in the healthcare team. Plus, the added benefit of having a great work-life balance and the versatility of being able to change specialties down the road. All of these combined with my fascination of problem solving and solution building, the PA path seemed like the perfect fit for me. I look forward to being a lifelong learner as a PA!
Experience in the program so far:
To think that one year ago I was just starting PA school is surreal. It has been one of the hardest, yet most amazing and rewarding years of my life. The days feel long but the marathon is over before you know it. I have gained friendships that will last a lifetime, I have grown as an individual personally and professionally in more ways than one, and my knowledge of medicine has improved tremendously. It is easy to feel like I know nothing at times, however, I have proven to myself over and over that that I know so much more than I did just 12 months ago.
First Clinical Rotation and looking forward to PA-S2: My first clinical rotation is Internal Medicine at Mizzou’s University Hospital in Columbia, MO. There are many things I am looking forward to as a PA-S2. I am excited to put my knowledge and skills into practice and solidify all the topics we have learned this past year. I am looking forward to seeing the wide range of specialties we rotate through and discovering different styles of practice from each preceptor in order to begin formulating how I want to practice as a future provider. Finally, I am excited to be pushed outside of my comfort zone and prove to myself everything I am capable of!
What do I like best about MSU’s program? There are so many things to love about Missouri State’s PA program, including the small class size that quickly become family, the privilege of having a cadaver lab in anatomy, and the hands-on learning experiences throughout the program. However, I believe the best part about MSU’s program is the faculty. Their wealth of knowledge is endless, their encouragement is limitless, and they care about each one of us as more than just a student. The support the professors provide truly goes beyond the classroom.
Advice: The biggest piece of advice I have for future PA students is to take care of yourself during school. It’s truly a marathon, therefore setting up good routines in the beginning is essential. It is very easy to become overwhelmed, from 8 hours of clinical medicine in a day to spending 14 hours at the library (trust me it’s possible) so having something to keep you mentally and physically healthy is SO important. Take time outside of class and studying to do something you enjoy!
Currently, I am undecided as far as what specialty I would like to begin in after graduation; this is one of the main reasons I am excited to begin clinical year. However, I do have some ideas in mind, specifically Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, or Surgery. Although, I have heard many times this can easily change throughout the course of this year, so I am keeping an open mind!