Are you paving your way to PA school? Becoming a physician assistant is a highly-rewarding career that many students who are interested in medicine pursue.
Chances are, you’ve done your research, and you know you need to earn patient care hours. But did you know that you can earn your patient care hours for PA school without having a certification? In this article, we’re going to discuss:
- The important difference between health care experience and patient care experience
- The different ways you can earn patient care hours for PA school without any certification
- How a pre-PA internship with International Medical Aid can get you 30-40+ hours of experience per week
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Health Care Experience vs. Patient Care Experience
There’s a major difference between health care experience vs. patient care experience. Health care experience involves clerical work in clinical and hospital settings, but it doesn’t involve much–if any–interaction with patients. Patient care experience involves direct interaction with patients. Taking vitals, reporting symptoms and drawing blood are common tasks associated with patient care experience.
Patient care experience is favored over health care experience because of the exposure to patients and experience interacting with them. Part of the purpose for racking up those hours is to show your dedication to the patients whom you’ll be treating when you have your license to practice as a PA. Health care experience is great to have, but patient care experience is better.
Earn Your Patient Care Hours for PA School
There are several different roles that will allow you to earn your patient care hours for PA school.
Patient Care Technician
Other names for this role include:
- Patient care coordinator
- Clinical coordinator
- Patient care assistant
You’ll need to be a high school graduate and have your CPR certification. The role of a patient care technician is similar to that of a CNA or MA. But while CNAs and MAs have certifications, a patient care technician role doesn’t require one. Patient care technicians draw blood, take vitals and fill out paperwork for the doctor. Their work is supervised by a nurse or other licensed/certified medical personnel.
Becoming a patient care technician is a great way to rack up patient care hours for PA school while you’re still earning your undergrad degree. It’s also a great part-time or full-time job if you take a gap year. If you’re looking for a patient care technician job for the summer months, start looking early. These roles are highly competitive!
A word of caution: read job descriptions very carefully. Some patient care technician jobs might fall under the category of health care experience instead of patient care experience. If you’re looking for this role specifically for the patient care hours, you won’t want to apply for the wrong jobs!
Clinical Research Coordinator
A clinical research coordinator is a coveted role. Few are available, so it’s tough to nail one down. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying! You’ll need your bachelor’s degree in a health sciences-related field. Biology and other Science majors also qualify for this role. In this role, you’ll work directly with patients in clinical trials. Your tasks will include:
- Patient enrollment
- Monitoring patients throughout clinical trials
- Taking vitals and drawing blood
- Reading results and consulting with patients during office visits
- Keeping an eye on side effects and symptoms
As you can see, this is a highly-involved role for not needing certification. That’s why the job is as competitive as it is. It also pays really well: 40-50K per year. Good luck in your job search!
Unfortunately, this role doesn’t pay. But it does provide you with plenty of hours. Indeed, there are requirements for weekly hours and total semester hours. It’s an ideal position to have while in college, but there are also options outside of collegiate settings.
Some clinic volunteer positions only count for health care experience instead of patient care experience. So, if you’re trying to log patient care hours for PA school, read the volunteer position details carefully. Plus, this position probably isn’t for you if you need to save up for PA school. It’s more for pre-PA/PA students who need to log hours.
Medical Mission Volunteer
Going on a medical mission trip is a great way to log patient care hours for PA school. Not only that, but voluntary healthcare internships abroad look great on PA school applications! There’s something about going to South America that looks impressive on a PA school application.
So, how do you go on a medical trip like this? International Medical Aid offers pre-PA internships without requiring any certification or past experience. You can earn up to 30-40 hours of experience every single week during your trip.
International Medical Aid provides pre-PA internships through our collaborative process with both public and private hospitals. Doctors and PAs work with interns to provide a hands-on experience with patients. Our internships are tailored to you–your skills, your education and your career goals. Our pre-PA internships provide you with ample patient care hours.
Most of our pre-PA internship opportunities happen in remote places. This voluntary time spent abroad will take you to places like East Africa, South America and the Caribbean. You’ll intern with doctors and PAs who work at large teaching hospitls and field medical clinics. You’ll also participate in public health education programs, receive first aid training and see first responders in action.
So, not only will you earn patient care hours for PA school, but you’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t find anywhere else.
Interested in going on an internship with us? Each internship includes:
- 24/7 support
- PA School Admissions Support
- Orientation and Training
- Gated Housing with 24/7 Security
- Insurance for Travel, Accident and Health
- Transportation to Volunteer Locations
- Three Daily Meals Prepared by a Professional Chefs
- Hospital Fees Covered
- Unlimited Wi-Fi
- Program Debriefing
You’ll have all your bases with us covered if you go on an internship with us. You’ll be provided with everything you need to succeed.
We offer pre-PA internships in the following areas:
- Cardiothoracic Surgery
- Emergency Medicine / Urgent Care
- Internal Medicine
- General Surgery
- OB / GYN
- Orthopedic Surgery
- Tropical Medicine
We have a section of our website with more information on pre-PA internships with International Medical Aid. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have. We’ll be happy to assist you in any way we can.
International Medical Aid is here to help you prepare for PA school. Our pre-PA internships will provide you with an experience like no other. If you’re looking for a job, we recommend researching available positions for clinical research coordinators or patient care technicians. These positions will provide you with the patient care hours you need while also covering your bills and helping you save up for PA school.
We wish you the best of luck on your journey to becoming a PA!