The role of a physician assistant (PA) is relatively new and was created as a response to a shortage of health workers, especially in rural areas. The number of PAs has increased since then as their roles and importance to the medical community have grown.
Today, there are about 140,000 PAs in the United States. A physician assistant or physician associate is regarded as one of the best healthcare jobs in the country today. They are essential members of the medical community and are projected to play an even more prominent role in the future.
Qualifying For A Physician Assistant Internship Program
Depending on the medical facility, the requirements for an internship for a physician assistant may differ. Typically, you’d need to graduate with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from a physician assistant program to be offered an internship. Some medical facilities may also accept students into their internship programs.
Likewise, you’d need an internship to qualify for a PA license from the state. However, some employers (hospitals, clinics, or physicians’ practices) offer internships only to licensed PAs.
As PA internship requirements vary, you should check your prospective employer’s qualifications for interns first to ascertain eligibility. Moreover, there are physician assistant internship opportunities all over the world.
Getting your internship abroad can be very rewarding. You’ll have the chance to observe medical professionals in rural towns or other locations. You’ll also see first-hand how they treat patients despite inadequate facilities and treatment options.
You can also take advantage of opportunities to volunteer in community outreach programs some organizations offer. You can help teach proper hygiene to local communities, spend time in orphanages, and take part in health education in local communities. You can also build your professional network and gain valuable healthcare experience.
Getting Into A PA Internship Program
Becoming a PA intern is no cakewalk. You’d have to consider the relevance to your chosen career path, the type of mentors, and other factors. However, a critical consideration for a PA intern is the opportunity to work directly with doctors and patients.
Experience in providing primary healthcare to patients is essential to a PA’s job description. Additionally, if the opportunity is there, an internship abroad wouldn’t look bad on your resumé.
Experience in working with patients and doctors will prepare you for high-pressure situations. With more experience, you’ll be more confident and sure-footed during emergencies.
An internship is undoubtedly an excellent way of getting immersed in the nuts and bolts of your chosen profession – but how do you go about looking for a PA internship?
Below are a few suggestions:
1. Seek Assistance From Your School’s Career Department
The first one you should approach is your school. Your school’s career department or one of your professors might have something for you. Educational and medical institutions usually assist students needing internships.
You’ll most likely be able to choose from several options. In such a case, your advisers will base their internship recommendations on your professional goals and educational background.
2. Ask For Recommendations From Your Supervising Physician
You can also ask your primary care physician directly about student PA internships. If there aren’t any offers, inquire about a referral to other medical facilities. There may not be any assurance that they can take the time to mentor you, but it’s still worth asking.
3. Request Referrals From Family and Friends
If your physician can’t offer an internship, you can ask the people you know. They might know someone or somewhere where an internship is available. You could also ask your classmates if they know a PA or anyone who can point you in the right direction.
4. Use the Internet
A great place to look for PA internships is online. Type ‘available physician assistant internship’ on your search engine. Check the results and pick a program suited to you.
You can also find and join online groups or forums that can assist you. These online groups can be a great help to people in your situation.
5. Widen Your Search – Go Global
You can apply for internship programs in places such as East Africa, South America, and the Caribbean that need medical professionals like you the most. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about various procedures and treatments under conditions that are different from what you’ve gotten used to.
Physician assistants are licensed patient care providers who work under licensed physicians. They undergo internshipsto further their training and gain valuable experience in the medical field.
Getting into an internship program might not be easy, but the suggestions discussed here, if you’re looking for one, may be of help.