The Pre-Physician Assistant Society cultivates the community for future physician assistants
By Megan Hale | Journalist
Nurturing students on their pre-health journeys, Baylor’s Pre-Physician Assistant Society (PAS) seeks to provide members with the tools and knowledge to not only be successful in their undergraduate pursuits, but also to adequately prepare them. to their future as practicing health care providers.
According to PAS websitethe primary goals of the organization are to educate students about the physician assistant (PA) profession, facilitate the application process for PA schools, and increase community and service in the lives of students .
“The PA Society was created to help pre-PA students who want to become medical assistants to come together, form a community and support each other throughout our undergraduate journey as we prepare to apply for the ‘PA school,’ Houston senior and co-company president Uchenna Egwim said. “PA school is a bit different from other healthcare professions because there is no direct path to get into PA school. There are a lot of requirements, like patient contact hours and certain classes, and a lot of people aren’t necessarily educated on how to be a PA or what even a PA does. So we’re just here to help guide Baylor students with that.
According to American Academy of Physicians Associates, a PA is a licensed clinician who practices medical treatment and diagnosis in all specialties and settings. They are dedicated to expanding access to care and transforming health and well-being.
Through social events, workshops, service opportunities, mission trips, and graduate school visits, Baylor’s Pre-AP Society provides members with a port to connect with like-minded students and develop relationships. skills and perspectives that will help them in their future careers.
During spring break, members of the Pre-PA Society had the opportunity to serve overseas, putting their clinical skills to the test, on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
“It was really helpful for all the girls to see people using their profession and their gifts in a way that serves others,” said Caroline Kemp, sophomore and missionary trip president.
By shadowing doctors and attending the clinic, students gained real-world experience far beyond the classroom.
“We all became really close and all the girls were really open to sharing their stories with each other, so it was a great bonding activity,” Kemp said. “[It was] also so good for the girls to see firsthand people using their professions and their gifts and their time to serve others and serve God. Only [to] see a little window into how they can make it someday.
PAS also offers local service opportunities that can be completed in person and virtually. Each semester, the organization plans several larger service events, including volunteering at the Baylor Bearathon and participate in the whole city To go out service day.
“Last semester, about 40 members and I helped paint this church building in downtown Waco, and it was so rewarding,” said Avery Fabre, junior and service president in Denver, Colorado. “I know the pastor was very grateful for us and he even brought us into the building afterwards and prayed for us, which was so wonderful and unexpected.”
The service is offered weekly to assist with individual member schedules. The Pre-PA Society also encourages members to volunteer and follow medical professionals at Waco Family Medicine and the Mission Waco Health Clinic.
Virtual service opportunities include taking time out of your day to call palliative care patients to simply be a friend to them as they deal with the challenges of their situation.
Each year, the Pre-PA Society welcomes guest speakers—usually practicing PAs or graduate PA students—to attend their meetings and provide members with guidance and mentorship. They also bring in professionals to educate members on how to prepare for the PA school application process, providing advice on best practices to stand out.
“I would encourage someone to join the PA Society if they’re interested in being a PA because in college it’s so easy to track moves and take classes because you want to get a grade and get caught up in all the to-do lists and get a major,” Kemp said. “It’s so easy to forget what your end goal is and be in the PA Society, come somewhere once a week or every two weeks that I’m reminded, ‘Okay, that’s the long-term goal’, it really refocuses me.”
By providing a network for students to feel supported, the Pre-PA Society plays its part in launching its members into their future as healthcare providers.
“The PA Society is beneficial because I learned small details that made a difference to me in how I approached my journey to becoming a PA that I otherwise wouldn’t have known if I wasn’t part of it. of this organization,” Egwim said. “I just think it’s really helpful to be around a group of people who have the same career goals as you.”