Physician Assistant Program

Dear Future Me…

Clinical rotations in PA school are all about learning. You see patients with conditions and diseases that you have read about during didactic year and learn how to manage them in the “real world.” You become more familiar with the inner workings of various clinical settings: emergency departments, operating rooms, outpatient clinics and inpatient wards. You learn just enough about insurance, billing and coding to make you teeter on the edge of sanity and be … Read More

The Real Rural World

“This is the true story of seven strangers picked to live in a duplex, work together and have their lives interlinked, to find out what happens when health students leave PDX…and start getting rural.” Okay, so it’s not QUITE the salacious prologue to a hit MTV series, but it doesn’t make it any less valid for those involved. In truth, most of us (three PA students, three med students, one dental student – and one … Read More

Transitioning to Fall…

Physician Assistant programs are notoriously rigorous.  As an incoming student, the years that lie ahead seem insurmountable.  And then … before you know it you’ve hit the ground running and you’re well on your way.  It’s now day 102 of what may very well be the most challenging 26 months of my life, but despite the challenges that PA school has thrown my way I couldn’t be happier.  I’m not trying to minimize the sacrifices … Read More

OneNote to Rule Them All, OneNote to Find Them…

Sometime during the months before PA school I received an email recommending that I familiarize myself with note taking software. I didn’t think much of this message at the time. I mean, I had been pretty successful with a pad of paper and a pen all throughout undergrad, so why change what isn’t broken? Fast forward to my first day at OHSU, and I arrive with said pen and said paper in hand, ready to … Read More

Tiger Blood

This week I will be sitting down with a group of applicants who are interviewing for positions in next year’s PA cohort. As the sage old PA student, I thought I would gather together my new-found wisdom to share with these potential students: The first introductions with your new classmates can be intimidating. Getting into a competitive school like OHSU means that everyone is stupidly brilliant with seriously impressive work and volunteer backgrounds. Recognize that … Read More

A Plan with Not Quite Enough Time

“Patient is a 26 y/o otherwise healthy, devastatingly handsome male with a history of PSVT. He presents to the ED with three ex-EMS personnel all equipped in softball attire. Patient states that he’s had 4-5 episodes of heart palpitations for the past hour. He’s attempted valsalva maneuvers with some success, but cannot ‘get out of this one.’ Patient reports lightheadedness and tunnel vision. He relates paresthesias and hypothermia of all four extremities and says ‘walking … Read More

Why I’m Here

You get that phone call. You’re in! You’re excited. You’re beyond excited. You’re ecstatic! You call your mom. Then all your friends. Then you post on Facebook. Then you walk around for a few months whistling a happy tune, skipping along, so grateful, vowing this gratitude will carry you through the dreary winter months when your life is an endless lecture and you dream of words such as pemphigus vulgaris. Then you get here. It’s … Read More

T-minus 2000 hours

Prior to PA school, I primarily worked as a pathology technician performing gross dissections (in the macroscopic sense, but often in the literal sense too) of human tissue in Anatomic Pathology. I could slice my way through gallbladders like it was nobody’s business, releasing that sludgy green-brown material known as bile that lets french fries, cheese and everything sacred exist in my diet. I could describe every minute detail of a perforated appendix on my … Read More

One down, seven to go

The leaves are turning, the clouds are rolling in, Portland is once again being spritzed like a grocery store vegetable, and the cohort of 2016 has finished their first quarter of PA school! Reflecting on my first quarter, it has been both exciting and challenging. I began not knowing what to expect. That first morning in the Collaborative Life Sciences Building, I met an incredible group of people: faculty, staff and students. One of the … Read More

Meant to be here

When I interviewed at OHSU, the Physician Assistant Program Director repeatedly emphasized how much care is taken during the application process to assemble each incoming class. He spoke about how deliberately each applicant is chosen in order to create a class that works well together and values collaboration instead of competition. The selection process is not random; each member of the incoming PA class is “meant to be here.” Current PA students that participated in … Read More



Ever wondered what life is like as a student at OHSU? What does it take to become a researcher? Just how gross is gross anatomy? Welcome to the blog that answers these – and many other – questions. It’s students writing first-hand about their commitment to careers in science and health care. It’s honest about the challenges as well as the joys. It’s not always pretty. But it is our story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And please, let us know what you think.

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