Margie Pascual

I am from Los Angeles, CA. I received a BS in Chemistry/Biochemistry from the University of California San Diego and worked for three years as a clinical research associate before moving to Portland to pursue a masters in physician assistant studies over a year ago. Most of our drug research involved diseases of the central nervous system and while that was fun, my heart was settled on a career in medicine. I also have a passion for volunteering and I’ve volunteered at Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic, Oregon Food Bank, Operation Nightwatch, the Ronald McDonald house, and at the OMSI to educate those interested to learn more about the physician assistant profession. I also like long walks and yoga!

With that said, I am currently experiencing the clinical year and have enjoyed it to the max. There are many opportunities to learn not just about medicine, but also about the interdependence between people, and the intricacies of life. I can’t wait to see where I will end up!

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  1. long walks? how long?

  2. OHSU is lucky to have you!

  3. Hi my name is Jesse. I’ve been doing my prereqs for nursing and I am in my first of three terms of A&P. This being my third year doing college prereqs plus training as a hospital corpsman in the navy, I am starting to get extremely burnt out. I have worked for a PA before on the ship as well as many doctors, surgeons, CRNAs, Anesthesiologists (hot ones!), and RNs. My first focus after getting out in 2009 was CRNA, then I changed it to RN and possibly eventually NP. While taking A&P and an onine music history class, I just started a float medical assistant gig for Adventist Health. I have been working for them (training) for about 3 weeks now. The reason I found this and am now writing a memoire is because I took a trip to the ER due to feeling ill and was greated by what I thought was a nurse, but was really a PA. He saw my A&P book that I was attempting to read while sitting in the waiting room, and we started talking about my future. He said he should be trying to talk me over to his side and this stuck in my head. I have been losing my drive ever since I left my first A&P class. For years, I have been looking forward to taking this class and now that it is here I find myself with 0% heart and motivation for it. The lecture is once a week and is in a massive auditorium. The lab is once a week and a smaller class (thank God).
    I learned recently in a BLS class that the Oregon State Board of Nursing has changed the requirement for a NP from masters to PhD. This basically crushed my plans because I am not about to do that much school. I come here looking for insight into PA school world. What it takes to get in, what its like to be in the program….so forth. Thinking about this I can feel a small twinkle of a spark coming back in me. What I am asking you is accept my apology for taking time to read this and to possibly give me some insight. Thank you

  4. Hi Jesse,

    Forgive me for the late response. I am currently on my inpatient rotation and have been quite busy, but I wanted to let you know that I have read your comment and will have a response for you by this weekend!


  5. Jesse,
    Mikal, one of the PA students, tried to post this earlier this week but for some reason was unable to do so. So I am posting it for him. I’m a faculty member in the PA Program.

    Hi Jesse,

    I feel your pain! Finding a path through the maze of medical education (or education in general) can be daunting. It sounds like you’ve been working at this for a while and have a fair amount of experience under your belt, which happens to be just the kind of person who makes a good PA! It’s also really valuable that you’ve worked with PAs, NPs, docs and nurses – you probably have a reasonable understanding of how all the roles work together.

    Now, I could tell you about the soaring levels of job satisfaction, the reasonable hours and comfortable wages and the accolades that the PA profession has received from Money magazine, Forbes magazine and the US News and World Report, but it’s probably better if you read all that yourself 😉 I will tell you this: the application process is long and hard and many programs are competitive, but it’s worth it! Good schools look at much more than your grades, which is where your experience will really count in your favor. Highlight your life experiences. Once you pass the application hurdle, the real fun begins. PA school is incredibly challenging; you will eat, sleep and breathe PA school! But don’t worry – it’s rewarding and enjoyable and we find plenty of time to have fun. In fact, my classmates are like family and we support each other all the way. I’ll say it again – it’s worth it!

    I’ve attached a brochure from the PAEA (PA Education Association) that has info on what PAs generally do (though I suspect you already know!), job satisfaction rates and generally what you need to do to get started. An organization called CASPA (Central Application Service for PAs) is where you can fill out one application for a whole bunch of schools – super convenient! [Here is a url where you can find the brochure that Mikal refers to:

    Another good site is Click on the Research tab, then Data and Statistics on the left. On the right, you’ll see 2010 Census Report. It has lots of info on where PAs are working, how much they make, etc. The whole AAPA website has good info on PAs, actually.

    Each school has its own prerequisites and application requirements. Most are similar with slight variations. The best place to find these is the PAEA “PA Programs Directory”, but it costs money to see it (I forget how much, but it’s not a lot and if you’re really interested in applying, it’s well worth it). Otherwise, you can find general lists of PA schools online – there are about 150 nationwide.

    Here’s the link to the OHSU PA website, if you haven’t already found it. On the left hand side there’s a link for “Applicants” that has all the info on prereqs, how to apply, etc.

    Finally, I just want you to know that I’m not a recruiter or admissions agent – I’m just a student. I write this because I was in your shoes – working full time as an EMT, becoming jaded on life, losing motivation and wondering where I was going. I found this path and for what it’s worth, I think it was a good decision.

    Whatever you do, good luck and don’t let yourself get too discouraged. Wherever there is, you’ll get there in the end!


    OHSU PA class of 2013

  6. You are providing very good information about the education.Thanks for sharing!

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