I was a Navy corpsman right after high
school and when I was getting ready for discharge from the armed services I
started to wonder what am I going to do when I when I finish this what am I
going to do how am I going to transfer those skills and I found out about a
physician assistant career through one of the PAs who was serving as a medical
officer in the boot camp where I was working as as a corpsman and we chatted for a
little bit and I found out through that conversation about the PA career and I
really got excited about it and found out that even better that there was a
program in my hometown I found out that I really liked teaching and that process
it was also nice to go back to my hometown and get involved 100% into
education and I did that for many years moving on eventually become the program
director of that program in 2000 I met this gentleman who was the president of
Shenandoah University at a national PA conference in Chicago and he came up to me
and said I’m looking for a program director for this program that I’m planning on
starting in Winchester, Virginia I said I don’t know where Winchester,
Virginia is and I’m flattered that you asked me but I’m really not looking for a
job right now and he said perfect come talk with me
and I did and the next thing you know I ended up taking the position here at
Shenandoah University to launch the first PA program at Shenandoah so the
Shenandoah University PA program is very pleased that we are on the top 25 of the
US News & World Report listing for graduate Physician Assistant programs we’re the youngest program in
the top 20 and we’re very pleased that we were able to get to that ranking
that’s because our graduates are well known for providing excellent care of
their patients our program is very competitive each year we get on the
average of 800 applications for 50 some seats candidates who get accepted to our
program have very strong academics and they really demonstrate a knowledge of
the PA profession and they also demonstrate to our faculty that they
have a caring and compassionate personality you’ve worked in health care
as a nursing aide a nurse or paramedic
emergency medicine technician or a variety of other positions that can show
us that you really know what you’re getting yourself into our typical
candidate has a GPA of about 3.6 we’re very fortunate to have a very strong
faculty here at Shenandoah University our faculty are all physician assistants
so they’ve had experience working in the clinical environment and now they’ve
come to share that those knowledge and skill with the students in addition most
of our faculty also work up to one day a week to keep those clinical skills
active and up to date so within the context of our curriculum that’s 30
months the physician assistant students are able to diagnose disease prescribe
medicine and perform certain clinical skills those clinical skills can include
a wide range of things from starting IVs to putting on casts or splints to even
more sophisticated things our students have no difficulty in finding
employment after they graduate in fact many of them are offered jobs while
they’re on their clinical training during the second year of the program
the employment opportunities for physician assistants are fantastic right
now and part of the reason that that’s the case is we find that as more
patients get health insurance they have an opportunity to access health care and
they need providers physicians are beginning to retire individuals are
getting older within our population the so-called baby boomers and they need
more care and right now there’s a shortage of health care providers
physicians and PAs and nurse practitioners our students
will fill those positions and they’ll make a good salary doing that the
starting salaries are anywhere from eighty thousand to over a hundred
thousand dollars a year depending on the location of the practice but the
important part is the PA can practice medicine in a in a manner that is very
close to what physicians do the successful candidate for our program is
somebody who really shines in their ability to communicate that they are a
caring and compassionate individual