PA Student, Class of 2020
"As a second year student with a graduation set for June, this has been an experience that I wouldn't quite wish on any practicing students. This is supposed to be a time of celebration: we have jobs lined up and are ready to graduate. But it doesn't feel like a time of excitement. I haven't seen my classmates or mentors in over a month. Our graduation has been canceled, and we won't get to walk across that stage or get to say goodbye to our alma mater. I miss the gross room and my coworkers. I miss being a PA student.
Many of our mentors and colleagues have stepped up to help students whose rotations have been affected. Videos, study guides, streaming cases, and suggested routes of study have been supplied by many PAs on social media and from our rotation sites. To all of you, I am grateful. But while many of our colleagues have offered suggestions for how to move forward with 'at home' technical training, I know that many echo the concerns that are rattling around in our own brains. Will they be ready? Can we trust them to handle these cases? Their training just isn't the same. Their universities must be giving them a pass because of the situation... you are not the only ones feeling this way.
When I pictured graduation, there is one characteristic I was looking forward to gaining the most: confidence. This job is not an easy one, but I love what I do. Working alongside PAs for a few months has launched my colleagues and I ahead in ways that I still don't believe. Where I was a few months ago to now...it’s incredible. I felt challenged every day that I was in the gross room or the morgue. I lived for the days when something new was placed on my bench. The days when I was most challenged were the days I learned the most.
The challenges we face are different these days. It is difficult to understand orientation when looking at a still photo provided in our assignments. The cases we practice dictating come from our monthly case conferences, meaning they are some of the most complicated we can find. Our classes are still ongoing; e-learning has been hard for all of us. Your concerns are valid, but I ask for compassion, for all of us learning through it. Any worry you've had for our preparedness, we have stared at the ceiling, losing sleep over, for weeks. I assure you; we would rather be at that gross bench than staying at home.
But we will persevere. We will continue reading, studying, and absorbing what information we can. We shall continue to push ourselves to be the professionals that you expect from our institutions. We will be an asset to this profession and to our future employers.
If you are a graduating student this year, allow me to offer a genuine congratulations. We all know how difficult this plan of study can be, and we as students have had to overcome challenges that no one could have seen coming from a mile away, but we are going to do this. We are going to be a class unlike any other, and I want to congratulate you on getting through this difficult situation. I cannot wait to see what each of you adds to this profession.
For our mentors who are still working on the front lines of the response to this pandemic, thank you, and I wish we could be there with you. We thank you for your support and patience during this time, and we can't wait to join you in just a few short months. Be healthy, and we'll see you on the other side."