AAPA Student Committee
"We at the AAPA Student Committee have been continuing to work during this uncertain time, and we want to update the student and fellow members about what we have been up to. As part of the Student Committee, we recruit members to act as liaisons between individual programs and the AAPA. These members play an important role in communicating with the AAPA and the committee in order to best serve the needs of the student members. We hope that we are able to shed a little light on the variety of changes students are facing during these uncertain times, and we hope to provide some consistency in an otherwise unpredictable time.
We recently had our bi-annual meeting with Program Representatives from all accredited PA programs in the US and Canada. At this meeting, we discussed a variety of topics pertaining to current and past projects, such as the Interview Techniques Webinar we held this past March. This meeting aims to provide an advocacy medium for all students to discuss concerns, questions, and shape upcoming projects the student committee puts together. Among our topics was a discussion on how different programs have changed in light of the pandemic. For students not entering the clinical phase of their program, all learning has shifted to an online format to continue virtual, socially distant learning. Many students have pre-recorded lectures or live Zoom conference calls to complete the remainder of the semester. For students in the clinical phase, the vast majority of programs have pulled students from clinical sites and supplemented learning with a variety of activities from lectures to virtual grossing and projects.
We strive to provide a diverse set of relevant resources specific to the needs of Pathologists’ Assistant students in their first and second years, including CV and interview assistance, board exam preparation, and gross dissection technique. As mentioned, we recently have been providing resources to enhance student professional development with our webinar discussing interview techniques. We also have been bridging the gap between the classroom and the real world for PA students via our social media presence.
The student committee has been active on social media on a consistent basis during these irregular and uncertain times. Our very popular ‘grossing at home’ series on social media outlined some creative ways to use common products at home to simulate grossing. Skin specimens with paper cut-outs, appendix specimens with green beans, and gallbladders with balloons all highlighted our basic introduction to the concept. We moved on to some more interesting examples such as limes to simulate prostates, small mushrooms to simulate snared polyps, and dehydrated fruit for cervical cones. We were even able to take suggestions from our followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and as a result we added additional tutorials for simulating a larynx with a toilet paper roll, a whipple with play-dough, and a mandible resection with folded paper.
During our meetings over the past weeks, we also discussed additional resources for students and fellow PAs that we wanted to share. Free grossing tutorials from Weill-Cornell Medicine are available online and show a variety of common to complex specimens. The AAPA has provided student members with complimentary access to continuing education lectures from the 2013-2017 Fall Conferences and had previously opened up free student member access to the Certification Exam Prep Course. Also mentioned by our Program Representatives were lectures from Gross Cutting Room and Sarah Garner, PA(ASCP)CM available on YouTube, as well as the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program available online.
The Student Committee is always looking for passionate students who are committed to advancing the profession to contribute to our committee. Positions on our committee will be available within the coming months. We also are planning a roundtable to provide an open forum for students interested in volunteering with the AAPA to ask questions in June. We will be discussing the different positions on our committee and can answer questions regarding the Program Representative program as well. As previously mentioned, Program Representatives are recruited from each NACCLS accredited school to act as a connection between their specific student body and the AAPA. These positions will be available early Fall 2020. We at the Student Committee hope everyone in the PA community is staying safe and healthy and encourage you to follow and interact with us on our social media networks."