The Ultimate PA Student ResourceFrom practicum to practice these are the tools you need to rock your PA school student years
Welcome to this special student section of The PA Life Website
You have finally made it and trust me I know it isn't all sunflowers and stethoscopes. PA school is hard. There were times when I was on my knees begging for the mercy of God that I would make it through my EOR exam. I made so many deals with my higher power that I am sure I am in some serious trouble. So to save you from the fiery bowels of hell I have created this resource as a path to your salvation! OK, maybe that is a bit over the top, but here are some excellent tools that I can not live without.
Tools For The Didactic YearIn the words of Meghan Trainer it is all about those books!
The most important part of the didactic year is learning to study effectively. This includes prioritizing your time by focussing on what matters and learning test taking skills that will
Learn how you learn Then just do it
PA School can be a bit of a shock. We all know it will be hard, requiring long hours, but the sheer enormity of knowledge we need to master (or at least make a passing acquaintance with) can be overwhelming.
You will need to figure out how you learn best, and most efficiently.
- Is it taking copious notes in class?
- Drawing pictures of dissections?
- Re-listening to lectures on your iPhone while out for a run?
I was a solitary studier all through college, poring over all the required reading and taking notes. I tried to continue this pattern in PA school. This worked fine during the first term, which was largely a review of basic science principles I knew well already.
However, after getting my results back on the first anatomy exam at the start of our second term, I realized something had to change. My response was to join a study group. While I might have avoided my areas of weakness when studying alone, in a group, we’d be sure to go over all those annoying branches of the brachial plexus. This is a habit that will help you beyond PA school.
The field of medicine is one of life-long learning. We will constantly need to update our knowledge of our field by reading journals, attending conferences, and discussing interesting cases with our colleagues.
My Favorite Tools For the Didactic Year
Every PA program has its own required textbooks. These almost always include Current, Netters and Bates. They are so common I can use just one word and I am sure you know what I am talking about. There are also some books that aren’t required but I find a useful addition to the PA students arsenal.
The Best Apps
- Essential Anatomy Essential Anatomy
- Shots Immunizations
- Diagnosaurus® DDxDiagnosaurus® DDx
- LabGear by Med Gears
- Tarascon Pharmacopeia
- Epocrates Pharmacopeia
- MedCalc – The Professional Medical Calculator
- The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy
- Essential Clinical Procedures
- Medical Spanish: Healthcare Phrasebook with Audio
Zygote Body 3D Anatomy - Free Web App
Zygote Body is hands-down the best web-based anatomy application and to top it off it is 100% Free. Once you sign up for an account you can use all the tools interactive 3D tools. It is beautiful, brilliant, and yes it is free. Click here to get started.
Tools For The Clinical YearsDo you want to make your preceptor cry with tears of joy? Then start here.
The Tarascon Pharmacopoeia is the one pocketbook I cannot live without. Although, after PA school I have transitioned to their amazing iOS app the small pocketbook is something I still recommend to all of my students. The pediatric dosing instructions alone make it worth every penny. Yes, you can use free apps such as ePocrates, but after 11 years Tarascon is still my go to source for prescribing and I wouldn’t leave home without it.
The Sanford Guide is an wonderful little resource packed full of information that goes far beyond antibacterial treatments and causative bacterial agents. My only regret as a student was that I didn’t spend enough time understanding the book prior to using it. Grab a copy, spend 30 minutes fully grasping its utility and you will carry it with you through retirement. They also have a wonderful iOS app.
This is a classic! Great quick guide to SOAP notes, notes for surgery or OBGYN, quick reference to review of systems and physical exam. Also a handy visual acuity eye chart and other great quick reference info. I used this daily during my PA school rotations and stashed it in my desk drawer after graduation. I just recently pulled it out again and couldn’t believe all the useful information.
- BB pocket cards app, set of all pocket cards
- Sanford guide to antimicrobial therapy
- ICD9 consult
- Medical eponyms
- Tarascon pharmacopeia
- American Psychiatric Association Clinical Practice Guidelines
- University of Utah Psych Aid– Includes a psychiatric evaluation, a SOAP note template, and a list of common psych terms to used in documentation