My name is Maura Waldner and I am in my second semester of the didactic year of the Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program. We are currently taking online classes with Physical Diagnosis and Advanced Clinical Skills taking place on campus once a week.
I earned my undergraduate degree in Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University. Biobehavioral Health encompasses the physical, mental, emotional and socioeconomic factors that influence the development of diseases. I took many science classes, but I was also able to take behavioral and psychology classes with the degree. I felt the major would prepare me for physiology and anatomy classes, as well as clinical medicine and behavioral health courses in PA school.
I knew that I wanted to be a PA in my sophomore year of high school when I met a PA dermatologist who made me feel confident in my own skin. I hope to work as a PA dermatologist so I can help teenagers struggling with acne, too. I am looking forward to starting clinical rotations within a few months to see if dermatology is the right specialty for me!
I am actually from Abington, Pennsylvania, and my parents only live about 10 minutes from campus. I decided getting an apartment with another student in the program would be the best option for me and I could not be happier with that decision!
I love how Salus is so close to my family home, so I can travel back and forth between my apartment and home when I want to spend time with my parents. When interviewing at Salus, I immediately felt welcome and the professors and program faculty wanted to know so much about me. I appreciate that Salus is solely a graduate school and I like the smaller class sizes compared to the larger lecture halls I had in undergraduate.
Here's my daily schedule:
My alarm usually goes off around then! With the majority of my classes online because of COVID-19, I have flexibility in choosing what time I wake up. I make a cup of coffee and eat yogurt with blueberries for breakfast, the favorite part of my day.
I log into Blackboard Collaborate and begin notetaking for physiology and pathophysiology. I recently just got an iPad and downloaded the app Notability, which has been super helpful for handwriting notes with the Apple pen, having all the notes stored in one place.
I begin my Gastrointestinal Unit for Clinical Medicine. Clinical Medicine is definitely one of the more challenging courses of PA school, but I believe it is the most exciting!
I take a break and eat lunch. I usually stick to salad and soup for lunch!
We are currently taking a Clinical Problem Solving Class, which is synchronous. We are in a group of about five students, assigning one as the patient with a clinical diagnosis. We have to take a history and physical exam and try to diagnose the patient!
3 – 5 p.m.
Depending on the day, this is usually when classes end.
I eat dinner and start studying for one of my upcoming exams.
I stop studying, take a shower, get ready for bed, wind down and watch some Netflix!
I try to make it to bed no later than 12 a.m. each night to get a full eight hours of sleep. It varies depending on how many exams we have that week!