Hi my name is Cassie and I am a second-year Physician Assistant (PA) Studies student! I went to Penn State University for undergrad and got my degree in Biobehavioral Health. I was drawn to this major because it has a holistic approach to learning about health.
Initially, Salus interested me because of its incorporation of holistic health, the opportunity for interprofessional development, and the option to pick two different elective rotations. However, it was not until I interviewed at Salus that I knew it was my top school. During the interview day, each staff member was so welcoming and made sure I felt comfortable. I knew the way the professors treated me on the interview day would carry into how they would treat me as a student. Now, after experiencing how caring and attentive the professors were during my first year, I can confirm that I was right about those thoughts.
Currently, I am in my second year of PA school, meaning I am in my clinical rotation portion. Since clinicals can be placed within a 59-mile radius from campus, I decided to move to the city. Although the pandemic has quieted down the city quite a bit, I am still loving the endless exploring and outstanding food Philadelphia offers.
In the PA program, you are more involved in clubs and associations during the first year since you are rarely on campus your second year. During my first year, I was the treasurer for SAAAPA. This position allowed me to be involved without taking too much time away from studying. I worked with the other SAAAPA officers to plan fundraisers that raised money for the Salus challenge bowl team. If it were not for the pandemic, I was supposed to join the AOR rep and challenge bowl members in attending the PA conference in Nashville, TN.
Right now, I am completing one of my family medicine rotations at Narberth Family Medicine. Salus allows you to complete one of your family medicine rotations at an integrative medicine facility. Integrative medicine includes both a traditional and alternative medicine approach to treating patients. For example, supplements or herbs may be recommended for an ailment instead of pharmaceuticals. With my educational background primarily in holistic health, I gravitated toward integrative medicine and wanted the chance to work closely with someone who practices it.
Here's my daily schedule:
7:30 a.m. Wake up!
I am far from a morning person so I sleep in until the last possible second. I usually preset my coffee maker so that I can wake up to a cup of coffee while getting ready. Depending on how much time I have, I either eat my breakfast at home or eat it on the go.
8 a.m. Drive to Narberth
On my way to work, I usually wake myself up by listening to a bachelor or pop culture podcast…I am not saying I’m proud of these choices, but sometimes you need something mindless! On the days I’m feeling like an extra good student, I will listen to a medical podcast instead. Specifically, during this rotation, I enjoy listening to The Doctor’s Farmacy since it discusses functional medicine topics.
8:30 a.m. Arrive at Narberth
Until the first patient of the day arrives, this is the students’ time to ask all of our burning questions to our preceptor. This rotation exposes you to treatments not discussed during didactic year like osteopathy and ozone therapy, therefore, I feel there are endless questions to ask!
9 a.m. First patient arrives
Our day officially begins once the first patient arrives. Throughout the day, the students are responsible for taking the patients back into their rooms, retrieving their histories, performing a focused physical exam and documenting the visit. The preceptor will enter and complete his own exam as well as perform osteopathy. The patients’ visits will end with the students performing additional osteopathy techniques taught to us by our preceptor.
12 – 1 p.m. Lunch break
This is the part where I should be saying I utilize the lunch hour to study…however, I am usually much more enticed to make a quick shopping trip to the Trader Joe’s around the corner to grab all my favorite snacks or to converse with the other students located at the practice!
5 p.m. End of the work day
Once the last patient leaves, it is time to pack up and head on home.
5:30 p.m. Home at last
After work, I either go to the gym or do some yoga at home. After showering and dinner, it is time for me to prep my lunch for the next day and set up my coffee so it is ready for me when I wake up. I get a couple of hours of studying done and then unwind by watching some TV.