CRAFTING WELLNESS STORY

All About The PA World With @rebeccawestcoastpa Psychiatry, PA Podcast

MDF Instruments Crafting Wellness Podcast sat down with Rebecca (@rebeccawestcoastpa), a passionate Psychiatry PA. In this episode, Rebecca shares her inspiring journey of becoming a PA, overcoming the challenges of PA school, and finding a healthy work-life balance. She opens up about the fulfilling aspects of her career and how it positively impacts the lives of others. Tune in to gain valuable insights, advice, and a deep appreciation for the compassion and dedication that drives Rebecca's work as a Psychiatry PA.
@rebeccawestcoastpa
@mdfinstruments

TRANSCRIPT

Rebecca @westcoastpa
Hello, my name is Rebecca and I am a psychiatry PA. I feel like I can affect so much change as a psychiatry PA, there's not a lot of specialties where you know, you see someone and then just a couple of weeks from them, their life is completely turned around, you know, people that are not able to leave the home are not able to pick up their children or that kind of thing that they would otherwise want to do. And to have that turned around so quickly is very gratifying. In addition to I really like the complex medication management of it, I think there's a lot that goes into it in terms of like intellectual problem solving, that I find very enjoyable. And there's also a very good work life balance that comes with psychiatry, so it kind of has a little bit of everything.

Brooke Smith
Hi, everyone, welcome to MDF instruments Crafting Wellness Podcast. Today, we are really excited we have a PA on.

Rebecca @westcoastpa
My name is Rebecca Rebecca @WestCoastPA on Instagram. I am originally from the Seattle area of Washington, and I am a psychiatry PA.

Brooke Smith
Can you talk a little bit about how your journey in medicine came? Why it came just Did you always know you wanted to get into medicine and health?

Rebecca @westcoastpa
So from a young age, I always knew I was interested in medicine, helping others through medicine, I like my science courses, I kind of liked like that whole field and everything about it. I didn't necessarily know, you know what field within medicine, I think when you're younger, the main thing you hear is like doctor you know, through movies and media, and things like that. So I didn't necessarily know what a PA was at a young age, as is the case for I feel like most people. So it was around my younger years and high school, I think I was in like 10th grade or so. And my high school had a course that was like preparatory for careers. And we actually had a guest speaker and one of the guest speakers was a PA. So that was kind of how I was first exposed to PA being a provider field career option in medicine. And honestly, it was ever since then, around like younger high school years where after I discovered a PA was, and I never wavered from that course ever since. So I was like I've heard about it, you know, kind of all that makes up being a PA and then ever since then that was kind of souly my, okay, that's how I'm going to have a career in medicine. Like I want to be a PA, I knew I wanted to be a provider role. And what appealed to me and kind of pivoted me from the MD route and towards PA is the lateral mobility that we have. So you know, if you're an MD and you are a cardiovascular surgeon or dermatologist, that's usually what you are for the entirety of your career. Yes, you were to go back and do another residency, which isn't the most realistic thing. Where as a PA, you know, you can be a dermatology PA and then you can change and you can do family medicine, and then you could be in general surgery, you can more easily laterally move between different specialties. And for myself, someone who's very interested in learning to learn different things, or if you do change your mind, or if you're burnt out of one specialty, to be able to try out a different one or just even just knowing that you that I'd have that option was very appealing, especially because I do like a wide diversity of things and learning a lot of things. So that really appealed to me. Ever since then, was solely focused on that. took that into mind as a pre pa going into college in terms of making sure how the prerequisite courses. I was a health and human science major, which is kind of like biology but like to say like more human and less plants. And so I was kind of preparing for that and was able to go to PA school pretty soon after graduating college because I knew about it from such a young age. So that's kind of how I decided like my "why PA" and kind of started pursuing that.

Brooke Smith
You go to college, you get your bachelor's and then you go on to, is it called PA school?

Rebecca @westcoastpa
Yeah, typically PA school. It is obviously like a medical program. But yeah, most colloquially it's called PA school. So it is a master's program. It's usually like two to three years. Mine was 27 months, so like two and a half ish years. And the thing is you need your undergraduate bachelor's degree, and then you need quite a bit of patient care experience, because you don't have a residency later on. That is a main differentiating factor from us to MDs, we don't go to residency after we graduate our didactic and rotation curriculum, you're able to practice that residency. So in light of that, they're like okay, you know, get some hands on patient experience before PA school since you're not going to you know, be doing that residency. So sometimes people need several gap years to acquire that experience. Whether it's as a medical assistant or an ER tech are just a variety of different ways. There was an RN in my class, there were all kinds of different people. There were medics from the military, all kinds of different stuff. And then you know, is kind of like, okay, you've acquired that experience, then that's usually goes into the application to get you into PA school,

Brooke Smith
you go to college, you get your bachelor's, and then you're gonna have to have time in between there to get all the experience that you would need that will then help you get into PA school that you would need as a requirement to kind of showcase Hey, to the PA school, I'm serious about this. This is all the experience I have. And you would have to go into PA school, is there, to get accepted into PA school is there some big tests that PA's have to take?

Rebecca @westcoastpa
That's a great question. There's actually a ton of factors that I didn't mention such as personal statement, leadership, volunteering, shadowing, all the stuff that goes into it, it is very competitive, just as competitive as MD programs, if not more, given that there are far less PA seats nationally, the classes tend to be very small, sometimes, you know, 20 to 60 students, you don't really have as big of classes as you do for other MBA programs. So it is still very, very competitive to get into PA school. So they'll look at everything, you know, all those factors on the application. As far as a test, yes, that does exist. PA in general is a newer career. So there's not much standardization across the board, different PA schools want different requisites some want, you know, biochem someone, Ochem, and there's different prerequisite courses, it's not standardized. Likewise, the testing is also not standardized. So some schools require the GRE, which is you know, just like for any grad school program. Some schools, if you have taken the MCAT, you can put that on there. But they don't usually require it. And there is also a newer test called the PACAT, actually, which is kind of emulating that of an MCAT. Hence the similarity in name. So that also exists. And there's also another test called CASPER, which is one that's actually kind of like ethics based, like how would you do like decision making an ethical situations, I didn't have to take that one, or the PACAT or the MCAT. For when I applied to PA school, I did take the GRE the school I ended up going to actually didn't even require it. But I just took it just in case to kind of broaden for more school options. So, to answer the question; There's a wide variety of tests, there's not one across the board that is needed, it just kind of depends on each individual's school admissions kind of requirements that can be recommended or required. And I'm hopeful to see kind of more standardization to make the application process easier as time goes on. But as of right now, you just kind of really have to look at the individual program and what they recommend.

Brooke Smith
So, I'm curious what what PA school was, like. You know, I hear a lot about what nursing school is like, in med school, med school, and all the studying and we've talked to like international medical students and kind of the challenges that they have there. But I know that you guys study really hard and you work really hard. And you probably have to memorize a lot of stuff. Can you talk a little bit about what PA school is like, and also how you found that balance during PA school to be able to obviously do so well in it and also still come out sane and with living some life in between the moments?

Rebecca @westcoastpa
Yeah, yeah. So the you apply and then it's usually like almost like a you have to you know, a year process of applying where you're, you know, applying, flying out to intervievs, find out where you are accepted and then it starts usually about you know, if you do get in a year later from the application opening ish. And then once you start, the first year, didactic is classroom based, different schools structure it differently. My school was on the module curriculum. So what that means is, you kind of almost like binge, one area of the body. And one specialty tests on it and go on to the next. So for example, like pulmonology, everything with the lungs, you learn the meds for the physical exams for it, you know, the diagnoses how to work patient, and then you know, finish that module, then go on to the next one, cardiology, so on and so forth. Other schools that are on the module system might do it more of a longitudinal curriculum, such as a class might be pharmacology, so that would be all the medicines. So it's intermixing, you know, long meds, with heart meds, but classes pharmacology and so that's kind of the other structure, where you kind of taking, you know, pharmacology, clinical medicine, and it's more kind of mixed, and then you might have more of like a finals week as opposed to one subject and test at the time. After about a little over a year of of didactic then you go out into clinicals clinical year, which are effectively called rotations, usually four to six weeks at different hospitals, clinics, different specialties. For example, you might do an internal medicine one, and then you might do a surgery one and then there's certain you know, core specialties that you do and then you could also have some elective rotations depending on the school. So your core rotations, you should include stuff like surgery, internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine, and then you might pick an elective such as: dermatology or something, and that is your clinical component, and then you graduate, and then you are done with PA school, but you do have to take your boards national boards to get accredited for license, our boards are called the PANCR, PA, N C E. Pa national certifying exam. And then after that, then you are a licensed provider and a certified PA. In terms of second part of your question, and how I, amongst all of that, you know, try to maintain some semblance of a life. Yeah, I feel like now with the caveat of that is not easy to do, a lot of people do, you know, feel a lot of the stress of that, and are pretty busy, busy. So you do have to maintain a priority of, you know, also having some time for yourself, or, you know, just some time to unwind or some time to go see your friends and family, that kind of thing. And I feel like I did that, despite very, very good time management, like how to very much be on time management. And then also, you know, kind of dedicating to myself to what I was doing at that moment, like if these set of hours I'm studying, that's what I'm doing for those hours. If this set of hours, you know, I'm going to do something social or go on a hike, you know, that's what I'm doing, you want to let your break truly be a break as opposed to still like worrying and stressing about something else. So that way you can, you know, thoroughly enjoy that or else that break wasn't even a break, you know, so just try and be very efficient with my time as well. Really helps you enable having work life balance amongst all those busy times.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, did you have any ways to organize your time best or any any apps or any kind of thing that you use to help really delegate that time? Were you color coordinated? Did you use pens, markers? Like? Did you have a calendar? Like how did you how did you organize that time and keep track of everything that you need to do in such a way that you made sure that you kind of told your brain Okay, from this time to this time, I'm doing this and that's it like blinders on. That's my focus. And then when I'm taking the time for myself, and I'm gonna go on a hike, or I'm gonna go exercise or have dinner with a friend or something like that, then I'm not like worrying about the test I have tomorrow, you know, or whatever it is any kind of way that you organize that in your brain, aside from just telling yourself that you were doing it.

Rebecca @westcoastpa
Yeah, I definitely have like an agenda calendar. In terms of like, here's when my tests are that kind of thing, getting dates in line, here's when we have, you know, to go on campus for physical exam, practice, that kind of thing. So definitely utilize that, in addition to our school actually had a Google calendar with all of our, you know, here's this time what we're doing on campus, here's this time we're doing this. So both digital and paper in regards to that. And then because we were on the module system, it was like, Okay, we're starting this topic this first week. And then like, at the end of next week, we have a test. So I knew in my brain, you know, that next week, close to the test time is more crunch time, that time is going to be a little bit more reserved, and intense for that kind of stuff. So the first time the first week, this is the week, you know, I should make time for you know, a dinner with this friend. And you know, time to do this because you know, kind of balancing like, I already know that time is going to be booked up for this. So kind of batching like tasks. So that's going to be where I started from to finish that assignment. And this week is going to be where I do these things, or maybe some other personal life things. And in general batching tasks is a an efficiency thing, where it's like, okay, if I know I need to run errands, you know, save all those errands to do at the same outing, as opposed to the grocery store one day and the pharmacy the next day and this appointment the next day, you know, batching like tasks, because you lose a lot of time in transition. And so you effectively save time, by batching tasks, doing like things, less time loss and transition, in addition to any way you can kind of improve efficiency, like find like a long drive home or somewhere like you know, listen to like a study podcast, like listen to this podcast, you know, so the audio, things that you can do while you're doing other things, re listen to some lecture that's recorded that kind of thing. And that kind of also, for me, at least, I get like fueled by efficiency, it makes me feel like motivated that I was able to, you know, finish this and this, obviously, within reason for the person because you know, you also want to do things effectively. It's sort of like the quantity versus quality thing, you don't really lose quality, because you're trying to do too much quantity. So within reason for a person, a person what you think is attainable for you. But for me, being able to kind of check extra things off the list and make it more time for later was something that made me feel extra motivated, but I would say batching tasks, staying really organized. And a final tool that I used was I did have an iPad like a notepad Picking out and like the Apple Pencil, in terms of all of my note taking, and all of organizing all my PowerPoints in school content, like literally exclusively on that one device, which was my lifeline for as far as school stuff went. And then I just made sure to be really organized about my notes and stuff. So that way later, you know, when I was studying for boards, and you know, I wanted to review cardiology stuff, I could go back and have everything very organized, have all the high yield things I was forgetting, and staying very organized through the process really helped me for studying later for cumulative exams, boards, and you know, even job stuff there after having it all in a very nice way. It was an asset for my future self.

Brooke Smith
I know that you're in psychiatry, I kind of want to know how that specialty came, why you chose the specialty you chose, and how long you've been working in that specialty. And if that's the only one you've been doing so far, just talk a little bit about what what your job is like, what do you do?

Rebecca @westcoastpa
So I graduated a little over a year ago. So I am I would still classify myself as a new grad. Because psychiatry is the first and only specialty I have worked in thus far. It is where I started and what I've stuck to so far, and I am loving it, I'm very thrilled with my choice. Honestly love it even more than I thought was possible. I right now, I work four 10s as a psychiatry PA, so full time, and I also do tellepsych from home. So that's kind of a very unique role as a medical provider. In addition to that, I see you know, all types of diagnoses as far as site goes everything from anxiety, depression, to bipolar, schizophrenia, to substance abuse, alcoholism, really the whole gambit of diagnoses in this specialty, I am the sole provider for all of the patients on my panel. So I function as their psychiatrist, at psychiatry, PA, I diagnose them, I get their labs, I prescribe their medication. Full time. So that's kind of how the structure of my job is. And yeah, I didn't necessarily think I was going to go into psychiatry, you know, when I started PA school, all I really knew was I wanted to be a PA. And honestly, the specialty was kind of, you know, further back in the priorities want to figure it out, because it's not as highly pressurized, because if you, you know, end up in one you don't like you can always kind of pivot, which is very nice. So, in general, when you graduate, so a lot of people, you know, have one there have the mindset on and then only apply to that one, but a lot of people do apply to multiple specialties. And they're like, you know, I'll see what offer I get, I'll see kind of what the trainings like and kind of figure out which one I like best. And you also can do a PA residency, I'd say it's not very common, it's completely optional, people tend to do it, if it's like for a very highly specialized, you know, a specialty like maybe like bone marrow transplants or ICU, things like that, you can do it. But that's not to say you can't do any of those specialties as a PA without a residency, you can, you just have to find a job that's willing to hire you and train you on the job. As a PA, it's kind of implied that you have that on the job training period. And that kind of also makes up for the fact that you didn't have a residency and that in addition to that we are trained in all fields in PA school. So you have a really foundational knowledge at every field that you are to go into, and then they'll kind of give you more fine tuned training for that specific job and specialty when you're there, if that's, you know, if you are choosing a specialty as opposed to like primary care or family medicine or something like that, but even for those who still imply that there's going to be some training on the job. As for my job as a psychiatry, PA, I absolutely love it. I really love the just a lot of independence that I have in terms of the decision making for my patients. Like I said, I'm completely like the provider of their psychiatry needs for my panel, in addition to I feel like I can affect so much change as a psychiatry PA, there's not a lot of specialties where you know, you see someone and then just a couple weeks from them, their life is completely turned around. A lot of things like diabetes, high blood pressure take years to see progress in or you know, their blood pressure is regulated, but they don't really feel any different. Even though you are certainly helping them and helping their longevity and their health span. As a psychiatry provider, I truly feel like I affect change very quickly, which is very gratifying. You know, people that are not able to leave the home are not able to pick up their children or that kind of thing that they would otherwise want to do. And to have that turnaround so quickly is very gratifying. In addition to I really like the complex medication management of it, I think there's a lot that goes into it in terms of like intellectual problem solving, that I find very enjoyable. And there's also a very good work life balance that comes with psychiatry, so it kind of has a little bit of everything. And I've really really enjoyed it and very satisfied with my choice.

Brooke Smith
So you do four 10's. And are you working in like a hospital setting? You said you do telehealth as well, but are you Where are you doing this? Is this like an outpatient place? Is this like a hospital? Where are you providing this care?

Rebecca @westcoastpa
Yeah, that's a great question. So it is based out of like an outpatient psychiatry clinic, so not hospital, not inpatient. And as of right now, I am completely doing telemedicine tele psych from home, but it is purely for outpatient psychiatry needs as opposed to any like inpatient component. So there is brick and mortar practices associated with my panel in my job. But all of those are clinics that do outpatient psychiatry, there is also primary care and therapy at the practice that I work for. So we are integrated health model. So if they have any primary care needs or therapy needs, which is obviously a fantastic asset, because those are both very nice things. We're all affiliated and I'm able to refer within and have somebody that can see them pretty soon.

Brooke Smith
Telemedicine, I feel like it's opened up a lot more to a lot of people that maybe would have been a little bit more nervous about it or shy about it or just like, Oh, I know, I need help, but I don't really know how to, I feel like with telemedicine and after COVID That was some silver lining that happened with the pandemic because people were forced to do more telemedicine Have you noticed an uptick of people kind of, I mean, you saying you're doing that now full time. So I assume that it would be a very popular choice for people to be able to talk to you over this kind of way, as opposed to actually, you know, especially in California, you know, driving and parking and all of it, it can really discourage people from taking those first steps and their health to to get the help that they need. Would you say that, you know, it's definitely picked up, telemedicine in the last little while since the pandemic?

Rebecca @westcoastpa
Absolutely, I would say it's been people a lot more open to it. And I think that was 100% for the better. As far as noticing a direct uptick during the pandemic, I was still partially in school during that time. And I've only started working there after but from what I've heard and from preceptors. And from my job, I mean, they completely renovated, you know, to be able to match the need, given the change of times when people weren't able to go as in person during the pandemic time. And I feel like that has kind of stuck thereafter for a lot of places because they were able to, you know, have a reason to apply all this infrastructure to accommodate telemedicine. And then now it's there thereafter. But I mean, it's 100%. I think, where medicine is going not exclusively, I don't think everything is for telemedicine. But I think it is an important component to have, I think it's great that the infrastructure is there for going forward. Especially in psychiatry, because I mean, there's a lot of patients that wouldn't seek care if it wasn't from home, there's people that are, you know, unable to leave their home, whether that's because of a condition such as depression, agoraphobia, in addition to the fact that kind of you know, is able to extend care to other populations that aren't able to maybe they live two hours away from the practice or two hours away from any urban area, maybe they're in a very healthcare desert. So it is truly able to kind of expand the radius of you know, encapsulating all those people that, you know, want care need care to serve care, and to make it that much easier for them to attain it and achieve that. So I think it's a fantastic thing. And to answer the question, yes, I do think there's been an uptick. And I think it's great that practices are embracing that as an option for patients. And other patients have been very thankful for that. And I think that there has been more, it has been more accepted from a practice standpoint, and from a patient standpoint, 100% for the better.

Brooke Smith
I feel like in the last couple of years, I was seeing in the media, you know, because pa from what I always knew it was physician assistant, and I know that it became it is now not it is now Physician Associate because of the autonomy and like kind of what you were talking about you are you are the decision maker, you have the complete same abilities to prescribe and diagnose people. So I just kind of wonder how did is it a celebration on among pas to be like, Okay, finally, we're getting because I'm a physician assistant. I don't know if it really does what you guys do justice as far as the title. Do you have any thoughts on on that at all?

Rebecca @westcoastpa
Yeah, I mean, I think the name change was great in terms of providing some clarity in what we do since we don't function as an assistant. At the end of the day, I mean, I don't really care what I'm called My my, my job is my job. I just want to help people. And you know, you can call me whatever I mean, I just I just go by Rebecca, you know. So, I mean, I don't, I don't really care what I'm called. But that being said, I think the name change is only a step in the right direction. I think a lot of people don't know what a PA is, which I mean, I get it, it's newer, it was created in the late 1900s. To fill a need. And that is the reason why Pa was created was because there was a physician shortage. So it was created in order to meet that need, because there aren't enough providers across the United States and across the world, in terms of the amount of need that there is in healthcare. And that's where the job was created to kind of, you know, meet that need, and be able to create more providers to help people because that is our ultimate goal. And I think Physician Associate, you know, a little bit more shows that so people aren't confused, you know, in terms of not wanting to see in a system, because that truly is not what we are we do function as a provider. And the level of autonomy can vary depending on state and depending on, you know, individual practice type of thing. But in general, we do function as a provider. And I think Physician Associate little bit more, you know, kind of describes that, and also retains the acronym of PA. So that isn't, like, totally lost. Because, you know, for the people that didn't know what a PA was, at least the acronym is still there. So I think it's when I was done for the better, I'm on board for it. Like I said, at the end of the day, you know, I'm just here to help people.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, well, you work really hard to get where you are. So you know, I think I think associate is definitely more appropriate for what you guys do. And it's, you know, like anything in medicine, it's all a collaborative effort, you know, every job is important, it's just a different, it's just a different job. Right? So it's, it's very, it's very good to see you kind of just the change of being able to at least acknowledge that because just in the word assistant, that can be a little confusing.

Rebecca @westcoastpa
Absolutely, and I think it will get more and more known as time goes on. You know, not only the name change, but time passing people saying, Oh, I had a PA, you know, as my provider today , like, have you heard, you know, is word of mouth. In addition to, you know, I just think that the career is gonna be more popular, we keep on getting Forbes top three best jobs and things people are hearing about it more, the number of enrollees in PA schools are increasing, they're creating more PA school. So hopefully, in addition to the name change, you know, there's all these things that people will hopefully more will know what a PA is, and what their role is and the help they can provide. And I think the Physician Associate aspect of the name is also helpful.

Brooke Smith
I'd love to kind of segue a little bit into you personally a little bit. I want to know a little bit about you. I want to know like what you do for fun, what you do on your downtime, and a little bit about how, you know, obviously working alongside close so closely to people who need your help, especially in Psych psychiatry. I imagine like you have to take care of your own mental health too. So kind of just about like what you do to unplug, have a little fun, what you do to unwind and other passions you might have outside of medicine.

Rebecca @westcoastpa
Yeah, thanks for asking. Um, I have a wide variety of interests, you know, outside of medicine, I really love to travel. Travel is one of my passions, and just in general, exploring new cultures, new cuisines, things like that. I also enjoy art I like to paint. What else do I do, I'm really into coffee. I like going to a lot of coffee shops, and make my own coffee as well. But I just like you know, the atmosphere of going to a cafe and kind of sitting you know, maybe with your laptop or reading a book, that kind of thing, really into coffee culture, which is also something I like to explore through traveling. Yeah, I also, like spend time with my family and my friends. That kind of thing. I'll play a piano. So yeah, a lot of different things. I like hiking, I like nature. I really like going to the water whether that's the ocean or like a lake or that kind of thing. A lot of outdoor stuff, which is very present in the Seattle area. So that works out well along with coffee. Really, really great location for my interests.

Brooke Smith
of this one here in LA called La La kind cafe. And they make the best coffee drinks, but then they have a little fun with it. They'll put like Oreo cookies on top or something. But their coffees really good but I'm with you. I'm always looking for like the next. When you get a good cup of coffee. It's just it hits like nothing else. You're like, Yes, this is this is everything and then when you get the opposite and it's all acidic and burned. It's like ugh.

Rebecca @westcoastpa
yeah, I just like I like the process of finding your spot. I also I did my undergrad in LA actually so I used to live there for undergrad in a year post grad. So I wasn't alive for five years, which I was my kind of spot before I started PA school, which was in Portland, Oregon. So I've really traversed the whole west coast. Hence my instagram handle name has gotten out, but all comes in. Really

Brooke Smith
Okay, so you know all about it, I'd love to hear about if you could go back and tell your younger self something or go back and give yourself piece of advice you wish you had known in your life, something that, you know, is helpful. Now Hindsight is 2020, do you have anything that would be a little piece of advice you would give other people yourself?

Rebecca @westcoastpa
Yeah, in terms of I feel like I've like slightly different answers for like both of those other people. Because I feel like this is something I did very much try to do, would be to truly enjoy each stage of the process. I feel like you know, people get very stressed about a shape with applying to any medical base program. It's all intense, right? I mean, going into PA school, versus, you know, MBA program, in nursing, all that stuff, it's just, it is a stressful process for a lot of people. And I truly would recommend just trying your best to enjoy each phase of the process don't get so you know, to laser focus on that, that you can't enjoy your undergrad experience. Don't get so laser focused in all of your, you know, work volunteer shadowing stuff that you're not enjoying that. Because really what that is, is to kind of dip your toe in that water, like to see how you like it. So go ahead and immerse yourself in that and enjoy it. I truly enjoyed undergrad, I truly enjoyed my post grad period. And that whole application process, getting interviews having to fly across the country, all at different interviews was, I mean, yeah, you people are nervous, I was nervous from interviews, too. But I still so enjoyed the process thoroughly. Where I wasn't, you know, I was still focused on my goal, but I wasn't so blinded by that, that I could enjoy the present. And I think that is so important. And likewise for also, when you're in your medical program, enjoy that process you are finally there you are in school, you know, you've been working so hard to get a seat there, you now have a seat at the table, you are learning all of the things that you have dreamed of learning. So just to truly enjoy that process, and I truly did enjoy PA school. So people are gonna think I'm crazy for saying that, but I did. I loved what I was learning. And I also truly, really try to emphasize work life balance, whether that's in school, or after you are working, just because you are you know, working really, really hard for many, many hours, just we'll make time for yourself, still, you know, do those other things that is the life part of the work life balance for some people that was working out for some people that was going to see family on the weekends for some people that was going on hikes. And so I really emphasize trying to make time for myself to do all the other interests that I have, in addition to enjoying the whole entire process. And for advice for myself, I would say don't don't like feel like okay, you know, I shouldn't apply to that school. It's a reach school, just do it. Like I was very nervous. My first round, I went in with a mindset of, you know, I might not get in the first round, because you know, that's, that's normal, it's normal to not get in the first round. And it's somewhat common. And so I went in thinking, that would be the case for myself, I did end up getting in the first round. So I was like, you know, why did I think the way I should have applied to all the reach schools that I, you know, could have thought of? So in other words, you know, just don't assume it's good to, you know, have a realistic mindset and be prepared for any option. But at the same time, if you have something just go for it. And you know, you never know what might happen. As for my scenario, I I have no regrets. I'm very happy with a squared up that I loved it. I loved every part of my process. So yeah, just make sure you enjoy it.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, I think that's really great advice. You never know, unless you try. You know, the worst thing you have is already and No. So you might as well just put it out there and see if you can get a yes back. Because at the end of the day, you've already got the no if you don't do anything so big. It's a big one. And then I think what you were talking about the first one that really hit me a bit because I feel like you know sometimes when you're in the midst of something that maybe you work so hard for but you're not quite through it, you're in the you're in the transition, you're in the growing pain of it, that sometimes you're just so overwhelmed. You're so stressed out you like can't see clearly how how much work you've already done to get there like you can enjoy it. And so I think that that advice is really great advice for any parts of your life, whether you're still in school or not, or you're just starting your career. Because we can never get that time back. And like I kind of said Hindsight is 2020 You know, you look back and like oh, that was so fun. But in the moment you're like, Ah, this is this is just too stressful. I just want to take a nap. But yeah, I think the advice you gave us really great. What did your first stethoscope receiving that getting your first stethoscope what did that mean to you?

Rebecca @westcoastpa
Yeah, I mean, it, it feels pretty unreal. You know, you're working towards this for a long time. And honestly, my first stethoscope came with, like our medical bag at the school. So we didn't have any choice in what to you know which one it was. But yeah, I mean, it's definitely a symbol of medicine and symbol of being a medical provider. And yeah, I just feels, you know, it's very symbolic, similar to, like, a white coat, you know, and it just feels like okay, you know, even though you get it, usually when you're student because you're practicing with it. It's like, you know, I am going to use this I'm, I'm here, even though I'm still a student, like, I am going to be a PA, I am going to be a medical provider one day. So it's, it's pretty nice, pretty surreal.

Brooke Smith
What is your favorite thing about what you do?

Rebecca @westcoastpa
That is such a hard question, because I feel like I have so many favorites. I absolutely love being a PA, I could not have picked a better profession for myself. I love practicing medicine, I love practicing medicine, as a PA, I am very thankful for the job that I have and landing at my job in psychiatry, with the wonderful patient of panel patients that I have. And I would say my favorite thing is the relationships that you build, through practicing medicine. I mean, it starts in school, the friendships, you know, the relationship with professors. And that is such a special thing. And that only continues, you know, your co providers that are doing the same thing, and then the relationships with the patients and all the help you can provide them and you know, just to be able to affect positive change on so many people's lives. It's a very special thing that I'm very thankful for.

Brooke Smith
And on the flip side of that, is there anything that you feel like is a misperception about pas or something that you wish people knew about what you do? Or something you wish could could change a little bit? Is there anything like that, that you would want to make better? What you say,

Rebecca @westcoastpa
People understanding what a PA is, and the knowledge we have and what we are capable of, and that we do function as a provider, and we have a lot of autonomy. And I do think a lot of people do know that. But I think there is some maybe some some people that you know, aren't fully aware of aural, all we are capable of and I would say that would be something that I wish that everybody did know your PA works really hard and they know a lot and I'm very thankful that there are so many medical coders out there, you know, helping the shortage of healthcare providers.

Brooke Smith
I'm sure that there's going to be a lot of people are listening and watching that might have questions we didn't think of to ask so could you tell us your social media handle and if it's okay for people to come find you over there if you're if you would be open to people following and maybe sending you a message here or there. Could you go ahead and tell us your Instagram handle and then also spell it out for everyone who's listening to it auditory?

Rebecca @westcoastpa
Yeah, totally. Anyone can reach out whenever super open to that my instagram handle is @RebeccaWestCoastPA. So that's spelled R E V as in boy ECC a West Coast pa W E S T Coast PA. You are 100% Welcome to please follow me I actually post up all the time in terms of you know, different posts and reels and things of just tips and tricks and also what what it's like to be a psychiatry PA and what my life looks like doing that and if you have any questions can totally DM me from there. Always open to that always happy to help. So yeah.

Brooke Smith
Well Rebecca, thank you so much for joining our Crafting Welness Podcast. It's been such a pleasure having you on today. I learned so much and I know everyone listening and watching also did so we might have to just do a another one in the future for any follow up questions because I'm sure there's some stuff we missed. But it was such a pleasure. Thank you.

Rebecca @westcoastpa
Now that would be awesome. Looking forward to it. Thank you so much for having me. I had a lovely time.

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