Hey guys! I know it has been a while since the last post. Please forgive me! It is so hard to pretty much do anything outside of school right now. My life has been on “whew chile lately.” I’m sure any PA student in didactic year can relate.
I’m a month into my second semester of PA school and it has been a whirlwind! I’m currently taking Clinical Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Physical Exam, and Clinical Skills & Procedures. I wanted to take the time and just let you guys know “what it takes to wear this white coat as a PA student.”
PA school is very difficult. It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. There is a constant overload of new material that you are learning every day. It's not that the material is necessarily hard or not interesting it's just that it is so much at a time. Wearing this white coat as a PA student means literally eating, breathing and sleeping PA school. It means being in class all day just to go home and spend more hours studying and reviewing what you learned that day; just to do it all over again the next day. It means learning “fifty leven” diseases and conditions in a short time period. It means exams every week and multiple ones on the same day at times. It means being miles apart from family if you’re like me, and not getting to see them for months at a time. It means not being able to chat and talk with your family and friends every day because you have to study! It means not getting to watch your favorite TV shows all the time lol (seriously though I was 2 weeks behind on my shows and I finally got to catch up this weekend lol). You have times when you feel you are not adequate to handle this. It is feeling overwhelmed more days than not. Sometimes it's feeling like “what the heck have I gotten myself into.” Before attending PA school people try to tell you how it is going to be but you never really understand until you are actually here doing it!
I don’t want you guys to get scared by this post and not want to pursue the profession. I mean learning how to save lives is going to be hard but it's going to be so worth it in the end. When I learn something and it makes sense, I’m like omg! (I legit got happy the other day because my little cousin had croup and I was like did they give him dexamethasone and his mom was like omg yeah how did you know Bahahaha! I was like let me find out I’m learning something)
Self-care days are so important! Didactic year is tough but it is doable y’all. Sometimes it's easy to get depressed, that’s why you have to set out time for yourself so that you can rest. Talk to your classmates and let off steam. It can be hard talking to people that are not going through this process because they don’t really understand but your classmates do! They are going through the same process as you. I thank God for my PA frans! Most importantly lean on the LORD. He wouldn’t have allowed you to go down this path if he knew you couldn’t handle it. Yes, it's hard but you have to keep your eyes on the prize. Literally, I haven’t been able to sleep at night. I felt like I was starting to have anxiety about school and I was like the devil is a lie! I shall not stress and worry but know that God is with me at ALL times. In no way am I trying to complain I’m just being honest about the hard work you have to put in to be a medical provider. I’ve literally been going non-stop since we started back in January but I know it's going to be so worth it, so I just have to keep the course! (Last week was exam week and God came through y’all! I literally almost started shouting once I pressed submitted and saw my grade on one of my exams lol) He is beyond faithful!
So, if you know anyone in any health professional program make sure y’all check on them and send prayers up for them lol! We will appreciate it 😊
It takes a lot to wear this white coat as a PA student but I’m so glad GOD chose me to serve in this capacity!
I love you guys and God loves you sooooo much!
"You is kind, You is smart, You is important” lol but no really! As I sit back and reflect on where I was a year ago I decided to write a letter to my pre-pa self
A year ago, I was living in Nashville working as an ER scribe and taking my last pre-req, Microbiology. I was in the “waiting” process of my pre-pa journey; still looking at other schools to apply to and turning in my supplemental applications. I was grinding trying to keep busy so that I wouldn’t think about the schools that weren’t emailing me for an interview lol. This was a very “trying time” in my journey. This is like the WORST PART of the journey! You’re waiting around, checking your email every 2 seconds and wondering if you will get an interview invite or not. A few months passed with no interview invites. Only emails saying that the school has received my application and that it's being reviewed.
People would always ask so what are you doing? Did they call you for an interview? Did you hear back from any schools (I would be fine until someone asked me this lol)? Why is Kayler in school and you aren’t (Yes people would ask me this, comparing us and I had to just get myself all the way together). This would make me feel like I wasn’t doing anything or like I wasn’t where I was supposed to be.
"Tayler celebrate the small and big victories. You completed your CASPA, you completed your personal statement, you turned in your supplementals way to go! This is a huge step in your process because it’s a lot of work that went into it. You spent countless hours inputting your grades, your experiences and perfecting your application. You spent countless hours writing your personal statement to reflect why you want to become a PA. That’s huge, way to go girl! Don’t be so hard on yourself! Breath and congratulate yourself for crossing one bridge before you stress out about the next one. Sit back and reflect and see how far you’ve come. You are making progress and I’m so proud of you. Tay, you got an interview invite today that’s huge! Thank God and pat yourself on the back. Tay, you got through the interview without it going horribly wrong. Tay, they called you and said you’ve been accepted to PA school! That’s so awesome! Go celebrate and thank GOD because this is what you’ve been waiting for. You’ve prayed for this and never forget that. GOD did just what he said he would do. Look in the mirror and just reflect on how far you’ve come girl. You are walking into a new season that’s going to come with new blessings. Even when you start school don’t get so caught up in the stressors of it but remember how far you’ve come, remember the nights you prayed to be in this position. Remember all the hard work you’ve put in. Remember that God brought you to this point and he will sustain you. Congratulations Tayler! I’m beyond happy for you.”
I wanted to write myself a small letter because I can be so hard on myself you guys. I have to remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect or have it all together (who has it all together at 24 anyways lol)
Side note: Everyone’s journey is different. Just because someone is further along in their journey doesn’t mean that they are winning and you are losing. God orders our steps and each and every one of our journeys are different. For my pre-pas, pre-nursing, pre-med, etc. when others ask you “what are you doing” tell them that you are preparing for school. You are preparing for your career. You’re preparing not only to learn how to save lives but to pour great things into your patients that God has given you. Just because you’re not “there yet” doesn’t mean that what you are doing isn’t important. The process is just as important as the end results. Let me say that again for the people in the back lol. Your process is just as important as your end results. (you remember in school you couldn’t just write the answer down, your teacher wanted to know how you got the answer because the how is just as important). During the process, God is grooming you and preparing you for the next level. God is teaching you things in your process that are instrumental in where you are trying to go. My process taught me how to step out of faith even more, it taught me how to continue to trust God no matter what it is, it taught me how to continue to speak those things that are not as though they were, and my process taught me that comparing myself to others is unhealthy.
So today I tell my pre-pa self and my current self lol to not be so hard on myself. Celebrate the small and big victories. You don’t have to be perfect and you definitely don’t have to have it all together.
Hey, you guys I’ve officially started PA School 😊 Glory to God! I’m still in awe and so grateful that God chose me to serve in this field and in this capacity. It makes my heart so full!
Orientation was last Thursday and Friday and school started Monday. When I tell y’all I felt like last week was the longest week ever! It seemed like Thursday and Friday were never going to come lol. During Orientation I was able to meet my classmates, all the professors and faculty (the majority of them I interviewed with) learn important things about the program, meet our advisors, we did some team-building exercises and ordered our medical equipment! I can’t wait to show you guys the stethoscope I ordered (look below lol).
The First Week of PA School
The first week of PA school is officially under my belt! Wooo Hoo!! This semester I’m taking Anatomy (and lab), Physiology, Health Systems and Risk Management, Interpersonal Communication and History Taking, Intro to Pharmacology, Fundamentals of Medical Science, and Role of a Physician Assistant & Intro to the PA Profession. My classes are Monday- Thursday typically starting at 9 am and ending at 4 pm. Of course, the first day I was a ball of nerves because I didn’t know what to expect (like uh what did I get myself into lol) but honestly my first week wasn’t bad at all. I’m trying to figure out what ways I’m going to study so I can develop my study schedule for the semester. Did I study this week? Sure did! After class, I took a break and would go over what we learned that day just to keep up because the next day we were going over something new. In undergrad, I was the one who liked to write everything down versus using my laptop, but I’ve found it faster for me to type in class instead of writing. Now I don’t know if that will be my approach for all of PA school but that’s what I’m going to do for right now.
We have soap notes due Monday so I’ve been working on those with my classmates. Oh, how much scribing has come in handy for these. Thank you Jesus!
Overall my first week of PA school was great! I like my classmates and the faculty. You can tell they really want everyone to succeed and do well in the program! God is beyond amazing and I’m so grateful I’m not on this journey alone. I just wanted to let you guys know how my first week went!
There are moments when I already felt overwhelmed but I had to take a step back and just breath. I know God will see me through everything!
Let me know what type of topics you guys want to hear more about!
I love you guys and God loves you soooooooo much!
Here are a few pictures of my classmates and I! Taking a study break and having some fun :)
When I got my first interview invite I was ecstatic but then quickly got nervous because that meant I needed to prepare for it. A lot of PA students recommended the book “How to Ace the Physician Assistant School Interview” so that was the book I purchased off Amazon. The book was around $25 so it wasn’t expensive and with amazon prime, I received it the next day (I love amazon prime y’all lol).
The book gives you a lot of questions that may come up in your PA school interviews and gives you good examples of how to answer the questions. When prepping for my interview I would say I utilized the book a little bit, but I also did other things. I googled questions and asked some PA students about common questions that were asked during interviews. I told myself I would prep for my interview really early, but truth be told I prepped like a week before (this may work for some or others may need a longer prepping time, it just depends). I would scan over a few questions off and on but didn’t really go over them until about a week before.
I would read the questions aloud and say my answer aloud so that I could hear myself and make sure what I was saying made sense. I also did a mock interview with my friend that’s in PA school. We tried to be serious and act like I was really having my interview, that way I could get a feel for it. (I recommend doing a mock interview with someone and if you can do it with someone you don’t know this may be even better because it will get you to open up and talk with a stranger, which is what you will be doing in your interview). One thing I didn’t want to do was memorize my answers because it’s easy to tell if your answers are rehearsed. So, each time I said my answers I was saying the same thing but in a different way if that makes sense.
What to wear/bring
A SUIT! I wore a nice pants suit to my interview and a nice pair of black heels. You don’t have to go out and buy an expensive suit unless you just want to invest in one, but I got mine from target. I wore a navy-blue suit with a light pink blouse and black heels. One piece of advice I can give, is ladies if your interview day is long and you have to do tours, bring a pair of flats to change into. My feet were screaming during my first interview because I didn’t put my flats on before the tour and we were walking across campus. (feet were on hurt hurt lol). I don’t really wear makeup like that, but I would say try not to do anything extreme with your makeup on your interview day.
I printed out my CASPA application along with a few copies of my resume and placed them in a nice “padfolio” (had no idea that’s what that nice looking folder was called lol). I didn’t need my application or my resume for my interview, but it was nice to have just in case. I also brought thank you cards to give to my interviewers, but I ended up not passing them out due to the fact that I was only given their emails.
• Make SURE to send a thank you email or if you do get an address you can send the thank you cards to your interviewers. It doesn’t have to be long but, in the email, say something that will make them remember you. For example, one of my interviewers were from Dallas and he had an upcoming trip to Houston, so he wanted to know about good restaurants and things to do. In my email, I reminded him about a restaurant I thought he should try (just something simple so that they can remember who you are (oh she is the girl that I talked to about Houston)).
• Dress professional
• Be yourself! I know it’s so cliché but honestly just be you. They are not only interviewing you, but you are interviewing them to see if you think you will be a good fit for their program.
• Be nice to everyone and mingle! They are looking at everything. Even how you interact with other interviewees. Remember the whole time you are there you are being interviewed from the time you step foot in the building.
• Think about the question before you answer. If a question throws you off don’t sweat it too much, you will get the next one.
• Don’t forget about your transportation and lodging. (This entire process can be expensive but it’s so worth it.) If flights are too expensive see if your interview is close enough to drive.
• Know what’s on your CASPA application because sometimes they will ask questions off of it.
If you have bad grades or anything concerning on your application don’t be afraid to talk about it. If you received the interview they obviously know about it and still consider you qualified enough to invite you for the interview. (I got asked about a few grades, but I just swung it into a good direction.) Tell them why you received the grade that you did. Always make it seem like you learned from it. I made this grade but, in that process, I learned how to go to office hours, use my resources better which helped me out in other courses blah blah blah maybe you went from a C in Ochem I to an A in the second one after learning from your mistakes.
• Have questions to ask your interviewer. One of my questions were about medical mission trips and if they had a weekend where our class could meet each other and hang out before we start school. (The PA weekend sparked a full conversation because one of my interviewers was over the event planning for the program and another one of my interviewers was working on implementing medical mission trips into the program).
• Thank and praise God in advance. You speak it that that spot is yours in the program. Remain positive; don’t doubt God nor yourself. (You know what I realized this weekend? What’s for me is for me. If God has given me an assignment nobody can stop it. They cannot want you on a job or in a program all day long but if its GOD doing it's going to happen and nobody can stop it.)
I love you guys and God loves you sooooo much!
Hey guys! I can’t believe I start PA school in two months (say whaaaaat). I so remember the times I prayed for this! I remember going through the application process, enduring the waiting period (which is the worst part ever) and now I’m here. God is so faithful and I’m so grateful that I’m actually living out my dream.
Many people ask me how I feel about starting school and how do I feel about Kayler and I separating. Well, the answer is…….. I’m so happy to be starting school but I don’t think it has actually hit me yet. As you guys know Kayler and I are twins, and this will be our first time living apart which will be different, but we will definitely be ok you guys lol. Everyone is like OMG why are you guys separating, why didn’t you go to school in Atlanta, etc. I’m like y’all are more freaked out about it than us lol. We will be living in different states but its only 4 ½ hours away from each other. (God could have easily allowed me to go to a school in ATL but that’s not where my assignment is right now. He sent me to this state and this specific program for a reason 😊)
Right now, I’ve been trying to find a place to live. (There are no units available in this specific place I want to stay but that just means my speak it into existence game is about to be strong. Y’all its two people on the waitlist in front of me but I’m thanking him in advance because of the favor God is about to show me. I’m telling y’all now so that when I come back with my testimony of how God worked out my living arrangements y’all know it was ALL him.)
My program requires us to dress business casual every day, so I’ve been updating my closest. I have been traveling quite often lately and enjoying life before PA school. Overall, I’m super excited about starting school and meeting my new classmates. I’m starting a new chapter and I couldn’t be more thankful. I’m learning how to enjoy every moment of this journey and be thankful every step of the way. I’m about to learn how to save lives you guys (something I’ve wanted to do as long as I can remember). It’s like I’m about to hit a new level of adulting lol.
Again, I give God ALL the praise! It’s because of him that I am where I am today. For anybody that’s in a transition period in their life, just trust God, have faith, think positive and enjoy the journey.
Love you guys and God loves you guys soooo much!
Hey guys, below are some of my stats for when I applied to PA school last year. They aren’t the strongest but GUESS WHAT? I GOT IN! If I can do it, you can too! The areas I was weak in I tried making up for it in other areas. I had quite a few volunteer and patient care hours. My letters of recs were the bomb diggity. I believe that my personal statement was pretty good, and some other experiences helped my application stand out.
Overall GPA: 3.5
Science GPA: 2.9 at the time of application
GRE Score: 298
Volunteer Hours: about 5,000
Healthcare Hour: 152
Patient Care Hours: 1,600 at time of application
Shadowing hours: 70
LORs: 2 PAs, 1 NP, 1 Professor
Love you guys and God loves you sooooooooo much
Hey guys! Below I will be sharing what my daily routine was as an Emergency Department Medical Scribe.
Depending on the shift I would go in at either 9-6pm, 2-11pm or 6-3am (I usually worked the 9-6 or the 2-11 shifts). I had the pleasure of working with Physicians, PAs and NPs. I would get to work about 10-15 minutes early so that I could get set up and have time to get my breakfast together before my shift started. (Sometimes that was a stretch the way Nashville traffic was set up lol). We used laptops to chart, so I would open the charting system and a word document so that I could write my HPI (History Presenting Illness) before putting it into the system. In order to help me out, I would type something along the lines as: “The patient is a year-old male who presents to the emergency department for evaluation of. . .” This would help me write my HPI’s quicker once I started seeing patients with my providers. When my provider signed up for patients we would head to their rooms to see what was going on. Sometimes I was able to finish the HPI in the room and if the visits were more complicated I would most likely finish it back at our desk. The HPI is basically a more detailed story of the chief complaint. I would write down what the patient said including symptoms, etc.
For example, if a person came in with abdominal pain; I would say something along the lines as The patient is a year-old male who presents to the emergency department for evaluation of abdominal pain (or I could be specific depending on where the pain is and say left upper quadrant abdominal pain) that began 12 hours ago. The patient reports vomiting, a fever and denies a headache or any rashes. The patient states that he ate a shrimp pasta dish at a new restaurant last night. There are no other signs, symptoms or complaints other than noted.
After completing the HPI I would go ahead and complete the ROS (Review of Systems) and the Physical Exam. Some providers gave the physical exams in the room and others would wait until we got back to our desk to give it (this part really helps with your medical terminology; rhinorrhea? Why can’t I just say a runny nose lol) I would complete this process for each patient that my provider picked up. Another task we were responsible for was asking the patients their social history which could very awkward at times. Tayler: Do you smoke, drink or do any drugs? The patients usually responded quickly, paused or looked at me like “why are you asking me that!” I would say it’s something we are required to ask every patient so that we can put it in your chart. As a scribe in our ED, we would also pull lab results, X-rays, CT’s, etc. for the providers. We were also responsible for putting the results into the system until our system updated and we no longer had to input them (easy for us 😊)
I worked in a rural area and was blessed to be able to see a variety of cases in the ED. The providers, nurses, techs, etc. that I had the pleasure of working alongside were amazing! The providers knew that a lot of the scribes were getting ready to apply to school and they were very helpful. They would take time out to teach me things that were very informative. If they were doing procedures, they would allow me to come and watch which was pretty cool! I was able to see the daily routines of everyone in the ED. One of the most important things I learned while working as a scribe in the ED was that we are a team! Everyone is needed whether you are the provider, nurse, tech, scribe, registration, housekeeping or security. We all work together to serve the patient; no one can do it alone.
Here's some jazzy and funny pics of my work fam bam! God blessed me which such a great family while scribing!
God has done it again! I'm beyond excited to announce that I’ve been ACCEPTED to PA School. God is so faithful and he keeps his promises! Since my senior year of college, I was torn on if I wanted to go ahead and go to medical school or PA school. I knew what I wanted my end result to be but I just wasn’t clear on what route God wanted me to take. God sure did answer my prayers and gave me clarity on what it is that I should be doing and I hit the ground running! Well, Last cycle I applied to about 18 schools, received 2 interviews, 1 waitlist and 1 acceptance. Let me be completely honest with Y'all !! My application was pretty good but a red flag was that my science GPA wasn’t as “strong” as the average applicant but I know what was strong and that was my FAITH! I knew my science GPA was low for some schools but I trusted God and I knew that what he had for me was for me despite my stats! It didn’t matter what it looked like because I knew no matter what God had me. Y’all My faith carried me through this journey do you hear me !!!!! Almost every day I spoke that I’m getting into PA school on the first try ! I will not have to apply again. Four months after applying, my top choice sent me a rejection letter! I remember going into Kayler’s room saying man they denied me but it’s okay that must not be where God wants me to go. A month later I received more rejection letters. I was like “Nah hold on Lord” Lololol I had moments where I got down but I told him I will keep my faith because I truly believe that I'm getting accepted somewhere! The rejection letters kept rolling in but long behold at the beginning of September I received my 1st Interview offer! My interview was in January and I thought it went so well !! I loved everything about the school and I just knew I had it in the bag. Well, weeks came and went and I was like man God I thought this was the school for me! I kept hearing of people getting accepted to school and I was like I don’t care I’m still believing God! Two of the girls that were in my January interview was talking about preparing to apply next cycle and I kept telling them “Y’all I’m going to continue to believe God!” I’m not applying again because I’m going to get in! ( They probably got so tired of me saying that lol) Well at the end of February I decided to apply to this school before the March 1st deadline. When I first started applying I thought about applying to this school but I never did (It's in a small town and I was like hmmmm I’m going to apply to big cities so it will be like what I'm used to) well God will definitely take you out of your comfort zone . . . So I applied and A few days later I was sleep and heard my phone ringing, I saw the city on my phone and did a double take and was like nobody can be calling me from that city except that school! I answered and they were calling to offer me an interview spot! Y’all I was so happy !!!! My interview was scheduled in the next two weeks. I left the interview feeling really good!! They said the earliest we should hear back was a week later and by mail. I was going out of town so I checked the mail before I left and there was no letter. Two days later someone kept calling me private all day. I wasn’t expecting it to be the school because they said we should hear by mail. They kept calling so I finally answered and it was the PA program I interviewed at 2 weeks ago. They said I wanted to let you know that we want to offer you a seat into our 2020 class!!!! When I tell Y'all I was so happy! The way I celebrated and screamed was unreal! I was so happy and still am! I got that call a few weeks ago and I have moments where I’m like God you did it!!!! I got into PA school! You did this God !!!! Thousands of applicants, 32 seats and you allowed me to be apart of that 32. Y’all don’t even understand my journey! It’s been a long time coming and in 2 1/2 years, I will be Tayler Stephens PA-C. God never ceases to amaze me, you guys. If you just stick with him you never have anything to worry about! He will see you through and I can promise you that. See I thought I knew where I was going but God had a different plan! He knew exactly where I needed to be. So here is to PA school! To BIG faith !!! To trusting God no matter what! If I can do it, Y’all can too! What I’ve been speaking now is that I won’t struggle but that he will be with me every step of the way !!! I am like okay nah Holy Spirit me and you both got accepted bahahaha we in this together! It’s been a long time coming but I’m one step closer to doing what I love and I’m forever grateful for the journey. ❤
P.S. don’t get me wrong this journey had its ups and downs, it’s stressful moments but God made it so worth it!