As a Physician Assistant Professor, there is a constant tension that I feel. I love what I’m doing, but I’m not doing what I’m teaching. I don’t teach clinical courses, but foundational courses. I do practice some in the clinic on campus, but the vast majority of my job is away from patient contact.
Once every six years, Physician Assistants have to retake a certification exam, which is based on clinical information. This is on top of the 100 hours of continuing medical education we must complete every 2 years. It is required for certification, which is required for my job — or any job as a PA.
This is my sixth year.
I had actually intended to take my boards last summer, but then I got a unique opportunity to have a part-time clinical job, which took up any study time. Following that, we started foster parent training. I went about six months without a single day off.
I scheduled my boards for the day after Easter this year, but disaster struck, then rescheduled them for June 30th, because I thought I was going to have a lighter academic and administrative load this summer. I was wrong. I had to reschedule them for next to the last day possible for me to take them: August 29th. School started August 30th.
So, as I finished the summer semester, I had a week to study the equivalent of about 80 hours of continuing medical education. And that was just to get through the material thoroughly one time. I felt like I had to get through it at least ONCE, but that was pretty much going to have to be it. I was out of time.
I finally took my recertification exam on Monday. But then they have to grade it.
The rest of my week has been spent trying to unbury myself from the stacks that were created while I was studying for and taking my boards, which are required for my job. I finally got my score Friday morning.
I scored an 800, which is 80 points higher than the 99th percentile. Higher than my original board scores, in fact. It feels good to know that I’ve not lost touch with the vast amount knowledge that I must maintain. It feels better to know that I can keep my job.
But boy, am I tired.