Congrats on graduating and successfully landing your first PA position! Hopefully, you have given yourself some time to rest and recover. You are probably wondering what your world will look like now that you are no longer an official student. Be encouraged by that, but don’t forget that it is wise to always be open to learning.
The first 6 months of any job are exhausting and the learning curve is steep. There are small things to learn such as navigating the hospital without getting lost. Be patient with yourself in this new environment and work place. Do what you need to do to make sure that getting acclimated isn’t more difficult than it needs to be. Try simply asking for directions until you get it, or draw a map.
Learn to understand the team of healthcare professionals that surround you. What are their strengths? Where can you support them or fill in for a weak spot? Making friends with the nurse that has been a loyal member of the practice for 20 years is always a good idea. They have a lot of wisdom to impart that will be helpful to you. Plus, they are generally amazing individuals.
Get familiar with and understand the pace of the day. Do providers break or see patients every 10 minutes? The more you can observe in the beginning, the easier it will be to transition fully after your first couple of months.
Find yourself a few allies. Look for knowledgeable people that can act as resources and help you figure things out like where the gloves are stocked, where the providers gather to have coffee or discuss patients, or who you ask questions to regarding difficult patient decisions or diagnosis. These are a few simple things that will make those first 6 months a little easier.
Quick but important tips:
Respect the team.
Each person has a specific role, including you. Understand boundaries and your exact expectations.
Read and study.
Learn as much as possible about current advances in your new area. Attend a conference or learn all you can about patient management so you will be prepared for your new job.
Research the hospital or practice website.
Understand the patient population it serves, where research is devoted, and general mission of the practice/hospital. Learning more about where you will be working will equip you with a comprehensive understanding of team philosophy or hospital culture.
Set up a shadow day or two.
This is never a bad idea before you start so you can understand the people, mission, and pace before your first day there.
If you do these things or even half these things, you will have a much better transition into your new position. Good luck, and you’re going to be a great PA!