|shadowing puts you "in the background" to learn|
Shadowing for me was not about "do I want to enter this profession" but rather to let me see what working as a PA is like(in part so that I can better prepare myself to continue to interview well and do well in school).
One PA was in an ENT practice and she treated a lot of sinus infection patients. Their practice was working on integrating electronic medical records into their practice and she has been integral in some of that transition. I got to see a larynx through a laryngoscope. Was pretty cool!
The other shadow was in primary care. She saw several patients with COPD and asthma (all smokers). I am amazed at how many people smoke in Western NY!
I learned a lot from both of these observations about time management, listening, charting and redirecting patient inquiries, concerns and fears.
I can certainly see the importance of shadowing now more than ever. Not only do you get to observe the new PA in action, but you get to see how they interact with their supervising physician and how that progresses for them through their training period and how much autonomy they actually have. I can see that as a student PA and a new graduate, you better get really comfortable with constant observation and evaluation.
I'm definitely going to keep shadowing as much as I can. Plus, it never hurts to network!
(Oh and don't forget to send that ever important "thank you" note to your host PA.)