Oct. 11, 2019 — To wrap up National PA Week, celebrated each year from Oct. 6-12, the UF School of PA Studies tapped a familiar face to share tips with students: recent graduate Ideanna Acosta, MPAS ’16. As students ate lunch Friday in the George T. Harrell, M.D., Medical Education Building, Acosta talked about her experiences as a practicing PA, the struggles she faced during school and the resources available for students.
Acosta, who works at a school clinic in East Harlem, New York, says she treats patients ranging in age from “3-year-olds to eighth graders.”
“Pediatrics is my passion,” she says. “It’s a different way of practicing medicine, being in a school clinic. You’re in the community.”
During her Pizza with a PA session, she fielded questions from students on topics including her experiences while job hunting, what the transition from didactic year to clinical year was like for her and the challenges she faced as a new PA. She offered students a few key takeaways:
Tailor your words to your audience.
“Make sure your patient understands what you’re asking and that you explain what you’re doing,” Acosta says. “People don’t know the medical terminology. Break it down for them.”
Learn how to apply the knowledge you’re taking in.
“The textbook world is not the real world,” she says. “You need to have the knowledge and know the foundation, but it’s what you do with that knowledge that matters.”
Don’t give up.
“In this field, we’re going to be learning for the rest of our lives — it doesn’t end here,” she says. “As long as you have the will to learn, you do your best and you remember why you’re here — to help patients — that’s what matters.”