Well, after keeping me waiting for a week (some of my friends found out the next day), the NCCPA finally communicated to me the results of my Physician Assistant National Certifying (PANCE) exam.  This is pretty much the final true hurdle before becoming a PA.

I passed.  I am now a nationally certified Physician Assistant!

I would love to tell you all about the exam itself – what kinds of questions were on it, how hard it was, things they didn’t test on, etc., but I can get in big trouble for disclosing anything that could compromise the test, so I’ll leave it at: there weren’t any big surprises.  Surprises or no, it was a relief just the same to get my scores – you just want that confirmation, you know?  Then you can whoop and celebrate and relax for the first time in months (since about the start of finals, I’d say).  I will not need to take another certification exam for 6 years, at which point I will take the very similar Physician Assistant National Re-certification Exam (PANRE).

Anyway, the very day I received my results, my application was in the mail.  $225 state licensing fee, plus $79 for Live-scan fingerprinting, a 2″ x 2″ passport photo, certified mail postage, and it’s off my plate and in Sacramento’s lap.  The State of California’s Physician Assistant Committee (the regulatory body for PAs) will need to confirm that my Marriage and Family Therapist license is in good standing (they check all prior health-related licenses), which can delay the process a bit.  One state government regulatory office must contact the other, and you know how that can go.  With any luck, I’ll be licensed in a month, and then all I need to begin seeing patients is to have a supervising physician.  Remember: although PAs make plenty of decisions and do plenty of work on their own, their mandate is to always practice under a physician.  So until I get a job, you can think of me as an unloaded gun.

I’m feeling good about things, and my time and energy will now be split between enjoying my summer with the kids, finding a job, and of course Inside PA Training.  Being split two ways is refreshing from being simultaneously split between:

  • Finals
  • Finishing up patient hours in rotations and or clinic
  • Preparing for the PANCE
  • Personal life (what’s that?), and
  • Job planning

As for jobs, writing a resume after six years of stay-at-home parenting and two of PA school is not easy.  But all indications are that even new grads are in high demand, so with time, I should find the right position.

But first?  A much deserved 4-day stay in a cabin in South Lake Tahoe with family, and maybe even a few hands of poker.

So thank you, readers, for your support and enthusiasm.  I could not have done it without you!

Paul K., MS, MFT, PA-C

July 9, 2012

PS: The following is a message I received this morning from myself, sent some 2-1/2 years ago.  It’s got me thinking, as I guess I hoped it would back when I composed it.

The following is an e-mail from the past, composed 2 years, 5 months and 21 days ago, on January 18, 2010. It is being delivered from the past through FutureMe.org

Dear FutureMe,

Congratulations on your new certificate in Physician Assistant Science. How are you liking the field? Be honest with yourself about where you want to go with it. What’s important to you right now? Money, time, time with family, helping others, learning, having fun, improving yourself? These are all good pursuits. But which one is the best one right now?

Finally, what are you doing today to further that goal? Your old self is wondering if you are working toward your goals, or just sitting around waiting to die. Wake up and make an honest effort to live the life that matters to you. You’re going to die one day. Maybe soon. Don’t go there with your song still in you.