While working for a biomedical company, Lawson Scott discovered that his interactions with clinical trial participants were the most valuable part of his role and the best part of his day.
“I wanted to connect with people, know their stories and identify how I can help them,” he said.
That’s when he realized he wanted a career that allowed him to help people as soon as they walked in the door.
“In clinical trials, we have participants. We would monitor them and analyze their results after months,” Scott said. “As a physician assistant, you have patients. With patients, you can potentially help them by the end of the visit.”
Scott explored several different areas within the medical field while looking for a more hands-on approach to helping others. Ultimately, the career options offered as a physician assistant led to his final choice.
“You have more flexibility with your career long-term,” Scott said. “You can do orthopedics for five years and then go do primary care.”
Scott said he is still thankful for his experience in clinical trials because it helped guide him to his correct path. His advice to others is that it’s OK to take time to make the right decision.
“I have friends who recently completed their undergrad, and they feel rushed to apply to PA or med school right away,” he said. “Having the experience beforehand can help lead you and guide you in the right direction.”
Now a Master of Physician Assistant (MPA) student at West Coast University-Texas, Scott is looking forward to beginning his second year in the program and starting his clinical rotations. He is looking forward to connecting with his patients and providing care.
“To have someone come in with a problem and potentially leave with a solution is very fulfilling,” Scott said.
The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the West Coast University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by West Coast University. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation. Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-west-coast-university/ To become a certified PA (PA-C), one must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). In addition, students must obtain state medical board registration/licensure. The licensure requirements will vary from state to state. A PA may not begin working as a Physician Assistant in most states until he/she has successfully passed the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) AND has been licensed/ registered by the state in which they practice. There may be exceptions for certain state licensures or for federal employment, such as the military and Veterans Administration. Failure to complete all necessary steps may constitute practicing medicine without a medical license. Upon graduation, students are responsible for ensuring they obtain all required licenses and certifications. West Coast University is not responsible for registration or licensing; the student is solely responsible for all such requirements and verifying proper authorizations to practice medicine have been obtained.
WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.