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Looking for medical professionals to shadow

Original Post
Aaron Johnston · · fort collins · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 115

Hi climbing community,

I'm currently making the transition from seasonal worker (Adirondacks, Gunks, Utah, Bishop), to preparing for a career in health care that will allow me to continue my hobbies of climbing and travelling, and hopefully live in an equally cool area. Honestly the choice between becoming an RN vs a PA is a bit overwhelming. I just read this thread…

and feel like I'm back at ground zero in terms of figuring out what I want to do. I'm attracted to the autonomy of being a PA, but worry that I'll just end up working more than I want to. In similar fashion, I love the schedule and potential for travel/lateral movement in nursing, but worry that over time I'd resent the more subservient role. Bottom line is that I just need to experience it somehow so I can understand my options better.

I just moved to Fort Collins, and would really appreciate it if an RN, NP, PA or MD would let me shadow them for a few hours/days. I'm able to drive an hour or so, if there are any Denver folks willing to let me work with them. Even if it's just going out for a day of climbing and talking a bit about your experiences in health care, that'd probably be really helpful. I'd also love to hear about how you balance work and play in whatever health care profession you're in.

Thanks in advance, and even if shadowing doesn't work out, I'd love to hear some more opinions on the subject!


John John · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Did you not do work placements in your training?

Aaron Johnston · · fort collins · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 115

Hey John,

I haven't done any training. I have a BS in environmental science...graduated in 2010 and other than working in the field for a couple years have been goofing around working seasonally and climbing since then. I just started taking specific 'pre-med/nursing/pa' prerequisites, and just started a CNA training course hoping to rack up patient care hours. I'm not expecting this route to necessarily lead to meeting many pa's and md's, but it was the route that about 70% of the current PA students that were available to speak with at the University of Colorado took to gain their patient care hours. So hopefully in about a month I'll be working as a CNA gaining the required patient care hours, but I'm guessing that this job won't put me in touch with many upper level health care professionals to shadow (which is typically a separate prerequisite from patient care hours). That's why I figured I try this.

Nick Young · · Spokane, WA · Joined May 2015 · Points: 215

Hey, so I'm by no means a RN/PA/MD etc, but I do work as an ER-Technician, and I can't recommend it enough as a killer avenue to network with nurses, doctors and PAs/NPs. The patient care hours are more enjoyable than CNA work with better pay, and in my experience every provider I've worked with has been very receptive to answering questions and working with you on anything you're curious about, not to mention letting you shadow them/their colleagues. I can't gauruntee that the experience will be universal everywhere but I think ya a great option for working into the medical field. The schedule is also fantastic. Let me know if I can give you any more info about it!

Aaron Johnston · · fort collins · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 115

Hey thanks for the response Nick! I hadn't thought of that route so I'll definitely look and see what's available in my area! Are you planning on pursuing PA school, and have you generally found that ER tech hours are accepted by most schools as patient care hours?

Nick Young · · Spokane, WA · Joined May 2015 · Points: 215

Hey, no worries man, happy to help! I'm not sure what route I want to take - for now though it's enjoyable work with a good schedule and lots of flexibility. Not only do nursing/pa programs accept the patient care hours, as I understand it the hours as a Tech give you an extra leg up, because you're working directly with Providers, and in my experience I got to know a lot of the folks that sat on the PA Application Boards. My last gig I was working 6 on 8 off, or 4 on 1 off 2 on 7 off, so I could take 6 vacation days and have 21 paid days off. I'd highly recommend it, and the work pays well above CNA - in WA usually starts around $16/hr plus shift per diem, it's easy to get $18/$20hr. I'm happy to answer any more questions, and good luck!

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