A minimum of 1,000 hours of hands-on, direct patient-care experience is required at the time of application. Health care experience is important as it exposes students to, and prepares them for, the challenges and rewards of working directly with patients and demonstrates an applicant's commitment to a career in the health professions.
The MGH Institute of Health Professions Physician Assistant program seeks students from a variety of health care backgrounds. The Admission Committee defines patient-care experience as working one-on-one with patients in a paid position. We generally do not accept volunteer hours as direct patient-care experience; however, consideration will be made on a case-by-case basis. Health care experience that involves observation of patient care and does not involve interaction with patients, while valuable, will not be accepted as direct patient-care experience.
The following are some examples of typically acceptable direct patient-care experience:
Nurse, CNA, medical assistant, clinic/hospital-based patient care assistant, physical/occupational therapist/therapy assistant, athletic trainer, exercise physiologist, dental hygienist, respiratory therapist, registered dietician/nutritionist, EMT, paramedic, emergency room technician, clinical researcher/research assistant with direct patient contact, optometrist, optometry assistant, radiology technician. This list is not intended to be inclusive, but to give the applicant examples of health care professions that are considered desirable.
When reviewing health care experience, we are more interested in the job description and the day-to-day responsibilities of an applicant than we are in the job title itself and would consider most employment as health care experience providing it involves evaluating/triaging patients, bedside care, drawing blood, obtaining EKG's, etc.
If you're looking for job opportunities in direct patient care, below is a link with information about Patient Care Associate opportunities across Partners HealthCare. While employment in a Partners institution does not guarantee admission to the PA program, additional consideration is given to applicants with two years of full-time employment in a Partners institution. See information about Patient Care Associate opportunities.
- Overall or science GPA of 3.0 preferred, 3.5 and above given additional consideration
- Successful completion of a Biochemistry or Organic Chemistry course with a grade of B- or higher
- 2,000+ hours of direct patient-care experience in a work setting. Though the minimum requirement is 1,000 hours, additional consideration will be given to applicants with 2,000+ hours.
- Evidence of
- volunteer work/service
- overcoming significant personal challenges
- Active military or veteran status
- Partners Healthcare employee with 2 or more years of full-time employment