Ten PA School Study Tips

It’s a rainy Monday morning here at the Campbell PA program. We are ready to kick off yet another week of school and wanted to share some advice! If there’s one thing we know how to do it’s STUDY (and we also have a lot of fun of course). Check out these first year students and their study tips for surviving PA school!


Lauren: Color code your notes! It makes studying fun….sorta! ;)

2Buddy: Set a timer, 15 minutes of studying then take a 15 minute break

3John: It’s not unmanly to cry

4Sarah: Jam out to your favorite song

5Jessica and Robin: Don’t spend the lecture on G-Chat….no, but seriously.  Pay attention now so you can have free weekends!

6Sam: Take time to do something you enjoy

7Exercise! As Mrs. Johnson would say… don’t get sitting disease!

1Sara: Be flexible and willing to try new study methods. You will be studying a lot …sometimes changing things up can be beneficial and help keep you on track!

2Kelsey: Don’t study in bed, or lying down at all

3Lindsey: Pack a (healthy) lunch.. or else you will be surviving on cookies!

Ready Set Scrub!

It was a long and relaxing month of Christmas break for the first year PA students!  We spent time with friends and family, traveled, celebrated the holidays, and took a much needed vacation from the books. We started back a week ago, and as usual we dove straight into the deep end! Our class is busy studying hard, planning events, fundraising, and preparing our quiz bowl team for the AAPA conference in San Francisco. (More to come later on quiz bowl!)

This semester we began our Surgery course. Although we may not all end up working in the Surgery field, we will all be doing a surgery clinical rotation. This means that we need to at least LOOK like we know what we are doing in the operating room (kidding, we always know what we are doing, right?).  Our surgery adventure starts with learning surgical scrubbing, gowning, and gloving. Personally, I did not know that putting on a gown and gloves could be so complicated and performed so meticulously. Not to mention scrubbing my right hand with my left hand, oy! Oh and you have to do all of these things while keeping your arms and hands up in the air (I’m skipping the gym tonight because that totally counted). As always, we had a blast.

Check out the pictures below of our class during surgical scrubbing, gowning, and gloving today!


Mr. Pineiro and Mr. Fenn teaching students proper scrubbing technique



Mrs. Tim and Mrs. Gerstner teaching us how to gown and glove





Make sure to check back in to follow us throughout the semester!

Laura Martin, PAS-1, Campbell PA class of 2016

Happy Holidays and See you in 2015!

What an incredible fall semester it has been for the Campbell PA class of 2016! Our whirlwind first semester was filled to the brim with tons of medical knowledge, multitudes of exams (37 to be exact), and endless laughter and good times. During this holiday season, we want to wish everyone Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year. Here’s a glimpse into the Holiday season at the Campbell PA program.

Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences was overflowing with Christmas spirit. Garlands were everywhere (and I mean everywhere, good luck walking down those stairs in heels when the railing is that prickly) and we loved the Christmas tree in the lobby.

christmas2levine pic4

The holiday cheer and Christmas spirit helped us get through the last hurdle of the semester- final exams. The class of 2016 was quite a sight to see on the day of the LAST EXAM. The exam room is usually a quiet zone before exam time, but this was not the case. There was chatter, celebration, and there were TONS of holiday treats (and coffee, duh) being consumed from a spread atop our classroom’s physical exam table. The end of this test marked the end of our first semester, and you could actually hear squeals of joy from outside when students ran out to do cartwheels.

Check out those tacky Christmas sweaters!

Check out those Christmas sweaters!

christmas pic

Tacky Christmas sweaters and huge smiles- We’re done!

The Holidays at Campbell aren’t just about exams and Christmas sweaters. The Campbell PA program highly values giving back to the community. This Christmas the PA program (students, faculty, and staff) reached out to support a local family.

We had so much fun shopping for some kiddos!

We had so much fun shopping for some kiddos!

Our class also participated in Operation Christmas Child! We donated goods, raised money for shipping, and packed boxes.


Packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child


Campbell PA Operation Christmas Child volunteers!

Before we all went our separate ways for the season, we served as marshals at the graduating PA class of 2014’s Long White Coat Ceremony and graduation. We are so proud of them and we look up to them in all that we do- Congratulations. It’s hard to believe that we will be in their place in two short years, but we still have a long way to go and a lot to learn. Have a blessed Holiday season and we will see you in 2015!

-Laura Martin, PAS-1, Campbell PA Class of 2016

A Rock and a Hard Place

Not only do we, as future providers, need to know how to diagnose and treat patients, but we also have a responsibility to prevent disease whenever we can. Certainly we can provide counseling in our offices for patients to encourage them to stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more, drink more water, eat more vegetables, eat less fat, eat more of the right fat, reduce sodium, drink alcohol, don’t drink alcohol, get screened for cancer, buy a dog, engage in leisure activities to reduce stress…this list is endless. Almost all disease prevention requires effort from the patient. As we have learned, and almost anyone can see if they consider the generally poor health of their neighbors, people prefer pills, not plans to make themselves healthy. The incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are on the rise. More shockingly, in 2014 when we have the technology and knowhow to video chat with friends on all corners of the globe from a hand held device, the incidence of infectious disease is on the rise.

In the last year, news of the spread of Ebola has caught the attention of the world. That attention brought support and aid which have been effective at reducing the rate of spread and the distance to which the disease has spread. People came together to work toward a common goal: to reduce the morbidity and mortality of a disease. Unfortunately the Ebola Virus is not the only infectious disease that is getting global attention. Here, in the wonderful United States of America, diseases that were almost non-existent are beginning to reemerge in children and affect the function of schools and communities which not only inhibits learning but can have potentially fatal consequences in persons with weak immune systems. Many parents are blatantly disregarding the importance of vaccinating their children against diseases. A growing number of educated affluent whites are taking a dangerous stance against this preventative option, not on the basis of religious objections, but because some past-their-prime former model made claims that a vaccine was responsible for her child’s unfortunate Autism.

Since that claim “studies” have been published claiming that they have found links between vaccines and any number of morbid medical conditions. What about all of the epidemiological data that exists which shows beyond a doubt that vaccines do not cause harm, and in fact have improved the health of billions of people here in the US let alone globally? Decades of monitoring, studies, studies of studies, meta analyses, and billions of humans can all attest to the fact that vaccines have improved public health and reduced the burden of sick individuals on their families and the healthcare systems. And let me be clear on this fact: none of the so called studies that have tried to connect vaccine use with a negative outcome have followed scientific protocols or procedures, and with that poorly gathered data impossible speculations have been made to try and give the vaccines a bad reputation. Many of the “connections” are strictly coincidental. They are as coincidental as my bicycle crash this morning and the turkey dinner I had two weeks ago. And, for the record, all of the “research” that people were using to support the movement against vaccines have been unanimously discredited.

So where does this leave us as future practitioners? Between a rock and a hard place.

How do we dispel these rumors and encourage our patients to utilize vaccines? We are likely to be accused of being in cahoots with the drug companies, or trying to make our practice more money. How can we prove to our average family that the vaccine works? Their children simply don’t get sick, but do they know they were exposed and that the antibodies the vaccine helped them create were effective at destroying a pathogen before it created a disease state?

This is a delicate conundrum which will test our ability to communicate, our resolve, our respect and reverence, and force us to flirt with that fine line between educating and coercing. I personally believe that this challenges our very foundation of primum non nocere. By failing to encourage vaccination we may be putting others in harm’s way. There is no easy answer but we will all be faced with the difficult task of educating people about the true benefits and risks of vaccination. Working with our patients to encourage participation in vaccination programs is as important as counseling them on the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices as adults. Perhaps vaccination is itself a lifestyle choice.

And you thought getting into PA school was the hard part…

Sam Elzay PAS-1, Campbell PA Class of 2016

A Day in the Life of a PA student at Campbell University

Processed with RookieRobin Johnson, PAS-1

7: 55 My alarm gives me a near Myocardial Infarction.


I snooze to 8:00 and think Why don’t I just set my alarm for 8:00?

I sprint to make coffee!!!! Wait, I forgot to buy coffee filters? What was I thinking?! Oh yeah, I was thinking about heart failure drugs and how I really should have started studying those two years ago. Crap.

8:15 I throw on a dress and find matching shoes. Jewelry? Not today. Not without my coffee.

8:30 Unlocking the car door, I remember that I haven’t brushed my hair yet, good thing I’m early due to skipping coffee. I run inside, wave to the confused dog, and brush my hair. Okay, that’s better!

8:45 I set up my computer and smell all my classmate’s scrumptious cups of coffee. Hmph, I have 15 minutes to go downstairs and grab some.


8:55 Mrs. Johnson comes in with announcements and reminds us that “Patients come first!” Meanwhile, my coffee tastes divine.

9:00 I start three hours of History and Physical. I am determined to take better notes than last week! No more playing with the highlighter feature in One Note. Okay maybe just one ginormous star, but that’s it.

9:15 Hand cramp!

9:50 All the girls sprint to the bathroom. It’s really quite entertaining to see.

10:00 Back to History and Physical after sufficiently stretching out my “thenar and hypothenar.” Don’t worry I didn’t know what it was either until PA school.

10:30 Time to practice on each other down in the OMM lab. I don’t know how many more labs I can pretend to know what I’m doing, I think they’re on to me.

12:00 Lunch time! I run home and warm up some soup. I really should study during my lunch hourtomorrow definitely!

13:00 Look at me, I’m on time. Physiology means Dr. Hall will play the pancreas song. Never gets old. Is it weird to sing along? I better not. Back to my ferocious typing escapade.

13:13 HAND CRAMP, whoa that was a bad one.

13:50 There is another mad dash to the bathroom. HA, I moved up three spots in the line-up from this morning, I should’ve run track.

14:00 Dr. Hall always asks us if we have any more classes after this, and we always say yes. So she has pity on us and shows us some “Hello Kidney” cartoons. That darn kidney is too cute.


15:00 One hour of genetics stands between me and…. studying all night. Our poor genetics teacher gets us at the end of every Monday and I’m sure we look like this.


16:00 Welppp I better go home and make some Ramen Noodle and study for this week’s two exams!

17:00 I take a bite of my noodles while opening up today’s lecture notes. I should really learn to cook.

17:15 I stumble upon 6 ginormous highlighter stars, man I don’t even remember doing all those. I go to make coffee for this study session, CRAP I still don’t have coffee filters. I study for several more hours before having an epic debate whether to go run or not. I look at my #tbt post from before PA school started and decide I definitely need to go run.

22:00 One more hour of intense studying and then I’m off to bed. Should I change my alarm to 8:00? No, I need that 5 extra minutes to brush my hair. 

I fall asleep feeling so grateful that the reason I’m so tired is because I’m working towards the career of my dreams. I feel very blessed to call Campbell PA home and to get to do it all over again tomorrow. Mental note: must buy coffee filters.


Campbell PA Class of 2016

Are we overreacting to the Ebola Virus? A PAS-1 Perspective

As I was getting ready to take my daughter in for her annual check-up, I received two phone calls from the pediatrician asking if we had traveled out of the country in the last thirty days. Once we arrived at the office, I was again asked the same question. Although awareness of the danger of Ebola is present, it is not surprising that the CDC and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital failed to communicate and control the spread of Ebola from a patient who contracted the deadly disease overseas.

We should be worried about the Ebola virus, especially when it is fatal in 50-90% of cases with no approved vaccine or cure, but we must not overreact. It is important to watch for symptoms such as fever, fatigue, sore throat, muscle pain, and headaches, followed by vomiting, diarrhea and a rash. It can sometimes take up to 21 days for symptoms to develop, and patients are not contagious until they develop symptoms. The first patient in Texas Thomas Duncan who contracted the Ebola virus overseas sought medical help, but unfortunately he was sent home. Presently, we have two nurses who contracted the virus while taking care of Thomas Duncan. Although we don’t know the details of the breach of protocol that allowed the transmission of the virus between the patient and the nurses, we must be cautious in drawing any conclusions. It is unclear at this point whether anyone else was infected while one of the nurses traveled on a commercial flight.

It is truly sad that the virus has spread, but we must learn from the mistakes that were made. We should increase airport screenings of people traveling into the country from West Africa. We should also communicate and track the current cases across various federal and state agencies. One should take individual responsibility and stay home when one is sick. I believe that we can control the spread of the Ebola Virus, but we must work together rather than criticize each other. Our hearts and prayers are with the health care providers that contracted the virus while taking care of the Ebola Virus patients here and overseas.

Reham Ghali, PAS-1

Campbell PA Class of 2016



No looking back!

The Campbell University Physician Assistant Class of 2015 concluded their didactic year at the end of July and officially started Clinical Rotations August 18th, 2014! It’s been so amazing to transition from a full year of didactic learning to clinical education! Our classmates are spread all around North Carolina for our clinical rotations including Buies Creek, Greensboro, Wilmington, Triangle Area [Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill], Charlotte……………………….and even California!!!!! We have already had our first call back day and enjoyed seeing each other and swapping “first clinical rotation” stories.

Though the Class of 2016 now occupies our 44 seats in the Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences, we couldn’t leave without showing the world what CUPA2015 is all about! This medical parody was created, edited and directed by our classmates and produced by Aaron Gauger. It really sums up our year as PA Students! It includes all the members of our class and faculty. Watch and enjoy!

“Campbell’s in the building, our hands are in the ceiling…We know we’re ’bout to kill it. How we know? We got that feeling!”

The Class of 2015 is off to an amazing 2nd year. No looking back now!

Suzzette Van-Lare, PA-S2
MPAP Candidate, Class of 2015

The start of something new!

The Campbell University Physician Assistant Class of 2015 arrived on campus August 19, 2013 and has been taking Buies Creek by storm ever since! I am a proud member of this class that is composed of 44 men and women from all different backgrounds coming together to embark on this amazing journey. It’s hard to believe that in only four months we have learned more material than we ever thought we could process, thoroughly dissected human cadavers, performed head-to-toe physical exams and formed lasting friendships. We have completed our first semester of PA School and anxiously await the start of classes next week. Now is a more appropriate time than ever to relive the highlights (in pictures!) from this amazing semester.

Before classes started, the PA-1’s got together for a class picnic and a night of karaoke at a local sports bar.

Marisa, Brittney, Nick, Morgan and Natalie playing a game of pool at a get-together before classes started!

Marisa, Brittney, Morgan and Natalie playing a game of pool at a get-together before classes started!

What I love most about my class is how much we all support each other! If it’s someone’s birthday or even if we just had a hard week of classes…we all get together to unwind and reboot for the next week.

Sarah F., Sarah M., Leighanne, Alexa on our first day of school!

Sarah F., Sarah M., Leighanne, Alexa on our first day of school!

Sarah F., Sarah M., Leighanne and Alexa were excited for orientation week. Alexa is the president of our class.

Jeff, Bradley, Braxton and Andy on the first day of school!

Jeff, Bradley, Braxton and Andy on the first day of school!

The guys in our program are a little bit outnumbered, but we all get along as a group. :-)

Perri, Amanda, Suzzette, Marisa, Krista, Sarah M., Kaley, Danielle, Aimee, Kristina, Alexa and Sarah F. on the first day of school. Sarah M. has the right idea with the cup of coffee she is holding in the front. Coffee was the theme of this semester!

Marisa, Sarah F., Heather, Kaley, Anna, Sarah M., Hallie, Alexa, Brittany, Kristina, Christine, Vaishali and Leighanne getting ready to receive their white coats!

After a long week of classes, Marisa, Perri, Brittany, Sarah M., Bradley, Alexa and Anna get together with several classmates and teach us how to ‘dougie’!

pa7pa8Braxton, Jonathan, Diana, Heather, Brittney, Kondie, Alexa, Richard, Christine and Brittany at the historic ribbon cutting ceremony. Our class is so grateful to call the Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences ‘home’. The class took some group pictures in front of the building afterwards with our program director Mr. Coletti and our professor Dr. Stewart.

pa9PA Week 2013! Richard, Kim, Ed, Jonathan and Cindy stand proudly beside their poster to promote blood pressure awareness. During PA Week the Class of 2015 headed to campus to offer free blood pressure screenings, sell baked goods to fund raise for the program and promote awareness of the PA profession.

pa10Hmmm…I wonder what his blood pressure was?

pa1The Class of 2015 made history when they represented the Campbell PA Program in the 2013 homecoming parade. We were the first class to do so. Marisa, Vaishali, Danielle, Brittany, Suzzette, Eric, Kim, Alexa, Kaley, Nick, Bradley, Amanda, Emma and our furry friends dressed up in superhero costumes and made signs and a ‘float’. It was an amazing experience and yet another way to spread awareness about our profession. We threw goodies at the crowd and even yelled out helpful statistics! I may be biased, but I think we were a crowd favorite! ;-)

pa2pa1The class poses for a photo at the homecoming parade, and our classmate Amanda and her daughter ride ‘Gaylord’ our friendly mascot.

pa1pa1One of the best things about living near Raleigh is the NC State Fair. Eric, Perri, Marisa, Ellen, Bradley Sarah M., Alexa, Kristina, Anna, Natalie, Danielle, Aimee, Krista and Kaley pose for a picture before they see the attractions!

pa1Our class is so supportive of each other. When it was Kaley’s birthday we all went out to dinner to celebrate! Happy Birthday Kaley!

pa1Kim puts on gloves to prepare for a free diabetic foot screening at a local pharmacy. It’s amazing how much we have learned in our first year!

pa1Perhaps one of the most special things that happened this year was the charter Class of 2013 graduating. The PA Class of 2015 threw a celebratory party for all classes to attend which we named, “Save the Last PANCE”. We are so proud of the Class of 2013 for paving the way and we wish them the best of luck as they excel on their boards and in clinical practice!

pa1 pa2 pa3 pa4 pa5 pa7 pa8 pa9 pa10 pa11 pa12
What better way to end this awesome year? We came, we saw and we conquered…and we are ready to do it all over again!

Happy Holidays!
Suzzette Van-Lare, PAS-1
MPAP Candidate, Class of 2015

Let the second semester begin!

After a much appreciated winter break, it’s amazing to look back on the past few months and realize just how much we’ve learned and how many activities my classmates and I have participated in together.  Instead of a lengthy written post, I’d like to share a few of our first semester highlights with photos taken by classmates Kat MacDougal and Richelle Bangi.  Enjoy, and happy  new year!

Molly Stapleton Calabria, PAS-1
MPAP Candidate, Class of 2014

Carolina PANCErs in Intramural Football

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PA Week 2012

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Keeping clean our Adopt-a-Highway section

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Dressed up as Medical Director Dr. Stewart for Halloween

Dr. Stewarts!

Thanksgiving Potluck (a new Campbell PA Program tradition???)

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Volunteering with the Vision Van

Putting together gifts for Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child

Introducing the Class of 2014

This is National PA Week, held each year to promote awareness about the Physician Assistant profession, and I can think of no better time to introduce Campbell’s newest class of Physician Assistant students!

It’s hard to believe, but it was only 8 weeks ago that I met my 39 fellow Campbell University Physician Assistant classmates during orientation.  Some had traveled quite some distance to arrive in Buies Creek, North Carolina—from California, Colorado, and Minnesota (to name a few)—while some had come from closer by South Carolina, coastal North Carolina, Charlotte, or other parts of the state.

I’ll admit that I was a little bit nervous when I arrived for orientation (though mostly excited); I knew that the program was going to be very intense, and the proposition of being surrounded by an entirely new group of people for the ensuing 28 months was hard to wrap my head around.  My nerves were quickly calmed, though.  Within a day or two, it was clear to me that the people who were part of the program—students, faculty, and staff alike—were not only here for the right reasons, but were also going to make PA school a great experience.   As I started learning about the other students in my class, I was amazed by the breadth of their experiences and knowledge.

The ages of the students in our class span more than two decades, and we have completed degrees at schools all over the country (mostly undergraduate degrees, and a few Master’s as well).  We have two students who served in the military for many years, a former pharmaceutical rep, athletic trainers, a chemist, and people who have worked in just about every clinical and hospital setting you can imagine.  Day-in and day-out, I am in awe of my classmates.  I especially appreciate the knowledge they bring when we discuss subjects in which my background is weak; I can usually find someone who is able to explain a clinical condition to me because they’ve seen it!

Although it sounds cheesy, our class really does feel like a family.  Each morning, we start the day together 9am, and as the day and week goes on, we share our ups and downs.  We share the little things, good and bad: exhaustion at the end of an especially long day (or big test), and appreciation for a fellow student who posts a helpful video link, uploads a study guide online, or even just fills our water bottle for us during break. But the best thing we get to share is those times when we’re reminded what a wonderful profession we are entering.  And those times happen often enough to make us look past tomorrow’s big test and be thankful that we’re part of the Campbell University PA program.

I’ve included a few photos from our White Coat Ceremony… check them out! More photos will be coming soon (from PA Week activities, community service events, and intramural football).

Waiting to receive their coats: Stephen, Grace, and Merri

Waiting for white coats: Jesse, Abby, Mary Carol, and Andrew Z.

Waiting to get coated: Mari, Pat, and Sarah (Tom in the background)

Rahul, Meagan, and Carrie await their coats

Kat McDougal signs the honor pledge as part of the White Coat Ceremony

Program Director Mr. Colletti helpsTayyabah Rayyast put on her white coat

Happy to have our white coats!

Deanna and Kat: excited to have their new white coats!

We will also soon begin featuring a few members of the class each month on the blog so that those of you interested in the program can get a better idea of our class make up… it’s pretty awesome  :-)

And, lastly, ABC 11 (a local news station) did a nice segment on the CU program, featuring several of our first year students as well as Mr. Colletti, our Program Director, and Dr. Stewart, our Medical Director.  Check out the video here:  http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/video?id=8835648

Enjoy the remainder of PA week!

Molly Stapleton Calabria, PAS-1
MPAP Candidate, Class of 2014


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