Braden Lawyer

Attended Purdue University for undergraduate degree.


What made you want to be a PA?

My desire to be a PA comes from my ambition to be the kind of medical professional that makes a lasting impact on the people around me. Being a PA requires both a vast medical knowledge and an appreciation for the social side of medicine. I wanted a career that would allow me to care for all aspects of my patients. My goal is to be the type of medical provider that patients want to see and other professionals want to work with. As I considered my career path, I felt becoming a PA was the right path for me to flourish both professionally and personally.

Why UEPA? Or what makes UEPA different from other PA programs?

I was lucky to know a group of UEPA students prior to attending here myself. In them, I saw future healthcare professionals that were on track to make a meaningful difference in the world around them. Knowing I wanted to be a part of that culture, I reached out to some of the faculty members and UEPA and began the application process. Their encouragement and guidance made me certain that UE was the right choice for me upon my acceptance. Now, years later, I can confirm that my situation is not an outlier. This culture is commonplace at UEPA. The students and faculty here foster a culture that is designed to build well-rounded medical providers equipped to treat people and make lives better in their surrounding communities.

What do you find is your biggest challenge in being a PA student?

One of the biggest challenges of being a PA student is learning to accept what you do not know. The study of medicine is endless and always changing. As such, it is impossible to know everything about anything. Sometimes it's better to know how to find the best answer rather than to rely on what you think you may know.

Did you do anything that really helped you prepare for PA school?

What helped me prepare for PA school was taking time to connect with my loved ones before getting started. If you are accepted, you are academically prepared for PA school. There is no need to study prior to classes starting because once you start, it will be a sprint. I found it valuable to take a step back to celebrate this next stage in my life with those that helped me get there.

What is your best advice for anyone working on the CASPA application?

Start early! My best advice would be to write your essays early, then put them away and do not look at them. Once some time has passed, reread them with fresh eyes and consider if the message you wanted to convey is what shines through.

If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would challenge myself to find a lot of different ways to be engaged in the PA community outside of school and rotations. The PA profession is ever evolving in ways that will have a huge impact on my peers and me. As PAs, we are a great asset to the medical community, and it is important that we have a voice in shaping our own future careers.

What is the one thing about PA school you weren't prepared for?

I was not prepared for the appreciation I would have for so many different specialties. I expected to enjoy each of my rotations but have strong favorites. In reality, I learned to appreciate different elements of each rotation and gained a respect for a lot of different aspects of medicine.

How hard is it…really???

PA school is as hard as you want to make it. You will never know everything there is to know, and that is okay. If you want to know more and keep studying, you always can. However, it is important to remember that your goal is not necessarily to remember every fact, but to know how to deliver the best patient care. Sometimes it is best to develop your skills in finding the best answer rather than practicing rote memorization.

What is your favorite class?

12-Lead EKG

What is a typical day like in didactic year?

In the mornings, I would always wake up, make my coffee, and get ready for my day. I would then head to Stone for classes. After class I would often hang around for a bit for any meetings I might have or to chat with some of the faculty members. Once I got home, I tried to take advantage of the daylight and do something small outside. I would then settle in for the evening and catch up on my studies until dinner. After dinner, I would tie up any loose ends with schoolwork but try to reserve most of my evening time for my personal life.

What is your favorite part of PA School?

My favorite part of PA school has been the transition of learning "textbook medicine" and then translating that to the real world during clinical rotations. It is so rewarding and satisfying to see the hard work of studying turn into better care for your patients.

What is your best advice for the interview process?

An interview is not just a school selecting students based on the answers they want to hear. It is an opportunity for students and schools both to introduce themselves and determine if they fit one another. Be true to who you are, and make sure your true self is what is shown on interview day.

How do you balance school and other aspects of your life?

For me, I always try to make sure I am only focused on one task at a time. While PA school is very important and takes up a lot of my time, I also have other things going on in my life. I do my best to devote my attention to the task in front of me so I can be sure to live in the moment. By doing this, my goal is to make sure I am not wasting my time and neglecting my education or personal life for the sake of the other.

What is your favorite thing about the clinical year?

My favorite thing about clinical year is getting to meet and interact with great established medical professionals. It is so fun to finally be a part of the healthcare community. I find it really interesting to learn how the brain of a good provider works. By the time you get to clinical year, you have put in a ton of work learning the textbook side of medicine. It is neat to see that knowledge translate to real people and incredibly rewarding when your medical opinions are valued and applied to patient care.

What specialty do you want to pursue? Why?

I really thought I knew what I wanted to specialize in prior to starting PA school. However, now that I am in the clinical year, I can see myself working in a few different areas of medicine. I am excited to finish up my rotations and get a more complete idea of my preferences. Then, I will weigh my options and choose what is right for me.

What is a typical day like in clinical year?

Each morning I get up, get ready for my day, and get something to eat (bonus points to rotations with provided breakfast and coffee). Each rotation is very different, so my schedule while working always varies. I always carry a notepad around to keep track of my patients and write down anything I want to learn more about. I try to ask my preceptors questions as I can between patients but always make sure to chat with them before going home. At the end of the day, I enter my patient logs before going home and review any pressing questions. Once I get home, I spend some time to decompress from my day before eating dinner. Then, I hop on my computer to review for the next day or study for EOR/PANCE.