Bridging the Gap
There’s a big learning curve between studying to be a physician assistant (PA) and actually practicing as a PA in a clinical setting. As an adjunct instructor in the PA program, Jessica Estanislau is focusing on helping students bridge that gap. “I still remember what it was like being a student,” she says. “The transition from the didactic to the clinical year can be a little challenging. Not every patient encounter will go perfectly.”
Estanislau works with third-year students out on rotations, reading and evaluating their patient notes and offering feedback on how they can improve their documentation. “I’ve found things to emphasize before they go out on rotations that really improve their note taking,” she says.
Clearly, students view her as a role model. Estanislau was selected to give the keynote address at this year’s Alpha Eta banquet, speaking to members of the health professions honor society that she was inducted into herself as a student. Her message: compassion.
Estanislau shared experiences from her two years as an emergency room PA at Mercy Medical Center. “Patients will remember you, even if you don’t necessarily remember them,” she says. “Every encounter is important.”
As an NYIT student, Estanislau was a founding member of the PA Student Society, serving as vice president and president, and served as a student delegate to the American Academy of PA’s House of Delegates, as chair of the standing rules committee, and as chief teller, responsible for running the floor at the national meeting.
“Those leadership experiences gave me the opportunity to learn about the issues affecting the PA profession and to help advocate for change,” says Estanislau, who has continued that advocacy as a professional by serving as the District E director of the New York State Society of PAs.
“As both a practicing PA and an adjunct professor, I am able to see the issues affecting both PA students and fellow PAs,” she says. “I want to ensure that we are able to practice at the top of our license and provide quality care to the patients we serve.”