PA Week 2016: How this UNC Clinical Assistant Professor Stays Centered

We're kicking off National PA Week with Janelle Bludorn, the first PA in our "How I Work" series

Sep 30, 2016 - Guest Author


Janelle Bludorn is an Emergency Medicine PA. You can find her on Twitter @janellerblu.


Choose one word that best describes your work style:

Millennial. My work style is certainly that of my generation: innovation-seeking through technology utilization, multitasking, and collaboration.

What is your device of choice?

iPhone. I often refer to it as my peripheral brain.

Favorite apps & software?

The usual suspects: Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat. I’m not really a big Facebook user, comparatively. In terms of medical apps/web-based platforms, my favorites are Doximity and UpToDate. As a yogi, the MindBody app is a great tool to ensure I never miss my favorite vinyasa class.

How does Doximity help you in your work as a clinician?

As one of the very first physician assistant members of the Doximity community, I have grown accustomed to using it as my go-to source for discovering which topics are currently abuzz among my colleagues and then joining the discussion with some of the best and brightest medical minds. The new CME feature further incentives continuing using the platform in this way. Doximity also helps me to connect and communicate with my colleagues across the country in a simple and secure way, whether for patient care, professional development, or even just networking.

What’s your secret to staying productive?

Staying busy. It’s an odd phenomenon, but the more things I have on my plate, the more productive I tend to be. I think that this stems from my clinical work in emergency medicine; the more hectic the department, the more “on your game” you’ve got to be.

What do you wish you knew when you were a student?

Now that I have transitioned my primary role to medical educator, there are a lot of things I wish I would have known as a student! I think that the thing that has struck me the most is how much of myself I invest in my students and their education. This is certainly something that I wish I would have realized about my professors and preceptors while still in my training.

Who is your mentor?

I’ve been fortunate to have been surrounded by so many strong women in my life, many of whom I consider to be mentors. Professionally, two immediately come to mind: surgical physician assistant Gina Grossi and emergency medicine physician Leslie Milne. Both of these successful women balance a persona I strive to emulate, characterized by fierce independence, genuine empathy, sound clinical judgement, and ability to transform the clinical environment to a learning environment.

You started in a community health setting and have since moved to an academic one. For PAs who are looking to transition practice settings, what tips or advice would you have for them?

I’ve always believed that the lateral mobility afforded to physician assistants due to our generalist training is one of the most unique aspects of our medical profession. That being said, a PA can’t simply jump from a specialty or practice setting without preparation. You’ve got to set goals and then set yourself up for success. Create ambitious long term goals and achievable short term goals to help you along the way. Invest in yourself in terms of meaningful clinical experiences and continuing medical education to give you the exposure and experience needed for a transition. Lastly, never underestimate how far a little confidence can take you.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

Since I’m usually woken by my dog, Roscoe, I’ll give him a little love and affection, then spend some time with my husband before we caffeinate and head out the door to start our work days at the University of North Carolina.

What’s the last thing you do before you go to sleep?

I know that the data says screentime before bedtime is a big no-no, but I can’t sleep unless I feel caught up on current events and happenings in the world of healthcare and medicine. Thus, my nightly rounds on Twitter and Doximity are usually what help me wind down before I turn in for the night.

How do you decompress?

A few years ago I discovered the power of mind-body techniques and meditation. Paired with my yoga practice, these tools have kept me grounded whether balancing life amidst busy urban emergency department shifts at Massachusetts General Hospital or making a career transition into medical education at UNC.

I can’t live without...

See answer to question #2.

What are you currently reading?

Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal. It is an honest and eye-opening account of the degree to which our society has medicalized the end-of-life experience, creating an argument for clinicians, family, and friends to advocate for aging and dying with dignity.

Do you have a favorite song?

You know, I don’t have a single song that is my favorite. My musical preferences are quite diverse and ever-changing based on my mood. When I need to get work done, I turn on Brooklyn Duo; in times of pensiveness only Leonard Cohen will do; when I’m feeling determined or triumphant, I’ll opt for Beyonce.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

A wise physician once told me: “If you’re not learning something new every day, you’re probably not doing it right.” I’ve been able to apply this advice seamlessly to nearly any facet of life: education, clinical practice, and both personal and professional relationships.


Janelle Bludorn is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and practices clinically with the UNC Department of Emergency Medicine. You can find her on Twitter @janellerblu.

How I Work: This PA Preceptor’s Secret to Staying Productive

In our second PA Week "How I Work" post, family medicine PA Jeffrey Manese describes how he stays efficient while mentoring students.

Sep 29, 2016 - Guest Author


Jeffrey Manese is a Family Medicine PA at Sutter Health Pacific Medical Foundation. He is based in San Francisco, CA.

Choose one word that best describes your work style:

I have a conversational style practice.

What is your device of choice?

iPad or iPhone.

Favorite apps & software?

Probably my iBooks and Pandora.

How does Doximity help you in your work as a clinician?

Doximity helps keeps me informed of new issues or topics that pertain to my type of practice.

What’s your secret to staying productive?

Keeping a positive attitude.

What do you wish you knew when you were a student?

Tricky question, probably how to navigate insurance related issue.

As someone who is heavily involved with precepting, how do you recommend students to find preceptors?

I ask students and mentors to interview each other, to look at their style of practice, population they work in or want to work in, past experiences, and expectations. I refer potential students to AAPA, CAPA, and SFBPA for potential mentors. An app like Doximity is another tool that can be used to help connect with clinicians for potential rotation sites.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

Coffee ️:)

What’s the last thing you do before you go to sleep?

Usually watch Netflix or reading sci-fi novel.

How do you decompress?

Exercise.

I can’t live without...

My iPad and my headphones.

What are you currently reading?

Sci-fi books, but usually no particular author.

Do you have a favorite song?

No favorite song but love a good beat.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

To find a job that you can enjoy and like, no matter what that job may be.


Jeffrey Manese is currently a Family Medicine PA at Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation in San Francisco, CA, and an adjunct professor & clinical preceptor at Samuel Merritt College in Oakland, CA. Manese completed his PA Training at Stanford University.

Apple Lists Doximity as a Top App for Healthcare Professionals

Sep 27, 2016 - Doximity Blog


We're proud to be featured as a top app for physicians and healthcare professionals by Apple, as reported by MobiHealthNews. Here are some of the clever ways physicians have used the Doximity app:

Staying up to date

"Doximity is an easy way to get credible medical news. It helps me stay up to date on the latest current events in medicine. As a physician, it is important to stay up to date on the latest news in health care in order to educate patients the best you can." Mary Ella Wood

Patient education

"I have had several experiences when I've quoted a study for a patient who has requested the specific data relevant to that study. It is so easy and quick to log on to Doximity, head to DocNews, find the study, and give the patient a reprint of the data. The recent study I quoted above comes to mind, as I've referenced the LEAP study to numerous parents, patients, teachers, health and school administrators. Running cases by physicians in the past has been very helpful, and the Doximity community makes that easier." Joshua Davidson, MD

HIPAA-secure texting

"I have been able to directly and securely send x-rays, wound images etc. to my cardiothoracic colleagues so that decisions can be made quickly and easily, avoiding unnecessary delay or travel. Almost on a daily basis, I use the messaging or fax features to transmit PHI to colleagues locally as well as across California and sometimes in other states. I like not having to worry about security and HIPAA-compliance. Every time an ECG gets faxed to Doximity, my life is infinitely easier than it was pre-Doximity. I have started carrying my Android device on call so that I can attach a date and signature to results immediately." Greg Kurio, MD

Free efax number

"Getting patients ready for the operating room, often involves documentation and investigation of primary care preoperative screening and lab results. As I work at a major medical center, we often must obtain results done remotely. The fax application of Doximity has been extremely useful for continuity, allowing documentation to be gathered in secure fashion, directly to me. This has expedited getting patients to the operating room in numerous instances." Genevieve Sweet, MD

Connecting with former classmates and mentors

"Prior to entering medical school in the Fall of 2013, I served as an Emergency Room scribe in a Northern Virginia Hospital. The physicians with whom I worked shaped my perception and desire to enter the medical field. While applying to medical school, I was offered a position in the charter class at the Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University and jumped at the opportunity to shape the reputation and culture of a new school. I have worked extensively interviewing applicants for subsequent classes, attending local and national conferences, and creating promotional materials for prospective students and the public to view. Doximity allows me to unite all of these aspects of my life: the physicians that I scribed for, the students whom I admitted, and my current classmates, professors, and clerkship directors can all establish a profile on this site. I am forever grateful to Doximity for allowing me to both network and keep in touch with past mentors, all without leaving the comfort of my laptop." Venkat Subramanyam

Finding the right specialist for a referral

"When I finished my fellowship, I started practice in a large regional hospital system in a different county. I often get palliative medicine consult request for patients who would be better managed by a PM&R specialist, but I didn't know anyone at in the new hospital system - until I came across the name of one doctor on Doximity and added her as a colleague. The next time I needed a PM&R doc, I knew who to call. Since then, I have suggested her for several more patients and have shared her contact info with my palliative medicine colleagues." Ilana Newman, MD

Researching residency programs

"Choosing a location to pursue my Internal Medicine residency could have been incredibly daunting without the aid of the Doximity Residency Navigator. As a medical student from a state school in the South, I planned to use residency as an opportunity to study medicine in a different part of the country. With the help of Doximity I was able to view a ranked list of many medical schools I had never heard of or considered. The result is what I believe to be a perfect match that would not have been possible otherwise." Camille Robichaux, MD

Finding a job and comparing salaries

"I am in the process of searching for jobs and I did not have any ideas about what is the base salary in different parts of the country. Using Doximity, I was able to identify the areas of the countries that I want to live in and have the base salary that I am looking for. Although this information is available on the internet, it is very scattered, disorganized, and most of the time is misleading. Doximity definitely made my life easier in this regard." Aziz Nazha, MD

4 Things You Probably Didn’t Know Doximity Residency Navigator Could Do…

Sep 19, 2016 - Guest Author


This is article comes from fourth year medical student, Irene Lainiotis. You may view the original article on Medium.

Welcome to fourth year. I’ve heard some deem it a completely unnecessary year of medical school or the most expensive, year long vacation that we will ever take. Maybe that’s all true — after you manage to be the perfect balance of calm and persistent to make sure your letter writers submit on time, try to squeeze details of four years of work into ERAS boxes, interview, and rank your programs.

For the first three years of medical school, I, along with thousands of others, scoured online forums trying to track down the perfect Step 1 strategy, which books I needed to read for a NBME shelf exams and what hotels wouldn’t break the student budget for Step 2CS. But I needed something a little more reliable than just the word of hundreds of anonymous medical students. I was finally applying for residency! And there was no room for unnecessary panic attacks (though these definitely still found their way in), or reading through thousands of posted comments to find what I was looking for. I wanted something concise, accurate and easy to use — enter the Doximity Residency Navigator. While no tool is perfect, Residency Navigator provided me with a quick, transparent look into the various programs out there. Here are a few of my favorite features:

1. Location, Location, Location

Those real estate agents were onto something with this one! One of the easiest ways to start your search is deciding where you would like to be for the next 3, 4, 5… years of your life.
To get started, simply input your specialty and then search by either state or region.

2. It lets you get specific

If you have an idea of what type of clinical training experience you’re looking for, you need a tool that will let you get specific. Family medicine in a rural community? Emergency medicine in a large urban setting? Want to make sure there is a pediatric hospital? Consider it done!

Are you the future pediatric surgeon? Interventional Cardiologist? Advanced endoscopist? Residency Navigator allows you to search for programs based on your intended fellowship.

3. The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

In an ode to one of my favorite Zac Brown Band songs, “I’ve got everything I need and nothing that I don’t” — and it’s all on one page. Each program’s residency page gives you the residency search equivalent of vitals: the total number of spots filled, percentages for board pass rates and those who go on to subspecialties, and how involved the alumni are in research and clinical trials. The page will also give you a breakdown of which sites you’ll be working at, along with the program director’s contact information.
This one is for the aforementioned future pediatric surgeons, interventional cardiologists, and advanced endoscopists — if you’re set on fellowship, it will break down what percentage of alumni go into what fields.

The Navigator even tells you the top feeder medical schools! I loved this feature because it helped me assess where students with similar educations to me went and were successful in residency. Alumni leave comments and rank their experience as well — the ultimate replacement for scrolling through thousands of anonymous comments on forums to hear opinions.

But there’s one feature that makes this unlike any other tool…

4. Get connected

Medicine finally has a medium where physicians at all levels of training can connect with one another — all seamlessly linked to the residency search process.

The Navigator lets you connect directly with current residents and alumni. Some programs even have an updated “Current Residents” section with links to their personal Doximity profiles. This is the virtual version of the pre-interview dinner!

There you have it — my breakdown of one of my essential residency search tools. I hope you find this tool as helpful as I did, and if it wards off at least one panic attack, I think we can all agree it’s worth it. Good luck fellow fourth years!


Irene Lainiotis is currently a fourth year medical student at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, interested in Internal Medicine. She is originally from Massapequa Park, NY but completed her B.S degree from James Madison University, double majoring in Biology and Public Policy & Administration. Outside of medicine, Irene enjoys working
out, cooking, and spending time with her family, friends and puppy.

How I Chose My Residency, with Help from an App

Sep 15, 2016 - Guest Author


This post comes from Dr. Steven Gangloff, current resident at University of Pittsburgh (UPMC). You may view the original article on Medium.

It’s the beginning of September, which means fourth-year medical students across the world are all buzzing about one thing: residency applications. The feelings of stress and excitement are still fresh in my mind, as I wore these shoes just one year ago. I still remember being inundated with the task of weighing pros and cons between hundreds of residency programs throughout the country to choose my perfect fit. This time, after all, would mark one of the greatest turning points in my career as I had to select the potential training that would ultimately sculpt me into the type of physician I have spent my life striving to become!

Help with the Application

It was early September, and my application was complete, polished to perfection, and quadruple checked for spelling and grammatical errors. I felt prepared, and at the same time hopelessly unprepared. For me, I had poured so much time and thought into deciding which field of medicine in which I wanted to train that when it came time to decide where to train and live for 4 or more years, I was at a loss. It seemed that just as one weight was lifted off my shoulders, I was faced with a new equally important and stressful life-changing decision. When the system finally opened I found before me a massive list of programs all throughout the country, and it was my job to select the ones to which I should apply. I found myself swimming in a whirlpool of questions. Where do I want to live? How important are program clout and name recognition? If a program is “strong” overall, does that mean it is strong in my area of interest? What fellowships do they offer? Where did the residents come from, and where did they go after graduating? I knew that I had a lot of work to do.

I essentially started from the first program on the list, explored their website, and continued forward. Quite honestly, the average university website is a non-objective display of accolades, which makes any program look like the obvious best choice. Program A has the number 1 stroke center in the tri-state area, but Program B has the best patient satisfaction in stroke in that same area? Immediately I could see that this strategy was not going to work.

This is when I thought to use the Doximity Residency Navigator. I had been a Doximity member and used Doximity quite a bit for articles and networking, and when I learned about the tool I decided it was worth a look. I soon found the Residency Navigator tool to be invaluable, as it helped construct the framework for my application strategy and played a big role in my decisions down the road.

When you open the tool, either on your computer or the convenient Doximity app, you are greeted with a menu to select your specialty of choice, and other ranking criteria such as reputation and research output. Doximity collected input from over 52,000 US physicians through their nomination and residency satisfaction surveys, modeled after the US News Best Hospital survey. They combine this with an alumni outcome analysis based on CVs and career paths, research citation h-index, and other parameters to compute and organize a list based on your specifications!

I knew from the beginning that I more than likely wanted to train in the Northeast to be closer to my family. By selecting for these parameters I already had a crafted starting point of programs to consider. Once you have this starting point, you can explore deeper by selecting programs of interest, and the tool will provide further information and pertinent statistics including board pass rates, research publication rate, feeder schools, and more. I often referred to the data on where alumni from each program went for further training post-residency and what they subspecialized in. This saved a massive amount of time over the alternative, which would be scouring each website and tabulating these numbers myself. It is beneficial to know, for instance, that 70% of people who subspecialize from University X go into critical care, as this comments to the strength of the teaching in this area. Even further, there are helpful satisfaction scores and reviews for each program completed by these same alumni and current residents.

What I found very interesting, is that sometimes certain programs are known to be particularly strong or weak in a given field, which would be hard to know prior, and could not be easily parsed by intuition. This reputation sort order did not serve as a strict guideline, but rather as an aid in brainstorming by allowing me to give thought to programs I otherwise would not have considered, based on carefully selected and objective data. This allowed me to construct my initial program application list on the scaffolding of the Doximity’s Residency Navigator.

I was able to submit my application with confidence that I chose a good and balanced set of programs based on aspects that were important to me. From then, it was time to relax and wait for the interviews to roll in.

Help with the Match

After the entire 4-month interview process is over, students must then rank the programs at which they interviewed from favorite to least favorite. I was fortunate to interview at a lot of the programs to which I applied, and thanks to having a well-crafted tool to help me select programs that would be good for me, I ended up enjoying every program at which I interviewed. This was bittersweet, as it meant I would have to rank a lot of programs I liked lower on my list!

Throughout interview season, the Residency Navigator was my constant companion. From this point, I used to tool to remind myself of aspects about various programs, used its information to help craft questions for my interviewers, and referenced the tool often to find contact information for program directors, coordinators, and residents.

When it came time to construct my list, I used Residency Navigator to help refresh my memory of the residents and directors I met, and the things the program offered, I reviewed some of the statistics and data that were important to me, and then I combined that with my overall impressions from the interview day itself to make my ranking.

All in all, the Residency Navigator truly helped me pick the residency program that was right for me. It appears as well that I wasn’t alone, as 75% of medical students last season were reported to have used this tool to aid in their application process! I’m grateful to have had such an information-packed and easy-to-use tool at my fingertips through one of the hardest decisions of my career thus far! Now, if we could just get a Fellowship Navigator…


Steven was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, where he completed his medical degree. He is currently a medical resident of neurology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In addition to patient care, he has interests in bioinformatics and the roles technology play in quality improvement and healthcare.