The 2021 Great Holiday Gift Guide for Current and Future Physician Assistants

By Kat, PA-C, of PA the FI Way

The most wonderful time of year is just around the corner! If you’re a pre-PA, a PA student, or a practicing PA-C, this holiday gift guide was curated just for you to give you some ideas for your wishlist. You can point your friends and family members who are asking what would be a good gift idea for you to this list! Additionally, if instead you’re the significant other or family member of a current or future PA, but have no clue what to get them, then you’re also in the right place.

I think you’ll see common themes of practicality as well as comfort amongst these gift suggestions, which are two things that are highly valued! Although this gift guide was created for PAs specially for the holiday season, it really can be used year-round (I’m talking birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, Valentines Day, etc.).

So grab some coffee or apple cider, your softest blanket, and put your feet up while you start browsing!

Some of these links are referral links, and as an Amazon Affiliate and affiliate with other companies, I would receive a commission from qualifying purchases at no additional expense to you.

Medical Apparel

I don’t know about you, but although I like to look nice and professional while practicing medicine, comfort is a huge factor in determining what I wear while working.

Scrubs

These Urbane Align scrubs are so incredibly comfortable, and the pants are just like wearing yoga pants / athletic pants due the waist! In addition to the pants, consider getting the top to have a comfy complete scrub set.

Shoes

Dansko clogs were recommended to me by my genetics and anatomy and physiology professor in undergrad who stated that these were an absolute must if you stand or walk during much of your day since she knew many of us were going to become healthcare professionals. These shoes can take a bit of time getting used to since they are taller and somewhat on the bulkier side, but I absolutely love how comfortable they are even with flat feet! If possible, I encourage you to try them on to see if you feel as though they are a good fit for you.

If you struggle finding comfortable shoes as well, consider giving the Dansko XP versions a try for wider feet, or regular versions for regular width. Additionally, I wear my Danskos both with scrubs as well as with business casual dress pants, so they are very versatile. Although they are a bit pricier than other shoes, the comfort that they provide and the fact that they last for many years are well worth it in my opinion.

If tennis shoes are more your thing, consider trying Hoka shoes. Again, these seem to provide a lot of support and comfort while walking around or standing for long periods of time.

PA T-Shirts and Sweatshirts

Medthusiast has some amazingly humerus, punny, and downright cool apparel designed by a fellow PA! She also has other products like stickers and jackets. I have the “I Heart Medicine Raglan Sweatshirt” pictured below, and it is so incredibly soft and comfy!

Additionally, check out these fun PA t-shirts and sweatshirts designed by another fellow PA! She also has other products like coffee mugs, stickers, and bags in her Etsy shop, The Graphic Art of Medicine.

Medical Equipment

Stethoscopes

When someone says “stethoscope”, you may first think of Littmann stethoscopes, and for good reason. The Littmann Cardiology IV is one of the most popular stethoscopes that are used amongst healthcare professionals, and it was the style that my PA program recommended. There are so many colors to choose from, and the sound and quality are wonderful. Littmann won my heart, pun intended.

However, the MDF ProCardial Cardiology stethoscope is also a great alternative, and MDF stethoscopes can be a bit more affordable depending on the model and design. You can’t go wrong with choosing either of these options!

 

Digital Otoscope Camera  

I must say that this digital otoscope camera looks so cool, that it’s on my future wishlist! The cable connects to your phone so you can visualize the external canal and tympanic membrane of your ears, your kiddos’ ears, or your patients ears to show them what you see. This device even comes with some silicone tools that you can use to gently remove wax if needed. 

Hydration and Fuel for Current and Future PAs

Whether you’re a pre-PA, PA-S, or PA-C, you likely need to hydrate with water and stay caffeinated with coffee, which is why there is a whole section of this gift guide dedicated to these beverages.

Bottles, Tumblers, and Cups

Maybe it’s your goal to drink more water to stay hydrated throughout the day. Check out these water bottles that can help you achieve this goal!

Aren’t these “Because Patients.” tumblers adorable? They keep your beverage of choice hot or cold, and even come with a brush to clean out the metal straw that comes with them!

Or if coffee mugs are your preference, here are some fun ideas!

Coasters

Of course, don’t forget the coasters! Check out these amazing stackable anatomical brain coasters that are reminiscent of CT slices, or these awesome anatomy coasters that can be customized with your name.

Nespresso Machine

For the true coffee lover in your life, a Nespresso is the ultimate splurge of a gift. I have used two different Nespresso machines between myself and my family members, and I have loved them both. You can make a smooth and luxurious caffeinated beverage at home for a fraction of the cost of going to your favorite coffee shop. Highly recommend! (Don’t forget to add some Nespresso capsules that are compatible with the machine that you choose if it doesn’t come with some capsules!)

Self-Care Items

Whether you’re a pre-PA working on your patient care experience, or a PA-S working on your rotations, or a PA-C working in your specialty, the COVID pandemic has likely been just a bit on the stressful side for you. Since I transitioned from family medicine to outpatient psychiatry, I have seen how important trying to prioritize self-care is for your overall mental health. Self-care can be as simple as prioritizing exercising and eating a healthy diet, or can be taking the time to slow down and relax by using aromatherapy shower steamers, this neck and back massager, or this weighted blanket to help with stress and anxiety as well as the feeling of burnout.

Books

Financial Independence Books

Since my blog and podcast are all about FI (financial independence), I have to include some books about FI to encourage self-education:

The Simple Path to Wealth is one of the foundational FI books as it is so easy to read and understand. After reading this book, you’ll be motivated to buy and hold index funds in your investment portfolio!

Set for Life teaches how to build wealth on the way to FI and even touches on real estate investing.

Choose FI demonstrates how spending less, earning more, and investing the difference can help you reach FI sooner.

Books for Current and Future PAs, by PAs

Savanna Perry, PA-C, founder of The PA Platform and host of The Pre-PA Club podcast, has authored two books for pre-PAs. The Physician Assistant School Personal Statement Guide helps you write your essays for applying to PA school in a concise though articulate way. The Physician Assistant School Interview Guide provides practical advice for preparing for the various types of interviews so you can shine during your interviews to land you a seat in a PA program. Use code PAFI to get 10% off your copies of these books!

Jordan Fisher, PA-C, authored PA Next Steps, which overviews all of the steps to do as a new grad right out of PA school. Topics include licensing and credentialing, contract negotiation, student loans, job hunting, amongst others. Jordan also co-authored The PA Blueprint with Shayne Foley, PA-C, and topics include CME, retirement accounts, burnout, as well as others. Check out the podcast episode about The PA Blueprint here.

Resources to Help With Getting Into PA School

My PA Box is an online tool that makes the application process for PA school a breeze. It helps with organization, and helps match you to the PA programs that you meet the prerequisites for, saving you time so you don’t have to scour the internet for hours to find the information as well as saving money so you don’t accidentally apply for a program through CASPA that you don’t even meet the qualifications for. Use PAFI for 15% off your subscription!

The PA Platform offers many types of services designed to make you the best applicant that you can be. These services include essay reviews, mock interviews, counseling for re-applicants, etc. Use code PAFI for 10% any of these services! Check out the PA the FI Way podcast with Savanna here.

The Pre-PA Clinic also offers many types of services and products created to help you get into PA school. Some products include courses and workbooks, and some services include personal statement and essay reviews, mock interviews, and private coaching. Check out the podcast episode with Katie and Beth here.

Budgeting During PA School

Want to utilize an organized spreadsheet to track your finances and keep you on budget during PA school? Check out PA Money Sense’s PA School Budget Tracker.

Resources for New Grad PAs

Student Loan Repayment

Andrew Paulson, CSLP, co-founded StudentLoanAdvice.com, which is a trusted White Coat Investor Company, and advises PAs and other health care providers on formulating a plan to help manage and pay back their student loan debt. If you don’t know whether you should keep your federal student loans, refinance with a private lender, pursue PSLF, or use an IDR program, book a consult with Andrew so you can confidently tackle your student loan debt! Check out the PA the FI Way podcast episode where Andrew was a guest here.

Beginning to Build Wealth

If you’re wanting to start building wealth right after PA school, then Strive Coaching’s Money Boot Camp for New White Coats is the course for you! Check out the podcast episode with Kristin here.

I hope you found this gift guide both fun and inspiring for you if you’re a current or future PA, or if you’re the significant other or family member of one in your life. Christmas and the holiday season are about so much more than gift giving, but I’m confident that these gifts would help brighten up the day of the PA who receives them, especially in the midst of this tough time of working in healthcare. Please pin, save, and share this guide with anyone who you think would enjoy it, and I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas and holiday season!

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