6 Essentials Every PA Student Should Buy Used!

PA School • November 12, 2023

Being a PA student can be an expensive journey, from the pre-PA process to the actual tuition and student loans. On top of that, there’s the need for various medical equipment. However, not everything has to be purchased brand new. Michele Neskey explores six essentials every PA student should buy used, saving both money and stress.

1. Stethoscope: A Classic Doesn’t Have to be New

The first item on our list is the stethoscope. While the allure of a brand new Litman Cardiology 4 model for $400 might be tempting, it’s not a necessity for PA school. A classic, basic stethoscope from reputable brands like Litman or MDF will serve you just as well. You can easily find used stethoscopes online through various platforms. Even the most basic ones are more than sufficient for your needs. So, save your money for other essentials and consider a used stethoscope.

2. Otoscope and Ophthalmoscope Kit: A Kit That Doesn’t Break the Bank

Next on the list is the otoscope and ophthalmoscope kit. These kits can be quite expensive, with some brands offering combined sets that cost hundreds of dollars. However, as a PA student, you don’t need to invest heavily in a new kit. Many used kits available online offer the same functionality, often with built-in lights. Given the relatively infrequent use during your training, a used kit can be a smart and cost-effective choice.

3. Tuning Fork: Essential for Some, But Not All

Unless you’re specializing in neurology, a tuning fork might not be an everyday necessity. If it’s a tool you’ll use sparingly, consider buying a used one. Many former students or medical professionals who no longer need their tuning fork might be willing to part with theirs at a reasonable price. It’s a small investment for something that won’t be a constant companion throughout your PA career.

4. Blood Pressure Cuff: Don’t Break the Bank for Portability

Some programs may require you to have a portable blood pressure cuff. While these can be affordable when purchased new, there’s a thriving market for used medical equipment. Many students who have completed their training are willing to sell their well-maintained equipment at a fraction of the cost. As long as it functions properly, a used blood pressure cuff can be a wise investment that doesn’t strain your budget.

5. Books: One of the Most Important of the Essentials Every PA Student Should Buy Used

Despite the move to online resources, many students still prefer traditional textbooks. If you’re one of them, consider buying used books from former students. Given the frequent updates to medical literature, having the latest edition isn’t always critical, especially if you’re looking to save money. Check with classmates or online platforms for used books, and you might find what you need at a significantly lower cost.

6. iPad or Tablet: The Previous Generation Can Still Serve You Well

If your program mandates an iPad or tablet, there’s no need to splurge on the latest model. The previous generation often has all the necessary features and can handle the demands of your coursework. Buying a used tablet can save you a considerable amount of money while still meeting the tech requirements of your program. Ensure it meets the specifications laid out by your school, and you’ll find that a slightly older model can be a smart investment.

In conclusion, being a savvy PA student means making wise financial choices. By opting for used essentials like stethoscopes, otoscope and ophthalmoscope kits, tuning forks, blood pressure cuffs, books, and tablets, you can significantly cut down on your expenses without compromising the quality of your education. Consider these options, explore the used market, and make your PA school journey more affordable and financially sustainable.

Also read: Top 3 Reasons You Are Not Getting into PA School

About me:

I’m Michele Neskey, aka The Posh PA. Welcome to my YouTube channel! My mission is to provide personalized guidance, education, and motivation to build confidence and promote wellness for aspiring physician assistants and beyond.   

Having been a PA for 17+ years and helped hundreds of students gain acceptance into PA school,  I understand the admissions process. I know what they are looking for, and I can help you tailor every component to make you shine, giving you the BEST chance of getting accepted to a program.  But it doesn’t end there. I create personalized plans for PA students and practicing PAs including test-taking strategy for the PANCE, contract negotiations, and tools to overcome and prevent provider burnout. 

My goal is to get you into a physician assistant (PA) school & survive the rigorous program, help you prevent burnout as a practicing PA, and help you take care of yourself so you can be the best version of YOU for your patients, family, and most importantly YOU!