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DoHzA

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Yesterday i was studying for the MCAT and getting ready to apply to medschool...then during a 13 hour shift in the E.R. I woke up!
Why go to school for 7 years to be in debt all for a title when i can go to PA school for 2 years and start making CASH while doing work in the field i love.
I cancelled my plans on taking the MCAT and am shifting gears.
Anybody know of the timeline an applicant should follow if pursuing a PA educ. for Fall of 2003?
and another thing i heard PA schools don't need MCAT's but i know usc does...anybody have any input?
thanks a bunch
 

rmpa

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I went through the same thing. I actually got accepted to Med school and chose PA school instead. Family life was too important to me and I was not sure I could handle another 7-9 years of higher education. Make sure you think about this long and hard. We have a couple of students now that are having a hard time because they don't understand the whole PA/Doc relationship. Their ego's can't handle it and they want to "play doctor". One has even dropped out and is going to med school. So if you have a clear picture of the roles the PA plays in health care and their strengths and limitations, then you'll be much more successful in school and practice. Also instead of the MCAT, most PA Programs (Masters level) require the
GRE. I've taken both, and believe it or not I think the GRE is harder. So study up on that or it will take you by surprise. Good luck. By the way, I think PA is the best choice I could have made. :)
 

Mr. happy clown guy

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Not a PA, but I could not picture someone being a Physicians Assistant in their 40's or 50's. It seems like an occupation for young people in transition or people wanting only to work "part time" for the rest of their lives. Their are such professional limitations (glass ceiling) that I for one would NEVER be happy in such a situation.
As a short term goal, it seems nice, but long term it seems horrible (except to use it as a stepping stone or to work part time). It seems incredibly frustrating.

Not trying to start a flame war...just my 2 cents from someone (myself) who left a glass ceiling job (allied health) to pursue medicine in his late 20's...I am exstatic with my choice.

PS. There is NO WAY the GRE is more difficult and
you can get away with far lower scores on the GRE vs. the MCAT. I didn't even study for the GRE.
 
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G3

just a note... there are plently of PA's working in their 40's 50's (ever seen the faculty members of a PA program), and if not working 60+ hours a week while being on call is considered part time than most PAs don't work full time; Also, the ceiling is glass for all professions. MD's are not unlimited in their knowledge or in it's application. PA's have plently of challenges in rural and underserved areas where physicians are lacking or abscent.
To be a PA is NOT an easier way to be a physician. It is a way to carry out a portion of the physician's responsibilites which are not as complicated (unless you are in a area where no physicians are available), and increase patient contact ensuring that their needs are better met. It is a viable choice if you wish to have some of the responsibilities afforeded MD's/DO's. One more thing, if family life is important to you I would suggest the field. Having an MD as a father meant having more of MD than a father in the family (I never saw him).
 

Bandit

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Mr. happy clown guy, this is exactly what most do not understand about the PA profession. It really is designed for older people with medical knowledge and experience to build upon. I agree that if you are young with few commitments in life -- go to med school---OR--you really dont know what PA school is all about. These adcoms are not doing anyone a favor by letting in people with sub-standard qualifications.

As a side note, I took both the mcat and gre and score outrageously high on both -- did not make PA school any easier!
 

Freeeedom!

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Just wanted to say that at least 1/4 of my class in med school were married and/or had children...both men and women! Our mean age in medschool was 25 with a with the oldest being 45 and the youngest being 21. Osteopathic programs specifically look for people with prior experience and tend to take the "older applicant". Medical school is for those who wish to take the personal challenge of medicine regardless of age or status.

Any professional career can lead to neglect of family and for that matter, the LACK of a career can lead to neglect of family. This is a personal problem and not a profession dependent problem.
Similar to HCG, I left a field to enter Medical School, specifically a DO program. I have never been happier with my decision to MOVE UP in both responsibility and academics. But one must admit the "glass ceiling" for an Assistant can be found simply in the name "Assistant" and is entirely different from the professional limitations as a Physician.
Sorry, I realize this is a Physician Assistant forum, but I just was cruising around and wanted to clarify some things!
 

rmpa

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Mr. Happy clown guy. That was my point I was trying to make to the original poster. If you can't be confident enough in your decision dealing with the limitations of the job, go medical school. You don't think you have limitations as an MD? Ever heard of a consult? As far as the GRE - Just my opinion, you notice how the worst scores on the MCAT are always verbal reasoning - the main component on the GRE. But it's all good. Peace
 
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G3

I would conceed that my the lack of prescence by my father might not be the norm for physicians as a whole. But I hope you're not trying say that on average, MD's/DO's have as much time to spare with their families as PA's. With the added responsibilities comes less free time. You'd be doing your patients and practice a diservice if you didn't put in the time.
 

Bandit

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There is a glass cieling everywhere you go -- for everyone. I am happy that freedom is fullfilling his ambition and is very happy with him/herself. That being said -- I practice some pretty autonomous medicine as a PA covering ED admissions and covering a floor over night. It will probably shock you to learn that I often supervise/teach residents in our hospital. Not just 3rd and 4th year students -- residents. While you are correct with the "limitations" associated with the assistant title, I can assure you that it really doesnt bother some. It is not a "problem" for anyone. The PA I work for has nearly 25 years experience--is in charge of the ICU, and is very highly respected among the MD`s in the hospital (not to mention a salary that would shock you!) Clearly, PA`s are not physicians in both responsibility and academics but, just as clear, some are pretty valuable.
Anyways, the reference to a "lack of a career" was just a shot. Go ahead and have some fun! Someday you will learn. But thanx for clariying things.
 

Freeeedom!

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Bandit...try calming down a tad...take a breath dude...touchy!
When I said "lack of career" I meant someone WITHOUT a job (unemployed). Get it. Don't be so defensive!
You may get divorced or you may not see your family whether you are employed in a career or not. My Father has been divorced 3 times, he is not a doctor nor is he a lawyer.
A Physician Assistant is very valuable and I would prefer a Physician Assistant over a Nurse Practitioner ANY DAY OF THE WEEK! Though, with liability and litigation as it is, a PA working the ICU would be rough. I could see some family going "litigation nuts" if "grandpa" didn't get a Dr. in the ICU.
Take care all, and take a breath.
 

Bandit

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Liability and litigation. Words that make all of our a**holes pucker! You are right about a PA in the ICU being touchy. There are those that (and rightfully so) believe some PA`s have no buisness in certain areas of medicine. The problem is there really are two types of PA`s. I know this is sacred turf here fellow PA`s, but it is the truth. One type that is qualified to handle much of what medicine has to offer, and those that will be taking histories and giving rectal exams their whole career. WHICH brings us back to the earlier post that adcoms are not doing the profession justice by letting in applicants that are not "right." (hmmm, I expect that wont sit well here.) If I remember, is not edpa (is that his name?) on an adcom? If you read this, could you give us some insight? I liked what he posted on an earlier thread on this very subject. Something about "..a BS in Bio and 4 years as a cna does not cut it for PA school..." I could be mis quoting here. You understand. When I was in school there were people in the class that I would not feel comfortable seeing with my problems, but on the other hand -- there are some I would trust my life to. THIS is what is wrong with the profession.
 

rmpa

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Freeeedom. You are right about family and career. I didn't mean just because I chose PA I would have more time for them. What I meant was I need to get out and make some friggin money (baby needs some clothes, momma needs a new pair of shoes) So 2 years seemed better than 7.
Peace.
 

Emedpa

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Bandit-I couldn't agree more. There are P.A.'s with great backgrounds who aced P.A. school and got 90%+ on the boards( like us), and those who squeaked through, barely passed their boards, and make the rest of us look bad. Unfortunately, one consequence of going to a graduate level curriculum is that you weed out a lot of good medics/rn's/etc. who don't have a bachelors degree in favor of 20 somethings with a degree and minimal or no experience. it is very frustrating sitting on an adcom and seeing a parade of crappy applicants for every great one. PA school is like any other program, they have to fill the seats, so you get a few in who shouldn't be there. hopefully they are weeded out, but every class has a few who squeak by and make most of the errors you later read about.--e
 
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rmpa

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emedpa. There is actually an interesting article in JAAPA regarding this very subject. Check it out on pg 60(January 2002). I am not sure I really agree with you on this. I have seen some really sharp students with no real significant experience. And I've also seen students with tons of experience (such as RNs, etc) that are border-line ******ed. I'm not sure how you correlate previous health care experience with being a successful PA. I'm not sure you can. To be completely honest with you I did not have significant medical experience and am at the top of my class (If I may say so myself). Of course you are entitled to your opinion and I take no offense to your comment.
 

Emedpa

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I am not saying that everyone with experience is a glorious PA and that everyone else is doomed to failure. my personal experience was that the top 10% of my class all had significant experience and did well as postgrads.I graduated from the largest civilian PA program so there was a large sample size(80). I know a few folks with minimal experience who did very well, but I think they are the exception, not the rule.I read the article in question and tend to disagree with its findings. I think the aapa tends to focus more on primary care oriented grads. if a study were done looking at folks in difficult specialties who do well I think we would see a trend towards those with prior experience. just my take though. peace and best of luck-e
 

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I find myself a bit offended by the "play doc " attitude some folks have of PA's that work in independent settings. I have no doc in my office. I do a family medicine rural health clinic for a local hospital. Oh, there is a doc who comes in and overlooks charts, but I see everyone, 5 days a week 30-40 a day. If a person comes into this profession to compete with a doc then he or she is foolish and wasting energy. All most of us want to do is a job, and do it well. If we are relegated to an independent practice then so be it. If we are to be in an office working with a doc then so be that. You will no last in this profession if you are trying to compare yourself to any other group. Just forget all that crap and go to work, do what you do best and get out of there and take care of your family. anything beyond that is wasted personal time. When you are 30 it's easy to try to measure up to everyone else or "be equal" to the docs...when you get to be 50 you will find out that life's too short to mess with it. No matter where you work, you will be exposed to physicians and a measure of how well you do your job is how much they think of you as a peer (and MANY will if you do your job as a professional and not as a competitor)

Leave the "me-vs-the-doc" business outside the door the very first day you get into PA school and never go back for it. It's not important and means nothing. I personally look forward to the day when our profession has the autonomy the Nurse Practitioners have. it will come,,,,mark my words. There are too many sick people out ther to be taken care of for there not to be some expansion in our profession.
I welcome dissent here and expect it.
 

Freeeedom!

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Mr. Bob, your words are disturbing. We live in a very litigious society, you should consider yourself lucky. But not special.
RN's used to do the exact things in rural areas...now they are called NP's. This is nothing new, but people now sue at alarming rates for what they believe is "sub standard care". And, the PA and NP realm is very new, lawsuits are still in the works.
I was told by a senior law student "a Physicians Assistant is gold mine of litigation"...consider yourself, and the doc you work with very very lucky.
What will happen, few people know. But I do not think what you project is the actual trend, but rather a short term solution...because it very well may bite some hospitals in the ass.
 

Bandit

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Freedom, while I certainly agree that litigation (if you can believe it) is still on the rise and that mid-level providers are often the targets -- I would contend that they are the initial targets. When you grad. and start practicing medicine, you will see that nearly everyone gets sued and sometimes multiple times. Mostly these are unsuccessful, but sued all the same. PA`s , while called sometimes as expert wittness`, first -- are not the ones with the "deep" pockets and often the suit heads to the supervising physician (who would not allow the level of autonomy in the firdst place if he/she were not confy with it. Second -- often the PA is absolved of responsibility (right or wrong -- I think it is wrong) due to the "assistant" in his/her title. Jurys simply do not understand the level of education and lawyers dont whant to take the time to educate them. The PA profession is not at all new. It has been around for nearly 30 years and(so far) has survived the sue happy decades we just came thru. This is certainly not to say that it is over or out of the woods!
I can state as fact, that the aapa has absolutely, positively no interest in expanding the role of the PA and fully endorses and encourages the PA-physician team approach. I cant speak for some fringe groups out there, but I can say that the majority of PA`s and those in the aapa would be the first in line to fight those that would seek to change the role of the PA. The idea of equal reimbursment for service is another story for another thread!
As for your law school friend--can you only imagine what goes thru the mind of a potential new grad. litigator as he/she sleeps at night!!!??? HHHOOOOHHH, like some professions come out ready to change the world -- there are law students full of ideas that will get them rich quick! Hmmm, now that I am thinking about it, I fear for ALL those in medicine in the coming years.
 

Bandit

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I actually considered las school long ago. I would HAVE to be a prosecutor though, I could never look myself in the mirror in the morning as defense.
 

Freeeedom!

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Bandit, do you realize that law students use the SHARK as a mascot??!! That is right, they wear shirts that have SHARKS on them and say SUCH AND SUCH SCHOOL OF LAW.
My point is that at some point, what USED to make money, then becomes a liability...ie LPN's on the floor instead of RN's etc. At some point, it may come crashing down. That is part of the reason residency requirements/fellowships for licensure are VERY specific in certain fields (who should do the colonoscopy: GI, Surg, or IM? who will give it up based upon risk:benefit). It is likely to happen in your field as well. It happened to a lesser degree in my previous field of PT.
Just a thought .
Don't mean to beat a dead horse, but prosecutors are moving OUT of malpractice only and INTO "intentional tort"....and that negates the role of the Physician Assistant as ONLY an Assistant to the Physician but rather as a person with mid-level deep pockets and can be directly sued (especially if the patient feels "victimized" by not seeing a Doctor and ONLY an Assistant). This happened when a physician moved a "no insurance" stable patient from a private hospital to a county hospital. He felt "victimized" in a sense by moving to the county hospital.
When patients feel like they didn't get the "gold standard" (a FP physician) for primary care...they would have a tendency to wonder why ("is it my race, because I am poor, because I am not important enough??"). I would be wary to be in that position if I was a mid level practitioner!
 
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•••quote:•••Originally posted by G3:
•I would conceed that my the lack of prescence by my father might not be the norm for physicians as a whole. But I hope you're not trying say that on average, MD's/DO's have as much time to spare with their families as PA's. With the added responsibilities comes less free time. You'd be doing your patients and practice a diservice if you didn't put in the time.•••••This is not always true. It really depends on the physicians specialty and other things. I have friends that are psychiatrists and they don't take emergency calls after hours and during their work hours. These docs have 8 to 4pm work hour days. After those hours their time is their time. Patients go to the ER for emergencies.
 

MrBob

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My point isn't that I get to practice without a doc...I do not...my point is that many young (and old) PA's and NP's waste a lot of energy worrying about whether or not they are equal to the doc or accepted by the doc or whether the doc's out there like or accept them. There are many more PA's in rather independent settings than you will ever imagine and they were hired to DO A JOB....to see patients...and do it to the best of their ability. Many places are those in which a doc simply doesn't find economically, physically or socially, for that matter, attractive. Those are places filled by my peers and collegues. I was not heralding the fact that I work independantly for the most part...I was making comment about the waste of time spent worrying about the Doc-vs-Me business.

As for the litigation stuff....if you are worried about getting sued...then get another job. This one is real and the risks are real. You go out and do your job as safely, honestly and intellegantly as you can. People don't sue you 'cause you made a mistake...people sue you 'cause you pissed them off. Never forget that.
WE all run the risk of having some renegade attorney or malpractice lawyer chasing us down and if you worry about that and not how you do your job, make your decisions, and call the shots then you are losing a lot of sleep over something you have no control over. If you want a job where you do not run the risk of being sued, then find something else to do.
You simply must go to work everyday, make honest and courageous decisions based on the information you are given and hope that you have done this in a manner which the patient is confident in.
If you are, however, afraid to say "Gee, I don't know what's going on here, let's try this or get this person to see you,,,then you need another career.

Not all of us agree with the agenda or the policies of the AAPA. That doesn't mean we don't support them...but there is room for growth here. Reimbursment of PA's in independent settings is one and I again look forward to the day when we are afforded the same priveleges the NP's are in that arena. In my state an NP can own their own practice, but a PA cannot......to me there is inconsistancy there......
 

MrBob

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I want to make one more responce to Freeeedom...

I do not consider myself special. Every day I consider myself lucky (to have the wonderful job I have)
Am I afraid of litigation? No....but I am aware of it. I combat the litigation thing by first off, letting every patient in my practice know that I know my limitations. Next, by making decisions that are honest and trying to maintain an honest relationship with people I am trying to help. I learn from mistakes I make (and we ALL do) and try to never make them twice. All my patients know they are being seen by a midlevel practitioner, and they know that I am the only one here. They have a choice when they come in the door.

If one lets litigation stand in the way of them making what at the time are sound medical decisions, and punts to a doc every time a question arises ( and, my God, every day questions arise in decisions you make) then that PA becomes nothing more than a traffic cop referring everything that is complicated out of his or her office. Face it...If you manage a medical office for a hospital and you NEVER make decisions in your office but refer everything out, you will be considered ineffective and replaced.

Maybe I'm not making my point, but I hope if I'm not someone at least understands what I'm trying to say here. Quit being afraid of doing the job you're paid to do......

BTW Freeedom....what sort of job do you have? Are you a PA or a med student or an MD,,,just curious.
 
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