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From Premed to PA

Discussion in 'Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]' started by medical22, Nov 13, 2002.

  1. medical22

    medical22 Senior Member
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    Did you change your mind about not going to med school and instead PA program? What was the reason for your switch? Not getting accepted into med school?, etc. What are the advantages and disadvantages to this? At the interview, if you are asked why PA and not med school, what would you say? You have to make them think that PA is your first choice, right?
     
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  3. AritonM

    AritonM Junior Member

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    Like most PA students, I was considering med school first. Problem is I majored in computer science in college. Now I have to go back and take my PA requirements and then the 2 years of PA program. This is a better option to me then 3 years of pre med. And then 4 years of Med school and then 2 to 3 years of residency working 80 hours to make 32,000 dollars a year. By then I'd be in my 5th year of PA practice making a solid amount of money with alot more hair on my head.
     
  4. Aggiemaj

    Aggiemaj Member
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    I applied to med school last year and did not get in, so I knew I would retake the MCAT and reapply for the 2003 entering year. After I found out that I didn't get in, my husband said he thought it would be a good time to have a child because I would have time to really bond with the baby before med school started next year. As I've progressed in the pregnancy, I feel that my priorities are changing - I always knew that family would be a priority, but the realization of how med school vs. family would work has been a constant thought in my mind. So, after I sent in my med school application this year, I also submitted my PA school application.

    I know that I will be asked about why I decided to apply to PA school after two rounds of med school, but I intend to tell them just what I wrote above - while my priorities in my personal life have changed, my dedication and interest in the medical field have not. Now I'm eagerly awaiting the birth of my son ... my due date is in 4 weeks!!!
     
  5. medical22

    medical22 Senior Member
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    Congratulations! I think you made a good choice. As it is, it is difficult for a mother of an infant to go to school, but PA will be less stressful than med school. And you will need the extra 2 years to take care of the baby.

    How will the PA schools know that you applied to med school unless you tell them? Do you think it's necessary to tell them that you've applied to med school in the past two years?
     
  6. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    PA ADCOMS CAN SNIFF OUT AN MD WANNA- BE IN A HEARTBEAT. TRUST ME, I AM ONE OF THEM...
    IF YOU WANT TO BE AN MD, GO TO MEDICAL SCHOOL. IF YOU GO TO PA SCHOOL AND LATER DECIDE YOU WANT MD/DO(LIKE ME) IT TAKES MUCH LONGER TO GET BACK IN THE GAME. IT ALSO MAKES IT MUCH HARDER TO GET ANY KIND OF GRANT/LOAN/SCHOLARSHIP BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHY YOUR 100K INCOME IS NOT ENOUGH TO PAY FOR SCHOOL AND HAVE A LIFE AT THE SAME TIME. THEY(THE FINANCIAL AID FOLKS) DON'T UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPTS OF FAMILY/MORTGAGE/CAR LOANS, ETC. PA SCHOOL IS AN INTENSE EXPERIENCE AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED "MD LITE" FOR PURPOSES OF LIFESTYLE, ETC. AS A 1ST YEAR PA STUDENT I SPENT MANY MORE HOURS IN CLASS THAN MY 1ST YEAR MD FRIENDS, ALTHOUGH I WAS MAKING A LIVING YEARS EARLIER, SO THERE IS A TRADE OFF, BUT NONETHELESS, APPLY FOR THE PROGRAM YOU REALLY WANT FIRST. IF YOU WANT A BACKUP IN CASE YOU DON'T GET YOUR 1ST CHOICE OF SCHOOL, APPLY TO SOME LOWER TIER AND/OR STATE SCHOOLS THAT YOU KNOW YOU CAN GET INTO. IF YOUR APPLICATION IS BAD ENOUGH THAT THERE ARE NO SURE THINGS, RETAKE YOUR MCAT OR BOOST YOUR GPA.
     
  7. Aggiemaj

    Aggiemaj Member
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    I don't consider going to PA school instead of med school some kind of cop-out or "MD Lite" as emedpa so delicately put it. Everyone has certain priorities in their lives - some will put their career before family and be glad to spend hours upon hours on-call. I am not one of those people - my family will always come first.

    I consider myself lucky to have figured this out BEFORE starting medical school and paying all of that money. I believe that everyone has a path to follow, and mine just happens NOT to be the one on which I started out.

    If I was seriously devoted to becoming a doctor, then yes, I would retake the MCAT and apply again. Frankly, I have not even thought about doing it again, and that should tell you something right there. It wasn't meant to be, and now I have found something that will let me "have my cake and eat it, too," so to speak. I will be able to work in the field of healthcare and be an active part of my family as well. I can't ask for anything more! :)
     
  8. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    aggie-I wasn't directing that tirade at you-I know your motives are reasonable. that was for the benefit of other posters-e
     
  9. cminchew

    cminchew Junior Member
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    "PA ADCOMS CAN SNIFF OUT AN MD WANNA- BE IN A HEARTBEAT. TRUST ME, I AM ONE OF THEM..."


    Aren't all the applicants, to both PA school and med school sort of MD wanna-bes? It is generally the same profession, each with it's own benefits and drawbacks.

    I'm just trying to figure out what exactly you are supposed to say in the interview. It seems like you're saying that someone who wanted to be a doctor would not be looked on favorably in a PA interview. I realize that PA schools don't want to seem like second best to med schools when it comes to applicants, but what about someone like me? I applied to med school 6-7 years ago. Now I have a husband and 2 kids, so things change. I still want to be a part of the profession, and as it has been discussed many times before, PA school fits my lifestyle choices the best. So what would admissions think of me? Is it bad that I want to be a PA because it fills my needs and my families without having to go to med school? Do I need a better reason? There are all of the obvious reasons of course, as far as medicine is concerned, but the main reason for my choosing PA school over med school is the time, money and lifestyle for my family. What do you think?
     
  10. AritonM

    AritonM Junior Member

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    Can anyone honestly say when they were 7 and someone asked them "What do you want to be when you grow up" you said a Physician Assistant? Most people don't know about PA until they have made there mind up to be an MD. Then with research you find out there are other options.

    Tell them I wanted to be an MD because that's all I knew about at the time, but with research I stumbled upon the PA profession and became more interested in becoming a PA.

    I doubt this will hurt your chances to get into that particular PA program. That is just my opinion.
     
  11. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    The preparation for med school and pa school are very different. while med school looks for ochem, physics,mcat, etc pa programs are more interested in life experience, PRIOR MEDICAL TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE, and dedication to underserved populations. most pa's I know never considered med school; they were already health care professionals and wanted a better scope of practice and more responsibility. you may not believe this but the avg pa school applicant is over 30 and has already had a career of some sort in medicine. I don't have a problem with someone becoming a pa to have more family time, what I do have a problem with is 22 yr old bio majors with no medical or life experience thinking they have a shot at getting in and trying to convince everyone on sdn that they are the norm.
     
  12. cminchew

    cminchew Junior Member
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    I agree with you to some extent. I don't think the 22 yr olds, just out of school are the norm, but they are applicants who are competing to get in. They can't be completely discounted from the equation, because they are also getting into PA school.

    I'm still trying to figure out what distinguishes someone as a good PA candidate, as opposed to med school candidate. Sometimes the experience is similar, so other than that previous work experience, what would a committee want to hear regarding their choice of PA school? I still wonder is there a negative connotation with wanting to be a doctor (MD)? I don't fit the mold you described above. I am older and have had a career in research, but I'm not a medical professional looking to improve my skills. I am choosing PA school for valid reasons, but I just don't know how valid they will seem to an ADCOM......???
     
  13. TexasRose

    TexasRose Gotta run
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    Candace, don't discount your reasons. I think they are very valid ones.

    My desire to be a PA has to do with my desire to practice medicine, first and foremost. (Being a SAHM is more compatible with children and household than working, so obviously it's not about going the "easy" route!)

    Emedpa is right about the average age of PA students and the fact that it is not a profession intended for MD wannabes (as in , they couldn't get in med school so they applied for their second choice.) Yes, there are more traditional students applying for PA programs. I trust the admissions boards to make the right choices about who will make a good PA. I'm sure there is no cookie-cutter answer to that.

    If you want to be a PA and you can demonstrate committment to the profession, I wouldn't worry about how your reasons compare to any one else's.

    My 2 cents; I wouldn't bring up the PA/MD discussion in an interview, but be prepared to answer "why not MD?" if asked. Also, I believe that PA's as a profession are more geared towards serving populations that have poorer access to medical care. You need to have an interest in these people because they are the ones you will be serving!

    Theresa
     
  14. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    CMINCHEW-YOU PROBABLY DO HAVE A SHOT BUT YOU WOULD HAVE A MUCH STRONGER APPLICATION WITH EVEN AS LITTLE AS 6 MONTHS OF DIRECT PATIENT CARE EXPERIENCE SUCH AS VOLUNTEERING IN AN ER OR HOMELESS CLINIC, ETC. TYPICALLY WHEN WE INTERVIEW PEOPLE WITHOUT MUCH EXPERIENCE THEY CAN'T ADEQUATELY ANSWER QUESTIONS REGARDING " HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANT TO WORK WITH PATIENTS AND THAT YOU HAVE SOME ABILITY TO INTERACT WELL WITH PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS", ETC. THE PROGRAM I WORK FOR GIVES "POINTS" FOR GPA, COMMUNITY SERVICE, WRITING ABILITY(ESSAYS), KNOWLEDGE OF THE ROLES OF PA'S IN HEALTHCARE , AND DIRECT PT CARE EXPERIENCE, BUT NO POINTS FOR RESEARCH.
     
  15. cminchew

    cminchew Junior Member
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    I've already taken your advice previously, and I'm enrolled in an EMT-Basic course. It will probably take a few years to get in, so I'll at least be gaining some kind of exposure to patients on a regular basis while applying. Thanks for the help and advice.
     
  16. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    candace-your emt eduaction will serve you well. what area of the country are you interested in attending pa school in?
     
  17. DocWagner

    DocWagner Senior Member
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    I read this post along time ago and it seems to have changed a bit...but I wanted to state a few things.

    First of all, never let the thought of children during medical school discourage you from trying. Nearly a third of my class of 220 had children a few gave birth during their second or third years...and the top person in my class was a mom.
    And lastly, you must ask yourself, "do I want to be a physician assistant or a physician". There are huge differences between the professions and dissatisfaction with one's career choice may lead to wasted time and effort.
    Best of luck in your decision!
     
  18. cminchew

    cminchew Junior Member
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    empeda - I'm in Houston and I'm looking at the schools in Texas primarily.

    DocWagner- I'm sure there are plenty of parents in med school and I know they are doing the best they can. I can't make this decision without considering my children first. I know it sounds like a "mom" thing, but its true. Although its possible to go to med school with children, it doesn't sound like a good situation to me. I have many friends who are doing it and have done it, and I see what their families went through. The personal sacrifice is monumental enough, but including children in that, for a 6-10 yr committment, seems like a bit more than I can personally swallow. Thanks for the encouragement for everyone else who want to give it a go.
     
  19. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    CANDACE-I have heard good things about UTMB, galveston. good luck whatever you choose-e
     
  20. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg 1K Member
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    You should have typed that in green, because I smell jealousy.

    A 22 yr old with no life experience? Ya, maybe if they live in a box. Those ppl wouldnt stand a chance anywhere. Age has nothing to do with life experience. I'm a teenager, and I've experienced more things than most of you ever will. Don't look down on people that are young who want to dedicate their lives to medicine. Perhaps you're taking out your frustrations on others due to your lack of vision at a young age?
     
  21. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    there are a lot of 22 yr olds who have no medical or volunteer experience and have led lives mostly devoted to school only. not well rounded in other words.poor candidates for pa school. no jealousy here . at 22 i had a bs from the university of ca, was a paramedic, and had traveled extensively.
     
  22. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg 1K Member
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    Fair enough. I just wanted to make sure that you weren't putting people down from a high horse..I don't like it when people do that.


    Cheers!
     

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