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From premed to PA

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by medical22, Nov 13, 2002.

  1. medical22

    medical22 Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Jul 15, 2001
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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?
  2. PAstudent

    PAstudent New Member

    Nov 3, 2002
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    I'm a physician assistant student who originally wavered between medical school and PA school. (I wish I had done a pre-med major, because I changed my mind back to wanting med school and now it'll take me an extra two years!) All I can tell you is this: if you go to PA school, go because you know you want to be a PA. There are differences between the two professions, and people who become PAs usually do so for specific reasons (i.e., providing low-cost healthcare, serving the underserved, more patient contact, etc). Don't go just because you didn't get into med school, if that ends up being the case. PA program admissions faculty want to serve the PA profession itself, so they aim to admit students who will do the same. PA training is demanding in its own right and should not be considered an easy way out of med school... even though it is shorter.
    If you apply to PA programs, tell them what it is about the PA profession that appeals to you. For me, it was (is) the opportunity to improve the lives of others without taking half of my life to begin doing so. It's also because I can provide healthcare without seeming like I'm in it for the prestige or the high income associated with being a physician.
    Yet, I should also tell you the flipside of this. I now want to go to med school because I feel like I won't be satisfied as a PA. I feel like I'm taking the "easy" (meaning 'short') way out, despite what I mentioned above. I also know that as a PA, I'll always be in a dependent role. So the decision really comes down to what you want out of your healthcare career. If you want independence, high respect, and the feeling that you are achieving all you can, become a physician. If you don't mind being in a dependent role and occasionally defending your career choice, but still providing healthcare in a similar manner and possibly having more patient contact (and more time for family/ social life), become a PA. Base the decision on your priorities in life.
    I realize that some of what I've written is pretty subjective, but I hope that it helps to clarify your decision.
  3. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Membership Revoked
    Removed 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2000
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    Resident [Any Field]
    Just make sure that if you apply to PA programs it is because you want to be a PA...and that you can convice admissions people that this is true.

    I know several people who were rejected from PA schools, although they were great candidates, because they did not show a "passion for the field."

    Good luck.

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