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Hi...some advice????

Discussion in 'Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]' started by AnnaB, Nov 29, 2001.

  1. AnnaB

    AnnaB Member

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    Hi Everyone,
    I've been reading the last few posts...and thought I'd ask for some opinions. I too have been debating the MD vs. PA thing for a long time. I am an adult student, have a masters in Psych..and have decided to pursue medicine. I worked at Batlimore Shock Trauam for a while as a counselor..which helped me decide medicine is for me. The appealing aspects of being a PA for me is the shorter amount of time and money it would take. I respect PAs in ever way...and truly believe they are a vital part of the health care team. I'd be practicing medicine....with script privs and be doing what I want. HOWEVER...I am afraid that I will question myself again later and wish I had gone to med school once getting out into the filed as a PA and feeling somewhat "limited." I'm not sure what to....I am half way through pre med classes (bio I, A&P, PhysicsI and Chem I and sometimes wonder if I could deal with med school. HELP!!!!!!! Any opinions???? suggestions????? I'd appreciate any!!!! thanks!! Anna
     
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  3. CVPA

    CVPA Senior Member

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    Anna:

    I tend to relate the most with people in your situation because I was once there. I too contemplated pursuing medical school vs PA school and chose PA school basically for family lifestyle reasons. Cost wasn't really an issue because your salary afterwards will more than pay for the cost of student loans. Time in school, certainly an issue and a consideration. Having said that, they are both moot points if after five years or so of practicing as a PA you look back and say, "This is great, however, it is not what I ultimately wanted to do and I feel somewhat limited." This is exactly what happened to me and now I am a 36-year old PA with a 2-year old and one on the way facing the potential of medical school. Why? Because I have no choice as far as I'm concerned. I never ever want to "settle", and thats what I feel I did, in retrospect. I don't want to be 65 and look back on my life and say "I shoulda...". Personally, I feel limited in my profession. It is an inherent quality of the profession which for many is not a problem, however, for me it is. If you have even a hint that it may be an issue for you, medical school is probably your best route, assuming it is a doable option.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the profession and have vehemently defended it on this forum many times, however, it takes a certain person to be a PA and be happy long term as one. You need to shadow a PA and get a first hand look to see what its like, then decide if you are that person or not.

    Good luck.
     
  4. AnnaB

    AnnaB Member

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    CVPA,
    Thanks so much for your input..and sharing your story---I really appreciate it. I know that deep down I'd like to go to medical school---but often times I doubt my abilities to make it through four years of grueling education and then residency. But you are right, I don't want to regret anything in the end...and I'm not sure I would be happy as a PA. Thanks for helping me with this. Anna
     
  5. Bandit

    Bandit Senior Member

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    Anna, I too am a PA who (at times) has considered med school and for the same reasons CVPA spoke of. I too am torn, but sometimes get a better point of view when you start to see that no one in medicine practices as an island. I am 36 and to go to med school/residency then pos. fellow would put me , well older than I want! I guess what I am trying to say is that I am certain yours, CVPA`s and my feelings of limitation are valid -- but medical doc`s feel it too. That, I suspect will not resolve. No doubt that if I had started earlier in life, it would have been med school, but the spirit of the PA profession is the same -- if not in limitations!
     
  6. lotchki6

    lotchki6 Member

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    It is actually really funny that you posted that last reply regarding docs feeling relatively limited at times as well. I was just speaking to a family friend, who is an older physician, and reiterated that very idea. I told him that there are some PAs out there that feel limited in their practicing potential/ability and he responded that the way health care has changed over the years, many Docs are crying about the same exact thing.
    I think it comes down to the mere fact that individuals, no matter what they, will always have in the back of their minds --- maybe the grass truly is greener. My advice (not that it is worth anything, hehe) -- Do what your heart tells you to do, not what others think would be "your best bet".

    Its a beautiful weekend, go out and enjoy :)

    Mike
     
  7. CVPA

    CVPA Senior Member

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    Bandit:

    I think your point is well taken.

    I would elaborate further and say that although there are limitations associated with practicing medicine as a physician, they are of a different nature than as a PA. Physicians' limitations tend to be more related to insurance constraints, which can make practicing and guiding your patient's care plan VERY frustrating. A PA's limitations, while often including the aforementioned, often carries with it clinical limitations which again, are inherent to being a PA. Rural medicine PAs, who tend to have the most autonomy, would probably be the exception to this statement.
     
  8. PimplePopperMD

    PimplePopperMD Senior Member

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    From the medical student perspective:

    I'm a third year, and it's most certainly a long road. However, as I continue along my clinical rotations, I'm realizing that four years is a very short period of time to learn medicine. In fact, very short. The residency is 3, at minimum, but as a resident, you are a practicing physician with the understanding that you are still learning, so you have backup for your decisions (at least for the first year, but throughout the residency theoretically).

    PA school is a great way to shorten the education, but it is of course a different profession. It is a needed one, sorely in places, but certainly there is a place for PAs. I personally believe that those who WANTED to be docs but go to PA school because it "pretty close" in terms of practicing privs, are going to be unhappy in the long run, because even though it's "CLOSE" it's not quite there, and they will be focused on the privs that they DON'T have rather than all that they CAN do.

    So it ultimately is a personal decision. Just realize that there are folks in med school who are as old as 53 or so (in my class, anyway), with children, with old careers, with wives, husbands, lives.

    Best of luck in your decision!
     

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