torshi

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EDIT: Please read my responses to posts before commenting/bashing about things in which I have to repeat myself several times. **This is not a "versus" thread - no intentions.**

PA = "Physician Assistant"
Graduated College at 19. cGPA: 3.7+ / sGPA: 3.6+
For anyone who is interested or don't know what the profession is... Also, for some who may even be contemplating their decision pursuing medicine


Edit: Chose to post here for contemplating/curious premeds not aware of alternatives, hence not aware of other threads available.
"You only search for what you know"
 
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Lawper

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I think the PA Forums or hSDN will be your best bet. Preallo AMAs are focused primarily on perspectives from medical students/residents/attendings/adcoms from US MD schools.

But it's a good thread for anyone interested in healthcare careers more so than just medical school.
 

Noomm

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Graduated College at 19. cGPA: 3.7+ / sGPA: 3.6+
Now THAT is really impressive. How old were you when you started college? And what kind of schooling did you get growing up? I'm assuming you were homeschooled?
 
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torshi

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I left the public education system after my sophomore year (So, I started college at 16). I was not the brightest bulb, occasional failing grades, a jock who wrestled/played football etc. But, I knew what I was capable of.

I enrolled at my local CC FULL-TIME for their dual-credit program (I switched my transcripts from public to homeschool in order to enroll into that program), however, i was never homeschooled technically speaking. I finished my associates in one year, transferred to my local UNI for 2 years for my Neuro degree.
 
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torshi

torshi

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I think the PA Forums or hSDN will be your best bet. Preallo AMAs are focused primarily on perspectives from medical students/residents/attendings/adcoms from US MD schools.

But it's a good thread for anyone interested in healthcare careers more so than just medical school.
Very true, however, I felt though as if their may be many preallo's that frequent this specific thread and may not even know what alternatives there may be (therefore not knowing the alternative threads) - similar to what I experienced when I was 100% gung-ho about attending med school.
 

The Buff OP

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PA = "Physician Assistant"
Graduated College at 19. cGPA: 3.7+ / sGPA: 3.6+
For anyone who is interested or don't know what the profession is... Also, for some who may even be contemplating their decision pursuing medicine
Currently in the army or veteran? MOS?
 
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torshi

torshi

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What was your logic behind your decision to chose PA over MD?
1.) Still get to practice medicine at the end of the day (all specialties) - if one is not content about not being a lead surgeon etc then PA is not the right choice for someone. I'm admittedly a type A person, but honestly, this choice is the deal-breaker for many. If you can tell yourself that you don't mind NOT being the lead on everything, then becoming a PA is an option for you. (We do practice medicine/prescribe Rx etc - we are taught under the MD model btw) -we work ALONGSIDE Docs / we see our own Pts independently & collab w/ our Docs etc. Formality of the law requires certain things from Docs, ie: signatures on cases etc - all varies w/ each state & many are changing the law to get rid of other small formalities.
2.) Capable of switching between all specialties (not as easy d/t differences in specialties of course, but doable) ie: Surgery to EM to Critical Care etc
3.) Length of education - avg 27 months or more (residency is optional / 12-18 mos avg - good for more pay & more autonomy upon graduation)
4.) More flexibility
5.) Less debt & good Pay ($80-100K+ starting) - many make $200K+ (surgery/EM/Derm etc) -depends how much you enjoy & willing to work
6.) I wanted to enjoy my 20's. Also, I thought if I ever wanted to go back to school / pursue long-term hobbies (skydiving etc) / or even possibly considering a transition to another related career - I wouldn't have anything holding me back or any burden/guilt.

Again, all these were personal choices that I thought about.
 
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Did you take your Mcat?

As if a newly graduate has a life, working at some job with a ceiling and a boss is a good way to spend "your 20s" I have friends who graduated in 2015 , two of them who can't find jobs. One is working at Best Buy.

You are two years younger if I was in your shoes I woulda never thought of Pa school you could have been done med school by 24. I have a friend who completed his PA and is now in med school.


Also From what I have seen during my internship PAs are treated like residents. 4 and 5 year residents surpass PAs in terms of skill and knowledge. Talking about surgeries and the like. Since PAs don't have to worry about operating a surgical knife ever.


I don't mean to be critical. I think PA is the best masters degree out there. If I didn't care about reputation prestige and truly beating a leader and being responsible for someone's health I would go into PA.
I want to be able to say "hey I dianoaised and treated this patient "


I want to introduce myself as doctor superslim and not worry about how I'm going to introduce myself if I was a PA. I want to be able to answer patients questions in depth. I dont want to get consent from doctors when I'm 100% sure I'm doing the right thing.



but what do I know, I'm just a pre-med clinging to two med school interviews
 
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torshi

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Did you take your Mcat?
No, I did not take it, I made a decision before doing so. (There is an individual in my class that however did take it, scored average, opted for PA school.) There are many smart & young people opting for the PA profession - class average age is roughly 24. I'm not here to say which is better or which program certain people should attend based on age etc. It really is a personal/multi-factorial choice in which both careers are self-fulfilling in their own way.

As if a newly graduate has a life, working at some job with a ceiling and a boss is a good way to spend "your 20s" I have friends who graduated in 2015 , two of them who can't find jobs. One is working at Best Buy.

Don't worry I use to think like you. What you say is true, but I clearly mean't enjoying my 20's while working as a PA-C. Not some retail paycheck job. PA's can make as much as some PC/ER docs - again depending on many factors (location, hrs, setting, etc)

You are two years younger if I was in your shoes I woulda never thought of Pa school you could have been done med school by 24. I have a friend who completed his PA and is now in med school.

Again, in regards to age and what not - I don't think being necessarily young should gravitate someone solely to med school (which I initially was). It can be seen as the opposite. There are many reasons to choose either/or. I will be completely honest - this is me personally - I chose med school initially blinded by ego & materialism (are those bad things? absolutely not - everyone loves these things), but it closed my mind to other alternatives in which I can still be happy with myself (all I saw myself doing was medicine) - and I chose PA for some of the reasons I gave in a previous post.

Also From what I have seen during my internship PAs are treated like residents. 4 and 5 year residents surpass PAs in terms of skill and knowledge. Talking about surgeries and the like. Since PAs don't have to worry about operating a surgical knife ever.

Again, PA's upon graduation of course are trained on the job. That's initially how it has always been. Also, there are residencies out there for PAs, to be honest, they are short in comparison (12-18 months), but are treated equally amongst the other MD/DO residents. Upon graduation of that, they tend to get more autonomy right away. As for MD/DO residents, during their prime years (in the beginning of their training), of course they surpass all healthcare providers in regards to knowledge, however down the road, from a pure clinical perspective, the specifics & intricacies of disease processes fade away. It's impossible to retain. I don't doubt they will ever lose their grasp, but the fact is, at some point in their careers, the field is closely leveled in regards to specifically providing QUALITY medicine which is key. I'd assume you'd have to agree & you don't need to be an expert to do so.

PA's in surgery (CT to be specific) can perform EVH for CABG procedures. Does that qualify as surgery? Obviously not compared to the years of training it requires to perform one, but it is an advancement in terms of responsibility of PA's in surgical fields. But, again, I specified if someone is okay with not being a lead surgeon, then PA can be an option for them, considering they focus on surgery assist and perioperative surgical care.


I don't mean to be critical. I think PA is the best masters degree out there. If I didn't care about reputation prestige and truly beating a leader and being responsible for someone's health I would go into PA.
I want to be able to say "hey I dianoaised and treated this patient "

Thank you
Also, like I said, PA's are taught under the medical model, the same way MD/DOs are taught. Albeit, not in specific depth (in regards to biochem etc), physicians have more depth of knowledge in regards to disease processes. However, PAs can & do diagnose, treat, & prescribe medications for diseases/illnesses independently - free of MD/DO input. We do know disease processes and we're fully capable of treating them. Do PA's ask for help, of course they do - do MD/DOs? Of course they do.


It's good to mention that, PA's are heavily used in rural areas/communities - local ER's/clinics etc in which they may be the ONLY provider available managing complex Pts w/ multiple comorbidities.
The name of our profession does not do us justice, physicians do not need to be over our shoulder. They can be in a different clinic/office/etc. As long as we stay in contact (ie: phone) - I mean PA's truly practice collaborative medicine, as do all providers of course.


I want to introduce myself as doctor superslim and not worry about how I'm going to introduce myself if I was a PA. I want to be able to answer patients questions in depth. I dont want to get consent from doctors when I'm 100% sure I'm doing the right thing.

Could it get tiring to explain what a PA is? Yea, sure, it's all about how you approach it - personally, I'm okay with that - it's something to not be offended by. But, the reality is, in most settings - ER, critical care, etc Pts don't even differentiate between the letters after your name.

It seems there's this MISCONCEPTION that PAs can't explain to Pts about their disease processes in depth. The fact is, we can, and probably do it even better minus the technical medical jargon, because true medicine & interactions w/ Pt's do not require that. (side note: Many PA programs didactic portion are in the same classroom w/ the MD/DO students btw). Again, as i mentioned above, PA programs are 12 months of didactic (2 years of crammed med school info into 1 yr minus the technical biochem etc). MDs & PAs sit on the PA education board, overseeing the the format & material taught to us. They all get together and approve of what needs to be learned to become a competent healthcare provider.

Again, every state differs (not every state requires oversight). Laws are changing to rid of those small formalities as i mentioned above, and in our favor, switching to a more collaborative approach. As a profession we're not asking for complete independence like NPs & we're not in support of PA PhD programs like NPs already have just to be called doc.



but wjat do I know, I'm just a pre-med clinging to two med school interviews
 
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RogueUnicorn

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We do practice medicine/prescribe Rx etc - we are taught under the MD model btw) -we work ALONGSIDE Docs / we see our own Pts independently & collab w/ our Docs etc. Formality of the law requires certain things from Docs, ie: signatures on cases etc - all varies w/ each state & many are changing the law to get rid of other small formalities.
That's like saying I work alongside my attendings.
 

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What is your malpractice insurance like? Have you ever been sued? If so, did they also sue the Dr. that supervised you ? Are you concerned that if they give PAs more autonomy your malpractice insurance will increase?
 

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Could it get tiring to explain what a PA is? Yea, sure, it's all about how you approach it - personally, I'm okay with that - it's something to not be offended by. But, the reality is, in most settings - ER, critical care, etc Pts don't even differentiate between the letters after your name.

It seems there's this MISCONCEPTION that PAs can't explain to Pts about their disease processes in depth. The fact is, we can, and probably do it even better minus the technical medical jargon, because true medicine & interactions w/ Pt's do not require that. (side note: Many PA programs didactic portion are in the same classroom w/ the MD/DO students btw). Again, as i mentioned above, PA programs are 12 months of didactic (2 years of crammed med school info into 1 yr minus the technical biochem etc). MDs & PAs sit on the PA education board, overseeing the the format & material taught to us. They all get together and approve of what needs to be learned to become a competent healthcare provider.

Again, every state differs (not every state requires oversight). Laws are changing to rid of those small formalities as i mentioned above, and in our favor, switching to a more collaborative approach. As a profession we're not asking for complete independence like NPs & we're not in support of PA PhD programs like NPs already have just to be called doc.
You don't see it as a problem that patients can't differentiate between the letters after your name? Those letters are not just letters. They are an indication for the amount of education and training a person has. You seem to think that PAs are just as good as docs. They are not. Your classes are not 2 years of medical school crammed into 1 year. They are 1 year of PA school with a lot of medical education missing. Also, being presented the same material by the same people does not mean that you are learning the same amount or retaining it.

Those formalities, as you call them, are there for a reason. You don't know what you don't know because you haven't been exposed to it. You haven't seen it over and over again like we do during our training. You need oversight because you can miss things due to the holes in your education. You learn plenty of things on the job but that does not replace a formal, structured education system.

DNP programs are not Ph.D. programs. They have their own nursing Ph.D.s. Those programs are doctorate of nursing programs but they are basically a glorified bachelor's program. They aren't even at a master's level. They even call it a "clinical doctorate" and claim that they don't want to claim the title when it's obvious that everyone and their mothers wants to look like a doctor and be called doctor without putting in the hard work and sacrifice. But there are no shortcuts. Patients don't respect us because of the clothes we wear or because of the stethoscopes we carry. They respect us because they have heard about how much we work to try to make a difference in their lives. This is going away as there is a concerted effort by the media and by various government agencies, companies etc. to diminish the role of the doctor but people tend to know who is looking out for them.

I'm all for PAs. I do not like nurse practitioners because so many of them know very little and don't even understand this fact. But you need to know your position and understand your role. Your education is not equivalent and your role is not the same. This whole we can do everything you can do and probably even better than you nonsense needs to stop.
 
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IAhawkeye

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Did you take your Mcat?

As if a newly graduate has a life, working at some job with a ceiling and a boss is a good way to spend "your 20s" I have friends who graduated in 2015 , two of them who can't find jobs. One is working at Best Buy.

You are two years younger if I was in your shoes I woulda never thought of Pa school you could have been done med school by 24. I have a friend who completed his PA and is now in med school.


Also From what I have seen during my internship PAs are treated like residents. 4 and 5 year residents surpass PAs in terms of skill and knowledge. Talking about surgeries and the like. Since PAs don't have to worry about operating a surgical knife ever.


I don't mean to be critical. I think PA is the best masters degree out there. If I didn't care about reputation prestige and truly beating a leader and being responsible for someone's health I would go into PA.
I want to be able to say "hey I dianoaised and treated this patient "


I want to introduce myself as doctor superslim and not worry about how I'm going to introduce myself if I was a PA. I want to be able to answer patients questions in depth. I dont want to get consent from doctors when I'm 100% sure I'm doing the right thing.



but what do I know, I'm just a pre-med clinging to two med school interviews
To shed some light on what a PA does: PAs DO "diagnose and treat patients" and are responsible for someones health at all times. You're right about PAs being limited in surgery, rightfully so because they do not have the same training as surgeons, however, they can open/close/retract/harvest vessels etc. Walk into a primary care clinic and receive care and I bet you wouldn't notice a difference between PAs and docs. Contrary to popular belief, there is not a doc hovering over the shoulder of a PA while he/she examines a patient.
 

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You won't notice the difference between a midlevel and a physician most of the time. Unfortunately its the times that you would that matter. Choosing PA school at 19 is a terrible decision. You are extremely unlikely to be satisfied with that decision for a 40 year career.

PAs "do surgery"is a myth. PAs are trained in the monkey skills but they aren't the ones making meaningful decisions in the OR.

Being a midlevel is a good job for many people. It's not a shortcut to being a physician.
 

IAhawkeye

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You won't notice the difference between a midlevel and a physician most of the time. Unfortunately its the times that you would that matter. Choosing PA school at 19 is a terrible decision. You are extremely unlikely to be satisfied with that decision for a 40 year career.

PAs "do surgery"is a myth. PAs are trained in the monkey skills but they aren't the ones making meaningful decisions in the OR.

Being a midlevel is a good job for many people. It's not a shortcut to being a physician.
Midlevels aren't trying to be physicians, they went to PA school or NP school to BE a NP or PA. Why don't you think he/she will be satisfied? There is more to life than work, I would venture to say a lot of people who decided to pursue the PA profession wanted a flexible lifestyle. I know many PAs who work 36-40 hour weeks with NO on-call duty and make $100,000. On the other hand, most docs work more than that and have required on-call hours. Plus, isn't there an abundance of research stating many physicians are indeed NOT satisfied with their career or that would choose medicine again? Just my $0.02
 
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Mad Jack

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Honestly I think you've made the right decision. You'll have a hell of a time in your 20s and you'll be able to put enough money away that if you decide to later go to med school, it won't be a huge burden. The PA vs physician question was a very difficult one for me to make, but two things won me over to going the physician route in the end- as a PA, a boss would always be setting the scope of my practice in a given field, and as aPA, there would always be gaps in my knowledge. Also, PAs have a much lower earnings ceiling and it is very hard to crack 200k, while a physician with decent business skills that knows how to employ others effectively can make much, much more than that.
 

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Midlevels aren't trying to be physicians, they went to PA school or NP school to BE a NP or PA. Why don't you think he/she will be satisfied? There is more to life than work, I would venture to say a lot of people who decided to pursue the PA profession wanted a flexible lifestyle. I know many PAs who work 36-40 hour weeks with NO on-call duty and make $100,000. On the other hand, most docs work more than that and have required on-call hours. Plus, isn't there an abundance of research stating many physicians are indeed NOT satisfied with their career or that would choose medicine again? Just my $0.02
Yup, doctors aren't the happiest lot. But at least they practice at the peak of our profession. Choosing to be second best for 40 years will eventually bother you and you'll either leave medicine or go back to medical school later (and I feel for those nontrads cause I couldn't do it now).
 
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What is your malpractice insurance like? Have you ever been sued? If so, did they also sue the Dr. that supervised you ? Are you concerned that if they give PAs more autonomy your malpractice insurance will increase?
In mos cases, PA's are usually covered under the MD/DO's malpractice. Considering the formality of not being truly "independent" which is perfectly fine. Mistakes we make fall on the physician as well. So, it is in the physicians best interest to hire competent providers. It can go up/down of course. Usually, the malpractice is covered.
 
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torshi

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You don't see it as a problem that patients can't differentiate between the letters after your name? Those letters are not just letters. They are an indication for the amount of education and training a person has. You seem to think that PAs are just as good as docs. They are not. Your classes are not 2 years of medical school crammed into 1 year. They are 1 year of PA school with a lot of medical education missing. Also, being presented the same material by the same people does not mean that you are learning the same amount or retaining it.

Do I see it as a problem that a Pt can't tell the difference? The real question does it matter that the Pt doesn't care? Because in most cases they don't. Especially if they're extremely sick, they just care that they're taken care of. PA's never introduce themselves as solely a physician, obviously that would be against the law. If they ask further questions, we can of course, elaborate, but most do not and assume. Can i change that for them? No, we're not in a position to force Pts to make them know who we are, we treat problems. Of course, the letters matter after our name (to us at least and other healthcare professions to acknowledge their position in the hierarchy), but to Pts not always. That's what I was saying.

In regards to the education. That is true, again, as I mentioned, we don't need to know specific classes, and there are portions of medical school curriculum that go more in depth of disease processes. Do we need to know that? No. Does not knowing it make us any inferior? Absolutely not. If one believes so, they're kidding themselves. Do physicians know more? Yes.. We can go on & on. Our national exam covers material to make us a competent provider & ultimately makes sure we don't kill anyone, when we pass that & once we go into the real world - this is where the steep learning curve is.

I knew someone would bring up the idea that I'm somehow making it out to be that PAs are just as good as docs. I never explicitly or alluded to that fact. We all know physician's get more training and understand more - and PA's acknowledge that fact, hence we chose our field and work under their license. I however did mention to one poster that at some point later down the road, there is some equal playing ground in terms of providing QUALITY medical care, considering that's what it's about at the end of the day. I'm not here to make this thread a controversy or make it about PA vs. MD/DO, other posters are. We can all agree as well there are competent & incompetent providers in both professions.

I don't like the fact that bashing 1 year of medical curriculum is inherently missing NECESSARY medical information. Biochem & histology etc are not classes needed for basic medical care. These extra courses are relevant for aspiring MD/DOs who may even go down a research path, but in the everyday world, it is useless. Again, MD's sit on the PA education board & created our profession. They dictate what is needed to become a competent healthcare provider.


Those formalities, as you call them, are there for a reason. You don't know what you don't know because you haven't been exposed to it. You haven't seen it over and over again like we do during our training. You need oversight because you can miss things due to the holes in your education. You learn plenty of things on the job but that does not replace a formal, structured education system.

We are not asking for complete independence as i mentioned several times. However, I want to make sure others know that we do work independently from a clinical perspective when working up a Pt. And, in more rural communities PA's shine alone, it becomes more of a hassle in urban settings.
Our education is structured, just not as long. We do get rotations as well, but obviously not as long for 2 years. However, we do go out in the workforce earlier. Our first few years working are like a residency sort of speaking.


DNP programs are not Ph.D. programs. They have their own nursing Ph.D.s. Those programs are doctorate of nursing programs but they are basically a glorified bachelor's program. They aren't even at a master's level. They even call it a "clinical doctorate" and claim that they don't want to claim the title when it's obvious that everyone and their mothers wants to look like a doctor and be called doctor without putting in the hard work and sacrifice. But there are no shortcuts. Patients don't respect us because of the clothes we wear or because of the stethoscopes we carry. They respect us because they have heard about how much we work to try to make a difference in their lives. This is going away as there is a concerted effort by the media and by various government agencies, companies etc. to diminish the role of the doctor but people tend to know who is looking out for them.

Yes, you're correct, it is DNP. When I brought it up, I echoed the same concerns you are. So, I'm not sure why you're mentioning it. I wasn't supporting the idea, in fact, PAs in our profession do not want them popping up within our profession because we respect the amount of time & effort it takes to get those letters after your name. My thread is specifically about contemplating individuals who may be gung-ho about medical school, but might be fine pursuing the PA field considering we still practice medicine.

I'm all for PAs. I do not like nurse practitioners because so many of them know very little and don't even understand this fact. But you need to know your position and understand your role. Your education is not equivalent and your role is not the same. This whole we can do everything you can do and probably even better than you nonsense needs to stop.


PA's do not have a good relationship with NPs as well. Also, like I alluded too earlier, NPs are not taught under the medical model. The requirements for their masters/DNP programs are atrocious to say the least. But, there are good NPs out there to be fair.
 
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Mad Jack

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Yup, doctors aren't the happiest lot. But at least they practice at the peak of our profession. Choosing to be second best for 40 years will eventually bother you and you'll either leave medicine or go back to medical school later (and I feel for those nontrads cause I couldn't do it now).
Not necessarily true- I've known many career PAs that have been doing it for decades that just never wanted to be at the top. They wanted a job they can punch in and punch out of, with less fear of malpractice, responsibility, and the like. There are certain people that will wish they'd become doctors, but there are also those that are fine being Robin instead of Batman.
 
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torshi

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You won't notice the difference between a midlevel and a physician most of the time. Unfortunately its the times that you would that matter. Choosing PA school at 19 is a terrible decision. You are extremely unlikely to be satisfied with that decision for a 40 year career.

"Unfortunately its the times that you would that matter." - You know we can't act like MD/DO's are Gods, you don't want to know the stories about docs making mistakes that I've heard. People make mistakes in the healthcare field & that is fine, but just because they have a "PA-C" after their name, doesn't change anything, and don' try to egg on some false stereotype/bias. It goes both ways.

It's completely unnecessary to characterize a profession like you do, especially when many mid-levels will be working with you someday. We respect physicians, but many (to each their own) can be miserable & seem to think it was a terrible decision AS WELL. It can be subjective, but I'm here for others who may be contemplating not pursuing the MD/DO route. Becoming a physician is not the end all be all for practicing medicine (SURPRISINGLY MANY PREMEDS DO NOT KNOW THAT). There are many PAs that enjoy their career, many that do not. Same goes for any profession, so statements you make hold no truth in them.


PAs "do surgery"is a myth. PAs are trained in the monkey skills but they aren't the ones making meaningful decisions in the OR.

Not sure if people are reading what I'm posting or not. Most of what I say, I tend to repeat myself. I specifically said PAs DON'T do surgery and if one is fine by NOT performing surgery, then PA may be a choice for someone in that regard. However, I did mention in some instances that PA's perform EVH for CABG procedures - but I still did not allude to the fact that is was surgery, quite the opposite considering it would be a disservice to the many physicians that go through all their training to perform one.

Being a mid-level is a good job for many people. It's not a shortcut to being a physician.

Never said it was a shortcut & it's not intended to be one. It's a CAREER option to start practicing medicine earlier. And physicians aren't the only one that can practice it.
 
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medic86

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Yup, doctors aren't the happiest lot. But at least they practice at the peak of our profession. Choosing to be second best for 40 years will eventually bother you and you'll either leave medicine or go back to medical school later (and I feel for those nontrads cause I couldn't do it now).
... but I still feel like I'm 20. :(
 
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Honestly I think you've made the right decision. You'll have a hell of a time in your 20s and you'll be able to put enough money away that if you decide to later go to med school, it won't be a huge burden. The PA vs physician question was a very difficult one for me to make, but two things won me over to going the physician route in the end- as a PA, a boss would always be setting the scope of my practice in a given field, and as aPA, there would always be gaps in my knowledge. Also, PAs have a much lower earnings ceiling and it is very hard to crack 200k, while a physician with decent business skills that knows how to employ others effectively can make much, much more than that.
Definitely true & these are things people have to take into account. I had many reasons for my decision, one of them even being, if I potentially decided to go back to school & pursue a top MBA (something I've been considering - not definitive), I wouldn't feel as if there is any burden/guilt for exiting out due to less time dedicated overall in regards to training/debt etc & I would still be around the avg age of students matriculating. And the fact that I can always practice medicine in any specialty as long as I'm current w/ certs is always a beautiful opportunity
 
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MyNameWasUsed

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You won't notice the difference between a midlevel and a physician most of the time. Unfortunately its the times that you would that matter. Choosing PA school at 19 is a terrible decision. You are extremely unlikely to be satisfied with that decision for a 40 year career.

PAs "do surgery"is a myth. PAs are trained in the monkey skills but they aren't the ones making meaningful decisions in the OR.

Being a midlevel is a good job for many people. It's not a shortcut to being a physician.
It's not terrible at all. You seem to have a difficult time understanding that work is not life. God forbid some people think of their jobs as just a job at the end of the day. Maybe in 40 years OP decides that hes done with medicine and switches to accountant. The world can end tomorrow who knows.
 

moisne

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There are a lot of prideful MD-wanna-bes here (some, not all). Roughly half of these people won't get in.

To OP, I personally don't share your prespective (hence I'm not going to PA school) but I think it's a reasonable decision and a rational one. If you have really thought it out, then good for you - and I wish you the best.
 
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doc05

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the OP has made a great decision.

keep in mind that very few physicians are at the "top" of their profession. most are average. earning potential is higher as a doc, but given the opportunity cost of so many years of lost savings, and the fact that physicians generally make terrible investment decisions anyway, the difference isn't significant in the long run.

plus most docs are dissatisfied with their careers, and "autonomy" is a myth. the liability is ridiculous. and if you want to switch careers, the PA route will allow that because of lower indebtedness.
 

Dr. Death

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1.) Still get to practice medicine at the end of the day (all specialties) - if one is not content about not being a lead surgeon etc then PA is not the right choice for someone. I'm admittedly a type A person, but honestly, this choice is the deal-breaker for many. If you can tell yourself that you don't mind NOT being the lead on everything, then becoming a PA is an option for you. (We do practice medicine/prescribe Rx etc - we are taught under the MD model btw) -we work ALONGSIDE Docs / we see our own Pts independently & collab w/ our Docs etc. Formality of the law requires certain things from Docs, ie: signatures on cases etc - all varies w/ each state & many are changing the law to get rid of other small formalities.
2.) Capable of switching between all specialties (not as easy d/t differences in specialties of course, but doable) ie: Surgery to EM to Critical Care etc
3.) Length of education - avg 27 months or more (residency is optional / 12-18 mos avg - good for more pay & more autonomy upon graduation)
4.) More flexibility
5.) Less debt & good Pay ($80-100K+ starting) - many make $200K+ (surgery/EM/Derm etc) -depends how much you enjoy & willing to work
6.) I wanted to enjoy my 20's. Also, I thought if I ever wanted to go back to school / pursue long-term hobbies (skydiving etc) / or even possibly considering a transition to another related career - I wouldn't have anything holding me back or any burden/guilt.

Again, all these were personal choices that I thought about.
I wish patients new that two years ago their PA was working at McDonalds and is now making decisions about their health. Once again thank you @Psai for educating America. You are a hero.
 
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torshi

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I wish patients new that two years ago their PA was working at McDonalds and is now making decisions about their health. Once again thank you @Psai for educating America. You are a hero.
Come on man, I'm not sure if it's a joke, but regardless the statement is a slap in the face, disrespectful & a total misinformed view that distorts what people may think who may be genuinely interested on this forum about an alternative healthcare career in which you still practice medicine. Don't forget, you will be working with many & respect goes both ways.

All programs require HCE. Many requiring upwards of 1k-4k+ hrs - there are EMTs, Combat Medics, CNAs, & MAs in all classes. People who have life experience or gathered HCE during their undergrad years while still maintaining a great GPA & standardized score.

I personally don't take offense, but it's an insult to a profession that even Docs put alot of work into to create our field. People forget this.
 
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Mad Jack

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Definitely true & these are things people have to take into account. I had many reasons for my decision, one of them even being, if I potentially decided to go back to school & pursue a top MBA (something I've been considering - not definitive), I wouldn't feel as if there is any burden/guilt for exiting out due to less time dedicated overall in regards to training/debt etc & I would still be around the avg age of students matriculating. And the fact that I can always practice medicine in any specialty as long as I'm current w/ certs is always a beautiful opportunity
One warning though- being a PA instead of an MD will substantially limit your upward mobility, even with an MBA. Nurses, interestingly enough, have crazy amounts of upward mobility with a good MBA under their belt, due to requirements that leaders in certain hospital positions have nursing credentials. Physicians can be medical directors, which opens up doors to higher positions in hospital administration. This was another big factor in my choosing the physician route over the PA route- the ceiling is just so much higher.
 

Mad Jack

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I wish patients new that two years ago their PA was working at McDonalds and is now making decisions about their health. Once again thank you @Psai for educating America. You are a hero.
In all fairness, most PA programs are only a few months shorter than MD programs- you're looking at 38 months of schooling versus 24-28 months. So a lot of those MDs were working at McDonald's just over 3 years ago before entering residency and being largely responsible for people's lives ;) This isn't to say that PAs are as well educated as MDs, but merely that their length of training is sufficient to provide clinical services under the supervision of a physician. Most fresh PAs are watched pretty carefully by their attendings, as physicians are fully aware of the deficits that PAs have in their training, and that they'll need some time in practice under a watchful eye to achieve a decent level of competence.
 
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torshi

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One warning though- being a PA instead of an MD will substantially limit your upward mobility, even with an MBA. Nurses, interestingly enough, have crazy amounts of upward mobility with a good MBA under their belt, due to requirements that leaders in certain hospital positions have nursing credentials. Physicians can be medical directors, which opens up doors to higher positions in hospital administration. This was another big factor in my choosing the physician route over the PA route- the ceiling is just so much higher.
Completely understood, & nurses have an inherently stronger lobbying group as well, they do in fact have more opportunity and even can practice independently w/o being under the supervision of a Docs license.
I personally was referring to an MBA with a transition into another sector, not necessarily a hospital system (ie: corporate) if I decided to do so. (preferably from a top MBA program if I pursued one) - again this is just personal decisions.
 

Mad Jack

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Completely understood, & nurses have an inherently stronger lobbying group as well, they do in fact have more opportunity and even can practice independently w/o being under the supervision of a Docs license.
I personally was referring to an MBA with a transition into another sector, not necessarily a hospital system (ie: corporate) if I decided to do so. (preferably from a top MBA program if I pursued one) - again this is just personal decisions.
It's tough to market yourself outside of healthcare once you're viewed as a healthcare guy. It's doable, but transitioning out is not easy, particularly with the saturation of MBAs these days.
 

piii

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Midlevels aren't trying to be physicians, they went to PA school or NP school to BE a NP or PA. Why don't you think he/she will be satisfied? There is more to life than work, I would venture to say a lot of people who decided to pursue the PA profession wanted a flexible lifestyle. I know many PAs who work 36-40 hour weeks with NO on-call duty and make $100,000. On the other hand, most docs work more than that and have required on-call hours. Plus, isn't there an abundance of research stating many physicians are indeed NOT satisfied with their career or that would choose medicine again? Just my $0.02
SDN pre allo naïveté: Medicine is the only worth while pursuit. If you aren't a doctor, you will never live a fulfilling and satisfying life.

The people who think this way won't live a truly fulfilling life, no matter how far they advance with their career goals.
 
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It's tough to market yourself outside of healthcare once you're viewed as a healthcare guy. It's doable, but transitioning out is not easy, particularly with the saturation of MBAs these days.
Yes not easy, however I think it's indeed doable, if most of the focus is trying to attend a TOP MBA program in which many companies recruit at that school, shouldn't be a problem, of course depending on the market. (ie: management consulting is always alive & well - most individuals come from different backgrounds - and exit opps can be great)

Also, of course it's all dependent on connections/who you know etc - I have a JD friend (previously at family PE fund) who teamed up w/ an MD recently - they both started a hedge fund (healthcare/biotech/therapeutics) - I don't think the MD guy went into residency (realized he didn't want to practice medicine) he ended up getting an MBA, transitioned into Goldman Sachs IB/SAC Capital in their healthcare division etc. Of course, this is not the norm.
 
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torshi

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SDN pre allo naïveté: Medicine is the only worth while pursuit. If you aren't a doctor, you will never live a fulfilling and satisfying life.

The people who think this way won't live a truly fulfilling life, no matter how far they advance with their career goals.
And I use to think just like this up until my junior/senior year in college.
 
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Cyberdyne 101

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If I didn't care about reputation prestige and truly beating a leader and being responsible for someone's health I would go into PA.
I want to be able to say "hey I dianoaised and treated this patient "
:eek: The amount of complete ignorance in this thread...

OP, not sure what you were expecting from this thread. It's basically pre-meds defending their decision to go MD, and some subtle and not-so-subtle bashes against mid-levels. If anyone is seriously considering PA, they'd be wise to actually shadow and talk with PAs and MDs who work with PAs... instead of misinformed and/or ego-bruised SDNers
 
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I feel like I'm 50, but I am still going to kick some ass.
Come back and talk to me when you are ;) I will see if you really can kick it like I do :) (or am trying to do!)
 
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I literally can do a PAs job during a surgery. All they do is suction blood and suture at the end.


Also I foresee profession being flooded, there are already 3 schools in my tiny state and 2 more opening up within the next 2 years. Also everyone and their mothers wants to be a PA. I think salaries will drop as well.
 
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I literally can do a PAs job during a surgery. All they do is suction blood and suture at the end.


Also I foresee profession being flooded, there are already 3 schools in my tiny state and 2 more opening up within the next 2 years. Also everyone and their mothers wants to be a PA. I think salaries will drop as well.
I literally think you're in for a rude awakening
 
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allantois

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I hope people in this thread realize that their negativity towards PAs who train in the medical model push people to pursue NP instead of PA in order to have more autonomy from physicians. This is not good for anyone.