I have a question about becomeing a Physician Assistant.

Discussion in 'Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]' started by Tylerc, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. Tylerc

    2+ Year Member

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    I want to become a PA but i have a few questions.

    1. Is this job competitivg? is it hard to become one?
    2. is there alot of math involved? Do you need to be good at math?
    3.they say you need to have hospital work before getting accepted into PA program, what do they mean by this?
    4. How do you go about becoming one?
    5.I want to become either this or a Perfusionist, what is a better deision and why?
     
  2. foreverLaur

    foreverLaur MSN, RN, CNE
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    1. To become a PA, you typically go to graduate school. There are some certificate and bachelors degree programs as well. The masters program is typically around 27 months in length. The first year you take didactic coursework similar ot medical school and the second year you do clinical rotations. Spots in programs are very competitive and the curriculum is very rigorous.

    2. Most schools require statistics and/or college algebra or higher for admittance. You do not any additional math.

    3. A large portion of PA programs require previous hands-on healthcare experience. This can be obtained in a lot of ways... RN, EMT, Paramedic, Nurse, Nurse Aid, Phlebotomy, etc. Some degrees take 2+ years while others can be obtained in a few weeks. If you are looking for the "quick" route, I'd recommend working as a CNA or EMT-B during school. I didn't know I wanted to be a PA until later, so I'm taking 2 years off to work as an ER Tech.

    4. The "average" student has a bachelors degree and then goes to graduate school and gets a masters degree. A large portion of students have degrees in health care fields and biology due to the ability to then get hands-on patient care experience and the degrees including the prerequisite requirements.

    5. The better decision is which one you would rather do. Being a PA and a perfusionist are two VERY different fields. As a PA, you work in a certain medical specialties and treat patients under the supervision of a doctor. As a perfusionist, you operate the heart/lung machine during open heart surgery and any other surgical procedure that requires bypass. The better choice is the one that you'd rather do for the rest of your life.

    I'd recommend visiting www.physicianassistantforum.com. It is specific to the PA field and you can get a lot more information on the Pre-PA section. It is a very valuable resource.
     
  3. PHealthMan

    2+ Year Member

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    You need to start doing some homework on this profession outside of a message board where people post things anonymously and without liability.

    1. Is this job competitivg? is it hard to become one?
    Yes, it is hard to practice medicine. PA school covers a tremendous amount of material in little time. Clinical rotations are the same as that for a medical student (MD/DO). Long hours often filled with scut work and steep learning curve. My PA school (i am an alum) had an average GPA of acceptance around 3.56 last year. On a whole PA schools are moderately hard to get accepted into.

    2. is there alot of math involved? Do you need to be good at math?
    Most schools require statistics or calc for admissions. The day to day business of medicine rarely requires advanced math skills. However, if you want to be above the norm and be able to evaluate and participate in research you probably should. Understanding statistics is vital to practicing evidenced based medicine.

    Some PA schools require a thesis for graduation. This will certainly require statistical skill.

    3.they say you need to have hospital work before getting accepted into PA program, what do they mean by this?

    You need clinical experience,not necesarily hospital based. This almost always means direct patient care. Examples of this are EMT, RN, and Medical Assistant. The hours required and exact definition of clinical experience vary school to school.

    4. How do you go about becoming one?
    Get a Bachelors degree. Study Hard and Apply to PA schools.

    5.I want to become either this or a Perfusionist, what is a better deision and why?

    Why dont you shadow both and make a decision ?


    I would not base life decisions on a message board where disgruntled medical students (with no credence) and a few disgruntled PA's consistently play down the profession. This forum is a pretty inaccurate representation of what I have seen PAs accomplish in my career.
     

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