Like many nontraditional students, I'm grappling with the decision as to which direction to take in medicine. I have extensive experience in research, wilderness medicine, as an EMT, and most recently as a medical case manager for a wilderness therapy program. I have had the opportunity to work directly under two physicians for the past two years and work autonomously, along with being the primary caretaker for a terminally ill parent (extensive exposure to the patient/family perspective). I have also had the opportunity to observe my older sister's path as a medical student and now a neurologist, along with a long term relationship with an M.D/Ph.D. student. What is interesting is that every single physician that I interact with has discouraged me from pursuing an M.D. They all wish they had chosen a different career and they all have a negative outlook on the future of medicine. The most resounding negative voices were from my sister and the M.D./Ph.D. student, who are both incredibly high achieving and attended ivy league institutions (so I'm wondering if their perspective is skewed due to their high pressure environments). What is more concerning to me is the increased incidence of depression and suicidal ideation among physicians (http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/806779-overview). I'm wondering if these trends are the same for physician assistants. I would greatly appreciate any contributions from practicing physicians and P.A.s.