xscpx

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Is there no PA forum? I am seriously considering becoming a PA and putting the PhD on hold but I would like more info. Anyone know of any useful links?
 

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Is there no PA forum? I am seriously considering becoming a PA and putting the PhD on hold but I would like more info. Anyone know of any useful links?
Change of heart, eh? :cool:
 
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xscpx

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Thinking about it. I don't think I have it in me to go straight through to a PhD. I need a break and I want a job! I'm tired of feeling like a perpetual kid cause I'm a student. I'm not sure if anyone understands or if I sound crazy...
 

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Thinking about it. I don't think I have it in me to go straight through to a PhD. I need a break and I want a job! I'm tired of feeling like a perpetual kid cause I'm a student. I'm not sure if anyone understands or if I sound crazy...
Might be a perpetual student, but you still make a half-way respectable living off of the stipend (well, here at Yale anyway: our stipends are $29k/yr). I can pay my rent and my car and live pretty comfortably, so I'm happy :D
 
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xscpx

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Might be a perpetual student, but you still make a half-way respectable living off of the stipend (well, here at Yale anyway: our stipends are $29k/yr). I can pay my rent and my car and live pretty comfortably, so I'm happy :D
Yes, but it's still student living. We'll have a mortgage payment, two cars, and everything else 29k isn't much. He also really wants to go back to school. I dunno...I just need a break. I'm burnt out I think. especially the idea of getting a PhD and not getting a job that pays well kills me.
 

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Yes, but it's still student living. We'll have a mortgage payment, two cars, and everything else 29k isn't much. He also really wants to go back to school. I dunno...I just need a break. I'm burnt out I think. especially the idea of getting a PhD and not getting a job that pays well kills me.
$29k is on the VERY high side of PhD stipends, so I feel lucky. Yale has the 6th or 7th highest payout of stipends for PhD students, so it's pretty damn decent. I guess it also depends on what you call "pays well". I think most PhD-level jobs pay pretty decent: most jobs in academia and government start at $65-70k as an entry-level PhD.

I have a two friends in the PA program here at Yale (one's a recent grad, actually), and she makes pretty good money ($80k/yr range). However, she does work 65hrs/wk, so they definitely make you earn your money. However, Yale grads come out with roughly $100k in student loan debt. There's absolutely no way you can work during the PA program (class is pretty much 9-5 everyday + you have your rotations the 2nd year).

Oh, and one more thing to keep mind of, most schools recently just added microbiology as a pre-req for admission. My sister found this out the hard way.
 
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$29k is on the VERY high side of PhD stipends, so I feel lucky. Yale has the 6th or 7th highest payout of stipends for PhD students, so it's pretty damn decent. I guess it also depends on what you call "pays well". I think most PhD-level jobs pay pretty decent: most jobs in academia and government start at $65-70k as an entry-level PhD.

I have a two friends in the PA program here at Yale (one's a recent grad, actually), and she makes pretty good money ($80k/yr range). However, she does work 65hrs/wk, so they definitely make you earn your money. However, Yale grads come out with roughly $100k in student loan debt. There's absolutely no way you can work during the PA program (class is pretty much 9-5 everyday + you have your rotations the 2nd year).

Oh, and one more thing to keep mind of, most schools recently just added microbiology as a pre-req for admission. My sister found this out the hard way.
Oh it's definitely high for a stipend, but I meant it's not high in terms of income.

Honestly, I wanted to be a neonatal surgeon originally (since I was little) and didn't go the med school route due to the bureaucratic bull**** that is medical school applications, admissions, training, as docs themselves. Due to my own personal health problems I grew to hate docs. But it seems that becoming a PA and specializing in neonatalogy (and ob/gyn) I would get all the good parts of being a doc without the crap.

I love epi, I really do. I went into perinatal/neonatal epi for a reason. I do want to do a PhD eventually. I just don't think I'm ready for it now. It's not something I want to start without being totally sure and ready. I don't want to be one of those who get burnt out and drop out.
 

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Oh it's definitely high for a stipend, but I meant it's not high in terms of income.

Honestly, I wanted to be a neonatal surgeon originally (since I was little) and didn't go the med school route due to the bureaucratic bull**** that is medical school applications, admissions, training, as docs themselves. Due to my own personal health problems I grew to hate docs. But it seems that becoming a PA and specializing in neonatalogy (and ob/gyn) I would get all the good parts of being a doc without the crap.

I love epi, I really do. I went into perinatal/neonatal epi for a reason. I do want to do a PhD eventually. I just don't think I'm ready for it now. It's not something I want to start without being totally sure and ready. I don't want to be one of those who get burnt out and drop out.
Well, it's not a job, it's a stipend. And keep in mind, stipends are not subject to the same taxes as jobs. They are only subject to the federal tax and state tax (~10% total for both). I also get full health without any money out of pocket. So if you adjust it, it's probably closer valued to $35k/yr in salary if you want to think of it that way. Better than many entry-level jobs. My "take home pay" ends up being about $2100/mo. And I'm not going into the red at all. Something that would be impossible for you to stay away from if you go to PA school (or med school). Scary!

And I might suggest that depending on the level of autonomy you want, you definitely talk to some PAs that work in ob/gyn. The biggest complaint my friend tells me is that she is so limited in what she can do it frustrates her. And there's a level of respect that's missing among colleagues. I'm sure it differs from hospital to hospital, but that's how it feels to her at Yale-New Haven Hospital. So definitely look into the level of work you're cleared to do.

And just a last thing, if you know a PhD is where you want to end up (presumably research). Why spend the detour of 2-years of more school for PA and accrue the debt when you're planning on going back to school to public health research again? It would suck to get licensed in something and spend a lot of time and money into it, just to leave that profession 6-7 years down the line and then end up back in school for 5-6 years for the PhD and having to re-take a lot of introductory level courses you're keen on right now. Just food for thought.
 
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xscpx

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Warning: Ridiculously long post!



Of course! I'm not going to make a decision like this without speaking to and shadowing PA's in my intended area. It's just an idea. Honestly, I have the desire to do a PhD but not sure if I really have the drive. I'm just having second thoughts and that scares me and makes me want to consider my other options.

As far as "what you are allowed to do" perhaps that varies. I was looking at fellowships like this
http://www.appap.org/ca.html#one
(the ob/gyn one)
and it says "Upon completion of this residency, the PA should be competent in performing vaginal deliveries, 1st assisting in Cesarean deliveries and gynecological surgeries, and performing colposcopies and other common gynecological procedures." Why would you be trained in things and then not be allowed to do them?

It could also be where you are. In Florida PA's are really common and are acting doctors. In many cases, entire clinics are run by PA's and Nurse Practioners and the doc swings by once a week to sign off on the scripts that were written. They have freedom to do what needs to be done. I kind of like this. I like the idea of working my shift and going home (no being on call) and even if it is "less prestigious" I can still live anywhere and find a job and make very decent money. Also, PA school here total is about the price of one year at Yale!

I'm not making any decisions, just keeping my options open. I love research, but I wanted clinical originally and pushed it out of my head because I thought I couldn't do anything without med school.

I just don't know if I am willing to put my life on hold for another 5-6 years. I'm tired of it. We are both ready to move on and it seems that my schooling is holding us back. I'm ready to be working. (This is getting really personal now and deep into my psyche) I'm not sure if I relaly truely want the PhD, or if I'm just arrogant and unable to deal with "not being a doctor". I've been a Honors student my whole life and I'm used to being in the "top" of everything. I sort of feel like if I don't do a PhD I am shorting myself and not gaining the knowledge, credentials, and prestige I think I should have. (If that came out totally shallow and stuck-up I'm sorry, but I'm trying to articulate my feelings). I also so of feel like I would be letting down everyone if I didn't do a PhD or MD. (That probably sounds childish, but again, it's true).

Like I said, I'm still trying to sort out my own head and I want ot make sure to consider all my options. I don't want ot commit to anything unless I am 110% sure.
 

Stories

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xscpx: If I recall correctly, you're doing your MPH right now, right? You're in your 1st year? What is it that you truly want to do? Is it the clinical side of things? If that's the case, why not just drop the MPH and go right into the PA program? You'd save yourself both time and money (and earn a PA salary quicker without building up your MPH debt).

I no have idea what frustrates my friend in terms of the amount work she's able to do autonomously, but what she basically described was that she's limited to doing the "routine" things. Which is one reason she's asking about what kind of public health research I do as she's considering moving in that direction in a few years (she didn't want the daily 60hr/wk grind from being a PA).

As for the whole "honors" thing: does it really matter in the end? You need to do what makes you happy and what you think is important. If you want to attain that 'status' that you seek, you're going to have to put your "life on hold" as you put it for 5-6 years (7-10 years if you want to do the MD route). I put "life on hold" in quotes because plenty of people have families and even children in grad school. Several of my classmates are married with children (I just don't happen to be one because I like being a bachelor and could care less about a spouse at this point in my life). So it's doable, if a little challenging to manage.

If you're simply struck by how much money you want/need to make, then definitely head in the clinical route because the money there will be tough to match in any public health practice.
 
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xspcx: Don't mean to butt in, but having worked in healthcare, specifically NICU, for the last several years I have a little different perspective. I have loved working in the unit but I will tell you that working in a clinical environment presents its own set of issues.

Stories is exactly right in that PAs, NNPs, etc. do a lot of the routine, "grunt", work of the unit, i.e. histories, labs, routine procedures. They are (almost) never in charge of the difficult (interesting) patients. Also, just because you've been trained in something does not mean you'll get to do it in practice. You are still at the mercy of the physician and hospital as to what exactly your responsibilities entail. You mentioned FL is lax in the physician supervision, but if you venture into some of the other forums you'll see the HUGE debate over that very subject and many physicians' objection to PAs, NPs, DNPs being elevated to the same status as MD and DO. My point: that may change.

Finally, get used to working nights, weekends, and holidays--at least to begin with. I can't WAIT to get back to a more "normal" schedule!

None of this is to talk you out of going the PA route. I know a lot of people who are very happy with that line of work. I just think that thinking of going to PA school as the faster route to money and stability may not give you what you want in the long run.

Just my $0.02. Good luck with whatever you decide!