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pre-med to NP/PA

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sneezy2020

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Hi all,

I am currently a pre-med student in a post-baccalaureate program. The course workload has definitely forced me to confront some feelings of mine. I wanted to check-in and see if anyone here had something to offer/were in my position.

To start off, I am a non-trad with a BS in healthcare administration. I got exposed to patient care and took the plunge into medicine. I researched and found that medicine, an MD degree, would best for me. I wanted to understand the underlying reasons for the ailment and have the opportunity to heal patients.

I know it is 100% doable for women to be MOMS and DOCTORS. I am just not sure if it is more me? I am a family person and thrive off of it. I am finding the course load difficult and while I know all good things take time, hard work, and perseverance, pursuing medicine would mean I would be giving up a lot to make it in my career. If I knew my sacrifice would be 1-5 years, I would hold the fort down and go for it. But, I, along with family and loved ones are sacrificing a lot if I did continue on this path.

Have any of you been in the same position? What type of lifestyle do PA/RN/NP students have? Do you have time for family, life, connections, traveling? Do you have any regrets not pursuing an MD degree? Is being a PA/NP fulfilling?
 
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scoopdaboop

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Have any of you been in the same position? What type of lifestyle do PA/RN/NP students have? Do you have time for family, life, connections, traveling? Do you have any regrets not pursuing an MD degree? Is being a PA/NP fulfilling?

Gotta do some internal reflection here. No one can answer the last question but yourself. I will say this, I know people in accelerated nursing programs, and the girl studies for like 6 hours the day before a test and gets A's. So, yea, the lifestyle is going to be way easier to do NP.

PA/RN/NP will clearly have a better lifestyle than a lot of medical students, and definitely all residents and earn money... I would say most students can still travel as medical students between M1-M2, and even some after m2 boards. A lot of students travel in M4 before residency. During residency you get time off etc. Medical school is hard, but I don't think it's "study 12 hours a day, leave no time for anyone" hard. The issue is that a lot of your days will be tough especially as a resident, and if you can't accept working your butt off for a long amount of time... then you should pick PA/NP.

Also you have to consider your age. If you want to finish your post-bac and then take the MCAT, then spend money to apply to a school with no certainty that you get accepted, then spend 4 years + residency being whatever doctor you want to be. There's a lot of uncertainty there. If you truly wanted to you can apply MD programs, and also nursing programs the same year. If MD doesn't work out, then do nursing.

Unfortunately, and rightly so, the path to being a doctor is rigorous so lots of people who never thought about it in college will face a daunting task ahead of them to even try to get in. Even in college, you have to work hard etc. It's a field that has a high barrier to entry, which unfortunately drives peoples to other careers.
 

pamac

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Uncertainty can be a significant feature of pursuing medical school. If you are a fantastic student, and have a singular focus, you gain more certainty about where you will end up. So many things come secondary for medical students. I had the academic part down, but didn’t feel comfortable with the singular focus that I felt I’d need. The uncertainties I noted were not being sure if where I’d end up getting accepted to school, what life challenges would be presented to me while in school, and what I’d match residency to, and where. One can improve the likelyhood that you’ll get close to what you want, but it’s just not for sure. And since I really like where I live, and what kind of family life I had, I wanted to be in control of where I was. Nursing gave me certain checkpoints to reach ie progression stepwise from nursing student to nurse, to working as a nurse, to working while in graduate school, to graduating and then working as an NP). Along the way o could take a breather of I would have needed. I made decent money. Had decent control of my time. The trade off was the education and training that I didn’t get by not choosing to go to medical school. The pay is less as well, although in psyche, it’s not so drastically less than the gap you see between NPs and surgeons, or other lucrative medical specialties. Psychiatrists that want the big money have to chase it, but I also could open my own practices as well since I’m independent. That still would probably never get me quite what aN ambitious physician psychiatrist would have, but I do have a couple of classmates making more than many psychiatrists do because they are running their own practices, and hiring other providers that bring in money. I’m one of those kinds of hires, as I do some work on the side for them so I can avoid the headache of doing that myself.

I know moms that are doctors, and they handle it very well. Everything comes at a cost, and when a family member goes to medical school, it seems like it’s really the whole family that is in on the effort, if only as support. And I’ve seen a lot of divorce among new providers, especially when someone is stuck holding down the fort while the student gets tugged into the training that has to come first. Being all in or all out is so much more of a requirement for medical training. And the time devoted to PA training has a similar flavor to to, only it’s a lot shorter than what the docs do. My NP training was managavle for me, and I felt like it was a lot easier to come up for air whenever I needed to. Medical school and PAs school are more like roller coasters for their respective time frames.... You get on, and then get off, but everything in between functions outside of your ability to control the pace and the course. You can control how you feel about it, but other than that, you have hard deadlines and not a lot of room for detours. The ones that you do have are granted by someone else.
 

futuremrsDr<3

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I feel you OP.
Mom of 2 not old enough for school yet.
My plan has been Dental school for a long time. This semester of doing postbacc has been tough. I want so badly to hold my babies' hands when I see them stressed without me. My husband was planning to be supportive but lately has been busy at work with everything (covid) going on.

I looked into PA programs before and am thinking about it again. I have a bachelor's already if not I may have gone the NP route
 
D

deleted6669

Take this as you will from a 23 yr PA:
There are 2 types of PAs/NPs, "worker bees" who just do low acuity stuff like fast track, flu clinics, retail medicine, wound checks, etc and folks who desire to become talented clinicians. If you would be happy as a worker bee, by all means go PA/NP. Be an employee of a practice, make a good income, never have to make any serious calls without a consult etc. If you want to practice high level medicine you have two options:
Option one: MD/DO and a residency. If I could do life over I would do this. I almost went back several times over the years, but life got in the way.
Option two; PA/NP with lots of extra self-study, potentially a postgrad program in your specialty of choice, etc. It takes a while as a PA/NP to get a good hold on a specialty without the benefit of additional training. I have switched jobs every few years when I felt I had exhausted the learning potential of any given place. I voraciously sought out educational opportunities and mentors, etc. This is a long and hard road. Much easier to go the established route to high level practice(*option one).
As a worker bee you can certainly arrange a nice lifestyle, home with the kids, etc. As a clinician MD/DO/PA/NP you will have to commit to medicine. Is medicine a side gig to make ends meet or is it what you derive meaning from? I work more hours than the vast majority of physicians I know. Days, nights, holidays, 24s, long runs of shifts, etc. Doing it right means commitment. You will be spending a lot of your vacations going to conferences, etc. Think about what is most important to you and do that thing.
 
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