Bradley

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I am a PA practicing Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine in NW Wisconsin. I am a Yale University grad, and have been doing medicine for 2 years now. I would be glad to assist Pre-PA's or answer other quesions. Just let me know. I have come to amass an incredible amount of knowledge and materials since starting the application process 5 years ago, as has anyone of us in the field. Email me with questions. I'll take a few minutes out of my day to check.
 

newdaddy

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Thanks for volunteering to help! I am considering becoming a PA. I have been accepted to a few foreign med schools, but in reality I really don't want a physician's schedule. My biggest concern about becoming a PA is the cost of education (besides getting in to begin with.) I have a wife and two kids that I will need to support with student loans while I am in school. Is it logical to get these kinds of loans to become a PA? I would appreciate any help you could give me. Thank you very much! Jeff Meeks
 

Bradley

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It definitely takes $$ to become a PA. That really depends on where you go, though, too. The smaller state university certainly is going to be easier to pay than a private one. And that totally depends on where you get accepted. You kind have to be willng to pay the tuition wherever you get accepted. The price for becoming a PA... plus the competition factor. You may not get to CHOOSE where you go.
 
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hermanshermits

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Hi:

Can PA's work in psychiatry? If so at what capacity? I am just curious to know.

thanks
ms
 

Bradley

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Whoah! Are you talking to thte right person! I have been dong FP/ER for 2 years, but my interest has changed to invlove Psychiatry to a scary degree. All the conferenes I to to are Psych, the journals I get, etc. Yes PA's can work in Psych and from what I hear there is a real need for them, too. There are 2 Psych residencies for PA's as well, one in Iowa at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute, and the other in Texas. I have info on both if you want copies. I'm thinking of going into Psych myself. Have been thinking about it for about a year; just have to make the plunge....
 

Bradley

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Funny you should ask--I'm applying to med school in 6 days! Lots of reasons. Email if you want to know more. I DO NOT mean to discourage others from becoming a PA. Its a great field, great hours, great $$, etc. I'm just looking for more, and I think this is it. I'm also psychotic. That accounts for most of it.

email: [email protected]
 

ToeinH2o

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Bradley,

I am happy to have found your post. This is going to be long so bear with me. I have been working towards nursing school (career change) but for a number of reasons have decided that that is not right for me. I want more autonomy and flexibility in my work schedule. Anyway, I know that I want to work in healthcare, I can't see myself doing anything else. I have two children and I don't want to sacrifice my time with them to pursue a career goal right now, but maybe when they are in school I would have a little more time. So, to the questions:

1. I would have alot of courses to take as well as needing to get some healthcare experience as I don't have any right now. What would be acceptable experience? Can it be voluntary or does it need to be a paid position? What about being an MA in a clinic? Would that be good enough? Or do you need to come from some other area like respiratory therapy?

2. How intense is the schooling?

3. How is the job market? I'd be pretty old when I finished too, is that a problem? (I'm early 30s).

4. Are PAs pretty well accepted by MDs and other medical people?

5. Basically, what are your recommendations for a mother of two, who turned down nursing school, who is very interested in healthcare? What steps would you suggest taking to the road to PA school, and would you consider it a family-friendly occupation? Also, would you consider it a good occupation in general, what are the down-sides ( nursing had alot).

Thank you so much. I hope to hear some good advice.
 

Bradley

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Happy to help--

1. Experience does not need to be paid. Volunteering looks wonderful in its own right. Being an MA is fine. Some additional would be helpful too. Can you help teach first aid, or CPR, or something like that? I worked as an EMT for 6 years, CPR Instructor, CNA in a hospital (6 months) and CNA in a Nursing HOme (6 months. In my class experience varied from that like myself, to only working on a ski patrol.

2. The schooling is VERY intense. You will spend every waking hour studying, most likely. Its definitely not a part time project.

3. The job market depends on where you are. I found my job 3 weeks after graduation (I live in NW Wisconsin). My classmates who stayed on the East coast ( I went to school in CT) had more trouble. FYI, the ages in my class ranged from 22-56. Your not too old!

4. My coworker and I are accepted by the docs here like we were one of them. They don't question our ability. If you are good, you will be accepted. Simple enough.

5. PA school sounds like a fine option. It takes 2 years of your life, but really is worth it. You get out and, at least in the midwest, can do Family Practice for $50-70K. I work 36 hours a week.
Downsides? Not many. Being a PA, you have to OK some things, and don't have the complete autonomy like the docs do, but it doesn't sound like that would be an issue for you.

Let me know if you have more questions.

Brad
 

monte

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Originally posted by Popoy:
•Why not? :D

Popoy,

I will be starting at WVSOM this August. I was just wondering why Bradley elected to go the osteopathic route. I apologize if my question sounded arrogant.

Take care. :D
 
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Bradley

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My supervising doc for the last 2 years is a DO, and I have, I must say, learned far more from him than any of the7 MDs put together. Part of that is just because he is this fatherly teacher kind of a person. But we have talked a bit about osteopathy, and how he continues, to a small degree, to use it. Plus, DO schools have traditionally accepted older nontraditional students with lots of interesting background and experience. That is important to me. I am a very good student and excellent practitioner, but I am not 4.0 or have 35 MCATs. That makes absolutely no difference what kind of doc I would make. And I want to be around the educational system that feels the same way......
 

Popoy

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monte, no offense, just havin' fun and seeing if we can pry more info on "why" osteopathic medicine from Bradley.

I'm always interested in knowing why/why not people elect to go pursue osteopathic medicine.

monte, good luck in WVSOM next year and congratulations

Bradley, thanks for the insight about your experience with osteopathic medical doctors. I still like to hear such stories.... Good luck to you dude!!!
 

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Bradley,
Thank you for your offer to help. I am currently a pre-med student, but I am keeping other options, such as a nursing doctorate and career as a PA open. I was wondering how much autonomy and respect a PA gets. I want very much to practice pediatrics, but do not want to have a physician looking over my shoulder with every move I make and second guess everything I do. Do parents question you about your capabilities since you are a PA and not a Physician (even though you can provide the same quality of care)? I don't know if this is an incorrect view of the PA profession, so please correct me if I am wrong. Also, how does the Nursing staff react toward a PA? From shadowing some PAs, I have noted some resentment. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.
 

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From a nursing perspective, I have noticed that most patients really don't distinguish between nurse practitioners and physicians, they tend to think of whoever does their H&P and writes them a prescription as their "doctor". Male NP's especially. In regards to how nurses look at NP's, I am sure it varies from setting to setting. I work in an oncology setting and we LOVE our nurse practitioner back up. No offense, but many of our physicians act like spoiled little children. They show up late, can't seem to dial a phone without assistance, treat the ancillary staff as if their only purpose is to serve their every need. (I know, not all physicians act this way) The NP's, on the other hand, tend to be much more dependable, personable, and not 'above' such tasks as calling for a lab result or scheduling an appointment. MOst importantly, our patients benefit from their care.

All said, I am getting ready to apply to DO schools. Why DO schools? I think their philosophy is great, I love the focus on primary care, and I have heard that they are much more friendly to nurses like me.
Any thoughts on that one?

Also, I am an old fogey at 32. ;)
I hear DO schools don't mind old fogeys.

And one more thing, my science GPA is 4.0, just for those who assume DO's make the choice 'cause they don't make the cut.

Corey
 

Bradley

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All I can comment on is my situation as a PA. Hopefully I am not in a terribly unusual situation--I have a wonderful job. The docs certainly do not look over my shoulder-for anything, really. At times, even, when maybe I WANT them to because I don't know what the hell kind of a rash I am looking at, I have to go FIND them. THey just let me practice like any of the docs. They just assume I know what I am doing. They have learned to trust me over the last 2 years as a competent provider. Plus, they are BUSY!! They don't HAVE THE TIME to be looking over my shoulder. If they had to do that, I think they would say "hit the road. We need someone that knows what they are doing." That certainly is not global. There are probably some people who are not as familiar with PA's who you are going to have to prove yourself to. Second, in 2 years, I have had a couple times when a parent, or ANYBODY, questions me about "not knowing" as much as a doc, but I tend to just brush those people off as "chronic complainers" or having a bad day, because I see them in a week and they don't even bing it up! It really has nothing to do with me. Trust me, I have also had people start seeing me because my supervising doc "wouldn't listen" to them, or was a jerk one day or whatever. I don't make that common knowledge between he and I though :)

BY THE WAY--For all who have read my previous posts, and know of my plan to apply to DO school-------change of plans!!! I am staying a PA. I just love it too much to devote another 9 years and $100,000 to med school. It took days and weeks of torture to decide that one, believe me.

My words to live by--THE GRASS IS NOT ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE; SOMETIMES ITS JUST DIFFERENT GRASS!!

Take care all........
 

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Bradley,
I for one am glad you're going to remain a PA. I find your insights and experience as a PA very valuable to this forum...know that must have been a tough decision though... :)
Beth
 

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Bradley, I was wondering why you completed the PA program only to apply to medical school later. At one point I was looking at PA because of the potential to have a life outside of work unlike what I have heard about MDs. But I am afraid that I will feel like I could have done more. Would love to hear what you have to say.
 

matthewb

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Thanks a lot for all your assistance. I am new to this site and am very excited to see all the discussions here. I am from NE Missouri where there are no practicing PA's in the area. I just graduated this last May with a BS in biology and a chem minor. I have been an EMT for five years and am doing that full time until I am accepted to PA school. I just completed the application process and am now in the waiting stage. I also went through the common debate, med school or PA? I spent many days changing my mind from one to the other. In the end I decided that the PA route was right for me. I am really excited about pursuing this career. I just wanted to ask you about PA's in emergency medicine. That is my true love, and I was wondering how well they are utilized in that role. Also could you tell me, is that first year of PA school really as tough as everybody says? Thanks for your help.
 
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kundun

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PAs are not medical doctors...they cannot practice independently...the must always practice under the supervision of a licensced physician (MD or DO)...they contribute to patient care, however, they are not ultimately responsible for delegating care to the patient, nor are they ultimately responsible for the patient
 

Bradley

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Ok, first kundun.....we PA's and Pre-PA's would greatly appreciate the use of "Spell-check" prior to posting. We are very professional and articulate people here.....

Second, WHAT?!? Where did the defensiveness come from? No one has ever said anything about practicing "independantly" on this forum. Settle down..

Third, in response to PA's "not responsible for delegating care to the patient", I wish I knew that yesterday... while I was flying my trauma patient out of the ER and trying to get my GI bleed admitted and lytics into a CVA patient, while my "supervising doctor" was doing her 10TH(!) Pap of the day over in the clinic....

;)
 

kundun

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excuse me, if I misspelled any words my brain is pretty much fried after taking the boards...I think it is you that is acting defensive...I was simply trying to answer somebody's question...its obvious that the person asking the question above had no idea about the differences between a doc and a PA...give me a break about the spell check thing...come on, please... you're kidding right??
 

Bradley

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My most sincere apology, kundun. I, too, am FRIED to the extreme, and getting a bit punchy. Its just that I slaved my [email protected]# yesterday, have worked about 70 hours this week between the clinic and ER, and my "supervising" doc (just for this week)was no help at all, so I get defensive when someone suggests in any way that PA's don't have the EXACT responsibilities as the docs. It totally depends on your situation.

Nothing a week of vacation can't resolve.... ;)
 

matthewb

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kundun
Were you referring to me when you were discussing somebody not knowing the difference between a doc and a PA? I am quite aware of the differences and have knowingly made the decision to apply to PA school and not med school. I am fully convinced that I will not feel as though I cheated myself either. I think it speaks very highly of the profession when you look at the many practicing pa's and pa students that were fully qualified to complete med school, but decided that wasn't the best route for them to follow. I would appreciate a little more respect when you attempt to answer a question that was directed to Bradley anyway.
 

Bradley

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matthewb--

I'm not ignoring your question. I promise. I'll try to respond tomorrow (after I sleep and know which way is UP!). :)
 

matthewb

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Bradley
Don't feel rushed to answer. I completely understand. Thanks again.
 

kundun

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no, I was refering to nateholbrook. geez, why is everybody on this particular section of the discussion board seem to have a chip on their shoulder?? Of course I respect PAs and every member of the health care team...however, let's not forget who is ultimately in charge. Is that an arrogant statement? I don't think so. Its simply a fact. Furthermore, as a future physician assistant, that is a fact that you chose to accept.
 

Bradley

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matthewb-

First things first--is that "year one" as hard as everyone says? Simply put, yes. You will be vomiting medical information after awhile. But everyone does it, and most do it well. Its just a year--keep telling yourself that. We took alot of classes with the med students at Yale, and we were always so jealous of them because they had SOOOO much free time. They were out throwing frisbees while we were studying for 3 exams at once. Its a whole lot of info packed into a short time. BUT, you'll do it and look back and say "how the hell did I do that?" Its over before you know it....

Speaking of ER, I just ran over here to my office after flying a patient out from the ER to our parent hospital for further care. Fullminant CHF and and inferior MI--not doing well. It took about 2 hours to stabilize her enough to even make the 20 minute trip. Pressure bottomed out at 60/20, she turned sky blue (!), and 300cc of fluids for volume expansion put her into nasty failure. I exausted my supply of Lasix, Nitro, Morphine, and Heparin and she was on BiPAP with O2 sats of 75% on an FiO2 of 85% (!) and still rapidly heading for the [email protected]#tter! I was ready to intubate when the helicopter GODS (!) showed up. It was me and me only arranging things between the ER doc at the receiving hospital and the cardiologist trying to get this woman out of here. I was ready to turn her over to their housekeeping department, for God's sake-just so she was out of my ER! She may very well do ok though because we (me and my 3 nurses) moved quickly and knew what we were doing.

Oh by the way--I just told my backup doc about all of this now that she is safely in the air and stable. His response was "ok, sounds good. Anything else going on?" !!!!!!

Life in a rural ER......does that tell you a little of how I am utilized here? :)
 
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matthewb

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Bradley
Thank you very much for answering my questions. It really excites me to know that I will have an opportunity to practice emergency medicine as a PA. It is extremely difficult for me to get an accurate picture of how PA's are utilized because there simply are none in my area. I spent some time shadowing a couple at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis but I haven't been able to find any in an E.D. I really appreciate you doing this discussion. I will keep checking it and ask any more questions if I have them. Thanks again.
 

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Hello there!
I am a 23 yr. old student applying to PA school this Dec. I have been torn this last year whether to apply to med school or PA school. My stepmother is a PA and says if you're going to do the same work, why not go full speed ahead and be an MD/DO while I am young? I am curious as to your thoughts on this subject. It is a difficult situation, as I have a wayyyy less than perfect GPA, but do have 7 years of experience in health care. All along I have planned on becoming a PA, but lately considered the latter, as previously mentioned. As you were in a similar situation, I thought your opinion would be valuable. Thank you for your time.
 

lotchki6

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Hi Stayce,

I am in a very similar time in my life. I am 21, straight out of undergrad, and up until about a year ago, wasn't sure if I wanted to go the MD or PA route. Heck, I did not even know what a PA was until about 2 years ago, and even then I was disillusioned (sp?) about what a PA actually did. The more research I did, the more I realized that I wasn't in love with the idea of being a doc, but the idea of practicing medicine. I realized that becoming a PA would give me the opportunity to do everything I loved, without having to deal with that issues that made me not hesitant about being a doctor (i.e. a mandatory residency [which I will prob partake in as a PA, but for less years obviously], difficulty in changing specialties, lonnnng hours - overall a life style that I was not crazy about). This does not mean that I am not 1000% dedicated to medicine, but I also would like a life that is not medically related.

For these reasons, and a few others, I decided to apply to PA school in which I begin orientation TOMMOROW @ UMDNJ. Feel free to email if I can help anymore.

Mike S :cool:
 

yalepa

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Honestly, being a PA is so similar to being a doctor. I do everything the docs do here. When walk-ins come in, they are kind of divvied (?sp) up to either us PA's or a doc. THere is really no rhyme or reason to it. We don't get the simple stuff and they don't get the complex stuff. Its just whoever has time to see the patient. In mysituation I feel fortunate to be a PA because besides having clinic all day, I also cover the ER. The docs don't do that. In fact when the PA's are gone they dread covering the ER. So they are quite grateful that we like to. The docs spend a lot of time doing your average yearly physicals, which I personally find boring. I also, as a rule, don't follow really complex things like someone with diabetes AND CHF AND copd, etc. That can get pretty messy, and its nice to have the docs do stuff like that. Now, I certainly see those patients when their doc isn't available, so you still have to know about all of that stuff. But its drives me nuts to follow someones potassium day in and day out.

I work almost entirely autonomously here. But there is ALWAYS a doc available, even if just by phone 30 miles away. So that is nice to always have someone to bounce ideas off of when I see something thats confusing. 2 heads work better than one, doc or PA or whatever. The docs totally trust us and rarely question any of our decisions on anything. We are pretty much on our own.

PA school is 2 years at most schools, compared to 4 for the docs. BUt it actually comes down to a few months difference is all because we went through summers, holidays etc. It is HARD--I won't lie. But so is anything thats worth it. You don't have to do a residency, you can switch to different fields without additional schooling, and the hours for the most part are decent. No on-call--unless you WANT to moonlight in the ER. Which I encourage because its great experience managing more complex problems. No you don't make as much as a doc as far as your base salary. No surprise there. But I will tell you that with all of my ER moonlighting, I made about $115,000 this year!! By the way, the docs make about $110,000 here. SO THE MONEY AIN'T THAT BAD!!

let me know if you have any other questions...
 

lenub

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I believe that it is interesting that two PA's have listed their duties in the ER and we see such a disparity between the two. It sounds as if Brad is knee deep in the stuff while Yalepa is handling a more minor treatment aspect of ER medicine. I am not dissing yalepa, I am a medic who understands the ER. I am saying that it sounds as if Brad is handling the "messy" CHF'ers while yalepa "as a rule" does not.

I am struggling with the DO vs PA school debate. I have spent the last ten years as a medic. I am concerned about being chained to minor treatment. I do not mind handling the sutures and sprains but am concerned that I may have difficulty at a particular facility. These posts are teaching me that it just depends on where you are. I am encouraged by yalepa's salary. I am also encouraged by Brad's PA decision over DO school. Thanks to both of you.
 

NubianPrincess

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I am new and I had to participate. I am currently in a PA program but, like many it seems, am not sure whether to move on to PA study or MD study. Right now I am leaning towards MD because of my reasons for wanting to be a PA. I wanted to practice medicine and thought PA school would be a shorter, easier route. However, upon closer inspection of my curriculum and degree requirements, I realize that my ba/ma program involves three summers worth of study, in addition to 5 years. So im thinking "why not the MCAT instead of GRE?"
Both professions take hard work, discipline and dedication, as well as meticulous training and preperation. Im only a freshman with 20 transfer credits, my decision will afect my 2nd year classes (Organic for Med school, bio-organic for PA school)
I guess I have time.
 

yalepa

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uh-oh.....some confusion here. "Bradley" and "YALEPA" are the same person. they are both me! so sorry for teh confusion. It never occurred that everyone ELSE knew this information, besides me. I was on a different computer at one time and could not remember my password, so I got a new one with a diffrent login name. Again, so sorry.

On a different note, with this knowledge now known, I'm interested in how Bradley's and YALEPA's duties differ in the ER. REmember, when I said I handle some of the less complicated pts, that was for CLINIC. In the ER, I handle EVERYTHING! There is no one else to do it. Hope that clears things up...

Bradley A.K.A. YALEPA :rolleyes:
 

Emedpa

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more E/R. pa stuff...as an e.r. p.a. I am thinking about going back to school to become an md/do so that I can work less hours for the same money. many p.a.'s in e.r.'s work significantly more hours than their md/do counterparts, seeing the same patients for 1/3 to 1/2 the salary.in my e.r. group, the md/do staff work 14 8 hr shifts/month and the pa/np staff work 13-16 12 hr shifts/month.
as a group, er p.a.'s probably have a better scope of practice on the east coast or in rural settings than most p.a.'s on the west coast.scope also varies considerably based on what state you work in.I work at 3 e.r.'s in 2 states and the experiences couldn't be more different. in 1 state, the docs want to know if I am doing a procedure, in another state I have yet to meet my supervising physician of record and my practice description says"may treat ambulatory/urgent/emergent patients using any procedures necessary" period.
if you are serious about working in an er(and want to be taken seriously) you need to take all of the short certification courses the er docs do. by this I mean things like acls/pals/atls/nals/etc. once you have done that, becoming an instructor in 1 or more of these courses goes a long way to earning the respect of the docs you work with. I can't tell you how much fun it is to fail clueless docs(internists especially) who did not study their acls manual before I tested them in the megacode station!
 

ChillerK

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Hey everyone-

I'm wondering if I can get some advice/opinions. I just finished grad school with my Masters in Business Administration, and am now working in the corporate world. I was a bio major in college for about 3 years, with plans of med school or vet school. I hate to say it, but I chickened out. I spoke to some doctors, and heard too many horror stories about being a doctor nowadays. Since I didnt know what else I wanted to do I got my MBA. Dumb. I really hate my job, and wish I had not gone yellow a few years ago.

Anyway, I am wondering if there is any way that my business degree / experience could be an advantage in a career as a PA? Will it be of no use whatsoever? Should I chalk the last 3 years of my life up to learning about what I dont like, or can I use the experience to my advantage? What do the PA's out there think?

Also, I have already racked up a bunch of debt in educational loans, and am wondering what I can do while I finish out my pre-req's so that I can get better scholarships.

Thanks in advance for your help and opinions!

Chilly
 
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