Febrifuge

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Here's a question that seemingly will not die. I've been through the phase where I'm paranoid it's just me, and got over that when I saw like 8 threads on the same theme in the Allied folder, the Allo folder, the pre-med folders... but I think maybe this is a job for the Non-Trads.

Because we have a little life experience, and because more than a few of us have thought the question through, or are doing so right now -- maybe we can come up with a framework for considering the question. It's a case of "do I do med school, then residency, and be a doc starting at age 40-something?" versus "would I be satisfied to reap the rewards of being a mid-level?" But that's a question that needs context. We're pre-meds. What we know is not enough to get us directly to a conclusion.

I know I could use a way to know whether I'm obsessing about stupid details, or actually considering the important factors that will affect my life. So far, I've figured out that you can't approach it as anything other than "which choice is the best fit for what I want to do." You can't go into it wondering "would x be good enough?" or "would y be too much?" You can't think about what's easier (neither is, really), or which is more cost-effective (that depends on how long you look at it).

Even time is no good test, because eventually we'll all be 70 years old, and the only thing we don't have time for is something that doesn't make us happy. That's why we're non-trads in the first place.

So I'm thinking it's a question that goes something like this:

Would I rather be a well-respected chef getting great reviews in a popular restaurant, or would I feel like I need to own the place, and make decisions about the menu, the decor, the hiring and firing?

Would I rather be the bass player in a touring rock band, or would I feel like I need to be out front writing the songs, singing lead, and dealing with the press and the record company?

Would I rather be a master carpenter and practice my trade, or would I feel like I'd be happier running the contracting company, or designing the house?

Would I rather be Tom Sizemore in Saving Private Ryan, or Tom Hanks? :D

For those of you who've made the decision about which road to take as an "older" student... how did you approach the question, and come up with the answer that was right? How do ya get this question to settle down and become one that can be answered?
 

efex101

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I wanted to be the "top dog" so to speak..where the buck stops hence I *never* considered PA ever. Also I pretty much kind of know that I am not headed towards primary care so *that* also plays a role on which path to choose. Many states are now allowing PA/NP to practice on their own without physician supervision just fyi.
 

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Febrifuge said:
For those of you who've made the decision about which road to take as an "older" student... how did you approach the question, and come up with the answer that was right? How do ya get this question to settle down and become one that can be answered?
If I had a health care background - I'd go PA because it would be faster.
Since I don't - it'd take approximately as long as the med school road. So why not go all the way?
 

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Hi there,
Since I already had a doctorate when I applied for medical school, I never considered back-tracking to become a PA. I was interested in research and knew that the PA route would not be what I wanted. It really doesn't take that much longer to get the MD/DO. The MD/DO gives you hundreds more options that doing the PA thing. If time is really that tight, then go PA but you might find yourself wondering if you could have stuck it out for a couple more years and gotten the MD/DO.

Good luck!
njbmd :)
 

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Roman said:
If I had a health care background - I'd go PA because it would be faster.
Since I don't - it'd take approximately as long as the med school road. So why not go all the way?
I have a health care background (paramedic). One thing I knew for sure was that if I was gonna go back to school, it was going to be all the way. My nature is to make the decisions, and I won't be happy with less.
 

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I had quite a bit of healthcare experience, and I thought about being a PA, but in the end I knew MD was the right choice. Don't think of PA as being a short cut to what you want to do, it is two totally different careers with its own set of options. I have seen people on SDN talk about being a surgical PA and how great it is, well as a med student I have first assisted a number of surgeries, I can tell you I would never be satisfied if that was the extent of my surgical practice. Don't get me wrong, I am sure that many of those surg PAs have the skill to perform that operation if something were to happen to the attending, but first assist is the price you pay for not going all the way. I think if your goal was to do family practice then the decision might be a little more difficult to make, but if you are interested at all in any subspecialty then go all the way, I don't think you will regret it in the long run. There are plenty of nontrads in med school. Good luck.
 
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Thanks, all. I guess I should explain why I continue to struggle.

I might find I like research a little, but I'm 99% sure I just want to be a clinician.

I'm definitely into primary care, and doubt that I'll catch the fever for a subspecialty. I love EM (I'm a tech now in a big county ED), and variety is key for me. Maybe I'll get all fascinated about pediatric asthma or nephrology or something, but not to the point where I'd want to focus on something to the exclusion of what I've come to know as "regular" medicine.

Having said that, I'm attracted to the idea that as a PA, one is cross-trained and can pretty much switch areas of practice entirely, if one can find a job. So I could work in EM, then Ortho, then FP, then EM again over the course of 20 years. (Naturally, as an EM doc I wouldn't exactly be boxed in to the same patients; I could still move from county to academic to suburban private if there was a job available.)

Anyway, I'm not thinking PA is a shortcut to anything. It's more like I'm thinking PA is more of what I like and less of what I don't. Still, thanks to one and all, and keep 'em coming.
 

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:eek: I was so glad to read your post and discover I am not the only one struggling with the same dilema. You did not mention your age...but I will go ahead and stick my neck out here and give mine. I feel it is pretty relavent.
I am 41 years old. I have a nursing background but for the past 10+ years my career has been as an Operations Manager (and most recently compliance manager) for a Family Practice Residency program. I agree with you when you say you must decide if you want to be the big cheese or will be satisfied with being a mid level. I am definately a type A with a need to be in control. Obviously the main priority in any clinical setting is the patient need. I am very interested in rural health care and indigent care. I am just worried about leaving a huge financial burdon on my family. Actually, I am really considering PA vs Dental school. I know that sounds a bit strange, but if you think about it, it really isn't. They can both be primary care and there is a definate need for both in rural health and indigent care. I have no doubt that I am fully capable and feel non-traditional students may have some advantage over younger candates simply by virtue of experience both in life and in the field of choice. An older student definately has more at stake. I don't have that many years to be fooling around finishing whatever program I choose...and will have little chance for retirement...guess I will just have to take lots of vacations. That is if I can afford it!

Febrifuge said:
Thanks, all. I guess I should explain why I continue to struggle.

I might find I like research a little, but I'm 99% sure I just want to be a clinician.

I'm definitely into primary care, and doubt that I'll catch the fever for a subspecialty. I love EM (I'm a tech now in a big county ED), and variety is key for me. Maybe I'll get all fascinated about pediatric asthma or nephrology or something, but not to the point where I'd want to focus on something to the exclusion of what I've come to know as "regular" medicine.

Having said that, I'm attracted to the idea that as a PA, one is cross-trained and can pretty much switch areas of practice entirely, if one can find a job. So I could work in EM, then Ortho, then FP, then EM again over the course of 20 years. (Naturally, as an EM doc I wouldn't exactly be boxed in to the same patients; I could still move from county to academic to suburban private if there was a job available.)

Anyway, I'm not thinking PA is a shortcut to anything. It's more like I'm thinking PA is more of what I like and less of what I don't. Still, thanks to one and all, and keep 'em coming.
 

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Febrifuge said:
It's a case of "do I do med school, then residency, and be a doc starting at age 40-something?" versus "would I be satisfied to reap the rewards of being a mid-level?"
I started medical school at age 40. I'm in my 4th year of medical school. The clincher for me was this thought: "I am going to be 45 regardless, so I can either be 45 and be a doctor, or I can be 45 and be something else."

I have no regrets. You should make a decision that will result in no regrets. And you shouldn't let age (which is a very relative thing) cause you to make the wrong one.

Febrifuge said:
Would I rather be the bass player in a touring rock band, or would I feel like I need to be out front writing the songs, singing lead, and dealing with the press and the record company?
I don't think this is an accurate metaphore for PA vs MD. It's not a question about being out in front or in the background. The bass player is the expert in playing the bass. The PA is not an expert in medicine. Check out this link for comments on PA vs MD for nontraditional applicants.
 

efex101

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I have visited this website before is this you? btw what residency are you pursuing?
 

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efex101 said:
I have visited this website before is this you? btw what residency are you pursuing?
Hi. Yes, it's mine. I'm considering IM or EM. How about you?
 

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Febrifuge said:
Here's a question that seemingly will not die. I've been through the phase where I'm paranoid it's just me, and got over that when I saw like 8 threads on the same theme in the Allied folder, the Allo folder, the pre-med folders... but I think maybe this is a job for the Non-Trads.

Because we have a little life experience, and because more than a few of us have thought the question through, or are doing so right now -- maybe we can come up with a framework for considering the question. It's a case of "do I do med school, then residency, and be a doc starting at age 40-something?" versus "would I be satisfied to reap the rewards of being a mid-level?" But that's a question that needs context. We're pre-meds. What we know is not enough to get us directly to a conclusion.

I know I could use a way to know whether I'm obsessing about stupid details, or actually considering the important factors that will affect my life. So far, I've figured out that you can't approach it as anything other than "which choice is the best fit for what I want to do." You can't go into it wondering "would x be good enough?" or "would y be too much?" You can't think about what's easier (neither is, really), or which is more cost-effective (that depends on how long you look at it).

Even time is no good test, because eventually we'll all be 70 years old, and the only thing we don't have time for is something that doesn't make us happy. That's why we're non-trads in the first place.

So I'm thinking it's a question that goes something like this:

Would I rather be a well-respected chef getting great reviews in a popular restaurant, or would I feel like I need to own the place, and make decisions about the menu, the decor, the hiring and firing?

Would I rather be the bass player in a touring rock band, or would I feel like I need to be out front writing the songs, singing lead, and dealing with the press and the record company?

Would I rather be a master carpenter and practice my trade, or would I feel like I'd be happier running the contracting company, or designing the house?

Would I rather be Tom Sizemore in Saving Private Ryan, or Tom Hanks? :D

For those of you who've made the decision about which road to take as an "older" student... how did you approach the question, and come up with the answer that was right? How do ya get this question to settle down and become one that can be answered?
I feel your pain, I'm 29 years old, female, single, no kids. I have a boyfriend and more recently have considered going the PA route. But the question in my mind that doesn't hit a man my age or older or even a younger woman who is going to med school is "am I going to be satisfied with my life?"

I've already been accepted into med school and am scheduled to depart this fall. But I can't help to wonder, if/when I will want to settle, will the person I'm with walk me through this tough course. Will we be strong enough to bring a family into the equation? (b/c of course I'm not going to be fertile forever?) Will we be "ok" financially? I am no longer on my parent's ticket for education, but can I suffuce going to an expensive school w/a life long partner financially deployed?

I know there are tons of you out there who would say "screw the man and get on with your career.." well we each have our own decisions as to how we want to live our lives. I don't feel that's fair to me or the person I'm with. And a few of you may be asking "why didnt' you just go to med school earlier?" After working and taking pre-med courses this whole journey has taken almost 4 years!

I've worked in research clinical and biochemical research for 3 years. Research is not what I want to do, I want to do patient care.

Any advice anyone may want to give would be appreciated.
 

efex101

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well being a first year who knows but I do like procedures a lot so maybe GI or some other procedure heavy subspecialty of IM. Surgery is also a possibility...
 

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oldgirl said:
I feel your pain, I'm 29 years old, female, single, no kids. ... Any advice anyone may want to give would be appreciated.
Congratulations on getting accepted to medical school. I have a few female classmates around 30 years old, who got married or started having kids in medical school. It isn't easy, but there are people out there who can make it work. I think http://www.MomMD.com has a mentor program that might be worth checking out.

There are several ways to deal with the finances. You will get all the loans you need, and maybe some grant money. Your school will see to that. If you don't want the loans, you can look into the military, NIH, or the National Health Corp. Also, most states have loan repayment programs if you work in an underserved area.

I agree with you that the "screw the boyfriend" approach isn't necessarily the best way to go. Especially if you think this guy's the one. If he's supportive, and you're both willing to compromise, there's every reason to believe it can work.
 

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ntmed said:
Congratulations on getting accepted to medical school. I have a few female classmates around 30 years old, who got married or started having kids in medical school. It isn't easy, but there are people out there who can make it work. I think http://www.MomMD.com has a mentor program that might be worth checking out.

There are several ways to deal with the finances. You will get all the loans you need, and maybe some grant money. Your school will see to that. If you don't want the loans, you can look into the military, NIH, or the National Health Corp. Also, most states have loan repayment programs if you work in an underserved area.

I agree with you that the "screw the boyfriend" approach isn't necessarily the best way to go. Especially if you think this guy's the one. If he's supportive, and you're both willing to compromise, there's every reason to believe it can work.

Thank you so much for your understanding and support. I will definitely hit the mommd site you sent out.
 

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ntmed said:
I started medical school at age 40. I'm in my 4th year of medical school. The clincher for me was this thought: "I am going to be 45 regardless, so I can either be 45 and be a doctor, or I can be 45 and be something else."

[/URL].
That's SO true. I think that's the best way to look at it. Time flies by, and you can be 50, and enjoying your profession, or 50 just going through the motions, not having took many chances in life.

Being a physician offers so many possibilities down the road. When you're 65 and want to slow down a bit, you can always work part time. It's almost a crime how much you can do with an MD/DO degree.

As far as the money thing goes, you WILL be able to pay back your loans and STILL live a comfortable life. As a doctor, you will always make at least a comfortable living. This will allow you to have a good lifestyle, and if you live within your means, you'll be able to pay back your loans no problem.
 
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Absolutely right. But in the interests of fairness, I've had PA's tell me the exact same thing. Money, career satisfaction, opportunities for other things... it all works out, if you pick the right thing for you.

It does seem to be true that looking farther down the road is an important point of deciding to do either, or to decide between them. Ultimately, we non-trads should do what we need to, to get where we truly want to be. We've all gotten this far, and just need to find the right niche in the medical world.
 

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And this has helped me out some. Well, this thread and others along the same line. I'm not type A, but I am a good student. But I also don't like playing second fiddle. I'm not even that much of a nontrad (only 24), but it seems that way sometimes with all of the people in my pre-req courses! I think my original course of MD shall stay true. However, I must say that I have a huge concern with trying to also have some semblance of a life outside the medical arena. You know, those wife and kid things. So, that is what is really putting me in this pucker. :confused:
 

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Actually, I am really considering PA vs Dental school. I know that sounds a bit strange, but if you think about it, it really isn't. They can both be primary care and there is a definate need for both in rural health and indigent care. I have no doubt that I am fully capable and feel non-traditional students may have some advantage over younger candates simply by virtue of experience both in life and in the field of choice. An older student definately has more at stake. I don't have that many years to be fooling around finishing whatever program I choose...and will have little chance for retirement...guess I will just have to take lots of vacations. That is if I can afford it![/QUOTE]

It took me a couple of years to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I kept going back and forth between med school and PA school. Having worked in the medical field, I realized that I love "practicing medicine" but I don't like the direction medicine is taking. I realized that (most, my op only) doctors get to only practice quality unadulterated patient care some of the time. Also, for me it became increasingly frustrating working on patients (I was an OR tech) late into the night when I could've been at home watching TV or something. I didn't think the sacrifice was worth it. My family being neglected while I'm gone working on an alcoholic liver. There's more too it, but it's too long.
So I knew I didn't want to be a physician, and I thought I would be happy being a PA. I applied and was accepted. Doing that really put things into perspective. I never started and decided on dental school instead. It's been the best decision (for me) yet! Every reason I had for not wanting to be a MD or PA was resolved in being a dentist!
I will be in school for four years, with no residency requirement after, I can just start practicing! (I will be 32 when I'm done.)
I can OWN my own practice and work WHATEVER days and hours I want.
I will be making a physician's salary.
I may not save lives everyday, but I will be directly impacting peoples lives and treating patients.
Since I was an OR Tech, I knew I wanted to do something "hands on." That's what dentists do!
I will have minimal malpractice risks compared to physicians.

I can't think of any more right now. But I relate to what people think when you're considering two seemingly unrelated professions.
 

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Febrifuge said:
Thanks, all. I guess I should explain why I continue to struggle.

I might find I like research a little, but I'm 99% sure I just want to be a clinician.

I'm definitely into primary care, and doubt that I'll catch the fever for a subspecialty. I love EM (I'm a tech now in a big county ED), and variety is key for me. Maybe I'll get all fascinated about pediatric asthma or nephrology or something, but not to the point where I'd want to focus on something to the exclusion of what I've come to know as "regular" medicine.

Having said that, I'm attracted to the idea that as a PA, one is cross-trained and can pretty much switch areas of practice entirely, if one can find a job. So I could work in EM, then Ortho, then FP, then EM again over the course of 20 years. (Naturally, as an EM doc I wouldn't exactly be boxed in to the same patients; I could still move from county to academic to suburban private if there was a job available.)

Anyway, I'm not thinking PA is a shortcut to anything. It's more like I'm thinking PA is more of what I like and less of what I don't. Still, thanks to one and all, and keep 'em coming.
I presume you are a female by your avitar. I do not mean to be sexist but I might add each pursuit differs greatly in respect to having children. Yes, there are plenty of women in medicine who managed both and I say that's great. However, I have met several residents who had children through residency and they truly felt that they have made a mistake :confused: . I was shocked when I was told this. Becoming a doctor is not a process that has a definite ending. Med school (getting in and doing well)-residency (getting the one you want)-fellowship-paying back loans- call-malpractice-managing an office staff of which you are legally and financially responsible for (i.e. coding errors, insurance negotiations, vindictive former employees looking to report you to the feds :mad: , etc.)- call - malpractice insurance - the list goes on and on. Honestly, you need to examine what matters most to you and what you are willing to sacrifice. Do you NEED MD on the end of your name to give your life worth? Not saying that you do, but for some, this is a driving force in their decision.
 

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Obedeli said:
I presume you are a female by your avitar.

Quite an assumption there. You were replying to a male. ;)
 

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Well, it is kinda hard around here knowing who is what :confused: . I was going on the avatar (not thinking that was the actual person but at least a representative of their sex). I do not think it was that far off of an assumption but hey, I was wrong. :cool:
My advice can certainly still apply.
 
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Yep, don't judge the book by the cover. Still, I appreciate the point you're putting across. I do want to be a great dad someday, and I have it in me to do so. But would it be fair to look at my kids and think about them as a limiting factor? Maybe it wouldn't even occur to me to think that way. Dunno.

As for the rest, if I do stay in EM, we can dispense with some of the things you cautioned against. There would be no call, no running an office...
 

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Wow, thanks so much for your comments. You summed up my feelings exactly. I am an Operations Manager for a Family Practice Residency Program. I work not only in operations but as a Compliance Educator for the residents. My boss called me into her office several months ago and told me if I did not get a Masters Degree I would be passed over for promotion. Being the Type A I am, I practically ran out of her office and signed up. But I sat in my chair and took a deep breath and said to myself, "what the He.. are you thinking.." I knew right then and there that this was my opportunity to do what I really wanted to do and that was become a medical proffessional. I researched MD/PA/Chiro/Optom/Pod and decided basically for the same reasons you did and a few more, considering my close proximity to the resident sector, that Dentistry was the best option for me. It is perfect. I am very interested in rural healthcare and indigent care it is no secret that when faced with the choice of spending your last few dollars on a medical visit vs a Dental visit what will win hands down. Many people just do not realize the importance and systemic relationship between good oral health and overall general heath. I am definately excited about my choice and you have really helped me to see that I am not the only one who sees things the same way. Thanks again.

albuquerquegirl said:
Actually, I am really considering PA vs Dental school. I know that sounds a bit strange, but if you think about it, it really isn't. They can both be primary care and there is a definate need for both in rural health and indigent care. I have no doubt that I am fully capable and feel non-traditional students may have some advantage over younger candates simply by virtue of experience both in life and in the field of choice. An older student definately has more at stake. I don't have that many years to be fooling around finishing whatever program I choose...and will have little chance for retirement...guess I will just have to take lots of vacations. That is if I can afford it!
It took me a couple of years to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I kept going back and forth between med school and PA school. Having worked in the medical field, I realized that I love "practicing medicine" but I don't like the direction medicine is taking. I realized that (most, my op only) doctors get to only practice quality unadulterated patient care some of the time. Also, for me it became increasingly frustrating working on patients (I was an OR tech) late into the night when I could've been at home watching TV or something. I didn't think the sacrifice was worth it. My family being neglected while I'm gone working on an alcoholic liver. There's more too it, but it's too long.
So I knew I didn't want to be a physician, and I thought I would be happy being a PA. I applied and was accepted. Doing that really put things into perspective. I never started and decided on dental school instead. It's been the best decision (for me) yet! Every reason I had for not wanting to be a MD or PA was resolved in being a dentist!
I will be in school for four years, with no residency requirement after, I can just start practicing! (I will be 32 when I'm done.)
I can OWN my own practice and work WHATEVER days and hours I want.
I will be making a physician's salary.
I may not save lives everyday, but I will be directly impacting peoples lives and treating patients.
Since I was an OR Tech, I knew I wanted to do something "hands on." That's what dentists do!
I will have minimal malpractice risks compared to physicians.

I can't think of any more right now. But I relate to what people think when you're considering two seemingly unrelated professions.[/QUOTE]
 

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DrMom said:
Quite an assumption there. You were replying to a male. ;)

Don't ask, don't tell?
 

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A word if I may.....

Medicine is a calling if you will. Do not go into medicine for money as there are many other ways to make a million dollars with half the debt and schooling. Don't do it just to have the letters behind your name, if that is all you are in it for, then just add the letters and save yourself 12-15 years of 100 hr weeks and 300K debt. Now if you truly want to get into medicine for the right reasons, personal satisfaction, growth, education, person-person interaction, caring for individuals when they need you the most, at the time when they feel the weakest, and doing it because you want to and not because you are paid to do it (that is always the perk), then medical school is for you.

I took the long road to medical school....I was premed in 95 (little known factoid : 94-96 was the largest influx of medical students on the books....) when I didn't get in I took a job in construction....a solid career choice, moved through the ranks to the top position of superintendent....great job, good pay, respect of peers and family, just didn't feel complete.....so I took a job in the power industry for more money, again, respect blah blah blah, and again, just didn't feel like it was the job I wanted to do forever......doing it for the money was not the answer.
So I took a shot at nursing, thought it would be the answer to calm the craving I had to be in healthcare..... I took a job in the ER in a level 2 trauma center upon graduation, I must say I have learned a lot....Being a nurse, working with interns, residents and attendings made me realize one thing.....I was not happy being just a nurse, I wouldn't be happy as a mid level provider (PA/NP) and started on the road to medical school.....again.

I am comfortable and confident with my decision to go to medical school. Sacrifices will be made now for happiness later.....

Mark

LECOM c/o 2009
 

tony1853

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Hi all. Some have you may have read my posts in the Allied Health section. I have been looking into PA programs at the BS level, and I am returning to school starting this summer to complete the pre-reqs. I have been of this mindset for about a month and a half now...however, in the last 2 weeks, I have been bedeviled by indecision...as in "will I be truly fulfilled as a mid-level practitioner, or will I only find satisfaction by becoming a physician?"

It is a huge question.

Up until mid-January, I was working as an accountant. I have been in accountancy on and off for about 10 years. I have never enjoyed it. The greatest symptom was my frequent job changes...I never lasted longer than 1.5 yrs at any employer. I would always find something wrong with the place as an excuse to leave. After much reflection, I realize that it is because I have no passion or genuine interest in accounting. I became so morose that I summarily quit my last job...without any sort of safety net. I felt suffocated and had to get out fast.

I have always had an interest in medicine (since the age of 8). From 96- 98, I was a pre-med major, but a critical illness in the family required me to drop out and go back to work in accounting to provide financial support. I managed to earn a 3.4 GPA overall, with a 3.8 in the sciences, did some research in dinosaur paleontology (long story), published two abstracts and got a paper into peer review, and made it into Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges (1998 edition).

I just turned 33, I am married and do not have children. My wife says she will completely support me whether I decide to go to PA school or to med school - and I believe her. Also of great importance is that my wife has always wanted to be a lawyer...and we had discussed her looking into law school after I graduated from PA school. If I went to med school, her going to law school would be put off for some time.

I must admit that I am concerned with age...I am not sure why I am so concerned though. Many people have told me that I am going to turn 40 anyway, so I may as well be 40 and a doctor. And I agree...but one must question the lifestyle during those years...between the age of 33 and 40 - the trials and hardships to be faced in becoming a physician. I think that concerns me the most - after all, I could begin practicing at 43 or 44, giving me 20+ years in which to practice - so I am not so concerned about being "too old" to embark on this - it is more a question of how hard will life become for me and my wife. I am most concerned about her - I sometimes feel like this is something I am putting her through. We could have a very comfortable life had I remained to this day in any one of the accounting positions I bailed out on over the the last 10 years.

I think that one of the reasons I initially favored PA school is because I will be back earning a living in a relatively short period of time - I have one summer semester, and then the following fall and spring semesters to complete pre-reqs, and I was looking to get into a PA program and begin in summer 2006. So, by 2008, I could be practicing and earning.

I am torn between PA school and med school...and I need to make a decision before I register for courses this summer, because the coursework to complete my bio BS will be different than the prereqs for PA programs...I don't want to waste any more time by choosing courses in support of one path, and then changing my mind a year from now.

GOOD LORD - please forgive that book that I wrote...I just realized it's size! :sleep:
 

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tony1853 said:
I am torn between PA school and med school...

Tony--

I too can feel your pain, as do most non-traditional students.....Medicine is a calling, as you can attest, doing something you don't want to do makes it all the more painful. Nothing is wrong with accounting, many people do it every day and think it is the greatest thing devised by man....personally can't stand to do it for more then a few minutes at a time let alone trying to make a career of it....

Now for the big question... midlevel PA/NP vs Doctor.....Now this is something that I have a lot of time invested in.....I have been a practicing RN for the last 3+ years and love working in health care....In fact I love being an ER RN because of the autonomy that we are afforded in that environment. I make a decent wage for an RN, not a ton, but I only work locally. But here is the catch....I always wanted to be a doctor so being a nurse is like a tease.....Yeah sure I have autonomy, and I know what to do in most cases and know that my doc's will back me on whatever I do, but I don't like having to go to them to ask.....I still feel constricted, limited, too much like a servant.....Now as a midlevel, I would have increased autonomy, ability to write prescriptions and the works, however, I am still limited by the fact that I must approach and explain my case to my attending....

With that said, I begin classes this August....LECOM C/O 2009.....Now even if I would not have gotten into medical school this past year, I would have kept on trying because I know in my heart of hearts that I will never be truly satisfied if I do not pursue my dream of being a physician. It sounds as though you too have this same drive and desire, and in my opinion you probably won't be truly satisfied if you sell your self short and take the PA route.....don't look at it as a money thing......look at it as a career thing....think long term, what do you want to be doing in 10 years......bouncing the runny noses off your attending or enjoying your practice as a physician.....

Take the time to sit and discuss with your wife your decisions as this is crucial....medical school is demanding on the student and even more so on the family.....she needs to recognize the constraints on your time, and you need to realize that she still needs to have you around......All in all if it is something you believe in your heart that you want to be a doctor, then go for it.....

Mark
 

Spectre27

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Wow, this decision isn't getting any easier. :scared:

I mean, most people on here say that you should become a doctor. Of course, this is also a semi-biased sample since most of the people here want to or are in the process of becoming doctors. I would have to say that ALL of the doctors, nurses, and PAs I have talked to lately have told me to go to PA school. Of course, there is always that elitism that some of the doctors I've talked to seem to hold dear...

I'm not sure I will be happy with mid-level, but I am 100% sure that I won't be happy not being there for my kids. I definitely can't do dentistry--seems very boring to me and I am not a huge fan of the oral cavity. Definitely not going to make nearly as much money, but growing up in a household of 5 with a $35K family income made me realize you don't need much. I'm not type A and I don't need letters. All I want to do is help people and make a difference. Is taking on $200K debt and 8-9 more years of school worth it? I've made a list of things I would like to do in my life and becoming a physician is on there. But perhaps I need to become more open-minded and put health care practitioner on there since coaching a Little League team is also on that list.

I have a quote posted on my desk by Winston Churchill, "You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give." Now, the problem is in interpretation: do I give more the to community to the detriment of my family or do I give more to my family at the POSSIBLE detriment to the community? Possible only because how much do you think you are on the ball in those last 6 hours of a 36 hour shift?

Just so much to sort through. :confused: As George's dad on Seinfeld would say, "Serenity now!"
 

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Spectre27 said:
Wow, this decision isn't getting any easier.
Well, you have to remember, we all have our different situations, beliefs, support systems and so on....In the end, no matter how many opinions you field, you are the only person that will be able to fully understand how sacrificing one thing for another will affect your inner being. Take the time to sit down with your inner circle and debate the pro's and con's. In the end you will have the one true answer....your key to happiness so to speak.
:cool:
 

QofQuimica

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I'm bringing up this old topic again because a friend got me thinking about it. My question is a little different: how does one go about justifying the decision to pursue an MD to OTHERS after having made the decision oneself?

I am starting out with a PhD in chemistry, and I want to go into clinical research, which is why I'm wanting to get an MD. Seems logical enough to me. The age issue doesn't concern me personally, because like someone else said, ten years from now I'll be 40 no matter what I do during that period. I haven't ever considered going the PA or RN route, because those are not degrees that people normally get if they want to do clinical RESEARCH. Sure, I could get a PhD in nursing, but that wouldn't save me any time, and it strikes me as being rather ridiculous to get a second PhD. One PhD ought to be enough for a lifetime!

So my question is how to justify my decision to interviewers, if and when I am fortunate enough to be in such a position. Because on one hand, I don't want to sound like I'm bashing RNs or PAs; they both play vital roles as part of a health care team. But, as in clinical practice, they are generally not the people who are designing and running the clinical trials. On the other hand, I would try to emphasize to an interviewer that I don't want to stay in basic research; I want to do clinical research. So I need to make the point that I am committed to clinical work, but that the MD is the only clinical degree that is appropriate for me to pursue based on my goals.
 

medtechv79

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QofQuimica said:
I'm bringing up this old topic again because a friend got me thinking about it. My question is a little different: how does one go about justifying the decision to pursue an MD to OTHERS after having made the decision oneself?

I am starting out with a PhD in chemistry, and I want to go into clinical research, which is why I'm wanting to get an MD. Seems logical enough to me. The age issue doesn't concern me personally, because like someone else said, ten years from now I'll be 40 no matter what I do during that period. I haven't ever considered going the PA or RN route, because those are not degrees that people normally get if they want to do clinical RESEARCH. Sure, I could get a PhD in nursing, but that wouldn't save me any time, and it strikes me as being rather ridiculous to get a second PhD. One PhD ought to be enough for a lifetime!

So my question is how to justify my decision to interviewers, if and when I am fortunate enough to be in such a position. Because on one hand, I don't want to sound like I'm bashing RNs or PAs; they both play vital roles as part of a health care team. But, as in clinical practice, they are generally not the people who are designing and running the clinical trials. On the other hand, I would try to emphasize to an interviewer that I don't want to stay in basic research; I want to do clinical research. So I need to make the point that I am committed to clinical work, but that the MD is the only clinical degree that is appropriate for me to pursue based on my goals.

This may sound like a dumb question but if you already have a PHD you can't try and find a job in a biopharm or biotech company? Wouldn't you be able to do clinical research there? But I assume you mean research that relates to treatment of diseases, cancer and such....
I don't have much info. there but I would assume that med schools would love to have more clinical researchers...I mean we already have so many primary care doctors you know? And researchers are on the forefront of new discoveries and treatments...I don't see why you would have any trouble getting into med school...
 

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This is a very interesting thread. Thanks, Q, for resurrecting it!

Making the midlevel vs. MD decision has to be one of the hardest things I've ever done.

I came into the health care field a little late to begin with due to some [email protected] decisions I made when I was 19. Once that whole situation cleared up at age 22, the biggest priority for me was to get a job where I could actually support myself and not have to choose between food and rent. So I went to a community college and got an Associate's Degree in Nursing, always knowing that it was only going to be a stepping stone degree. I just didn't know exactly what I wanted to step up to. Actually, come to think of it, that's not exactly true. I knew I wanted to go to medical school (there is a part of me that would happily spend the rest of my days getting one degree after another). I just wasn't sure that I actually wanted to be a doctor.

Once I graduated, I looked at everyone around me. I talked to MDs, NPs, PAs, APNs, nurse educators, you name it... if a person had some "letters," I was sitting down for a conversation. I did get some practical information on lifestyle things, but nobody could tell me what I really wanted to know... would I be happy doing it? I had to figure it out for myself. Meanwhile the years kept ticking away. I was growing increasingly dissatisfied with floor nursing but found myself in absolute stasis regarding a decision about my future. Ultimately I realized that I really did want to be a doctor, but I felt so old! (yeah, right, I was 27.) I couldn't figure out how I would swing it financially and I was concerned about being 37 with a ticking bio clock. So I applied to an ADN-->NP program (my shortest option) and was accepted.

I never matriculated. Every time I went to fill out a piece of paperwork or whatnot for the program I felt this dark cloud of doom come down upon me. When I looked at the classes I was supposed to take I felt... well, this will sound odd, but I felt repulsed. It was all the stuff I had hated from nursing school (nursing theory) and none of the things I had liked (patho, pharm, clinical skills). I'm sure those subjects of interest were in the curriculum somewhere along the way but I was not about to wade through a river of total crap in order to get there. It became crystal clear that NP was not the right decision for me.

The biggest factor in my final decision to go to medical school was the depth of the education. I realized that the thing that frustrated me most about nursing was not feeling as if I knew enough background to do my job effectively. (That's actually bunk... ADN programs do a good job of providing enough information to be a nurse... but I was trying to predict every move the docs made and feeling stupid when they came up with a dx or rx I hadn't.) I was concerned that a PA program would leave me just as frustrated. I wanted the autonomy in practice, and I wanted the ultimate responsibility. I came to the decision that I was going to have to go to med school or get out of health care altogether lest I just grow sad and bitter. I couldn't bear to leave health care, so here I am.

If I get in this application cycle, I'll be 32 when I matriculate. I am interested in a variety of specialties and anticipate a residency of 4-7 years. So I'm looking at 40-43 when I'm finished. That's plenty of time to practice. I don't anticipate having kids, but if I change my mind, so be it. It can be done.

The thing that gives me the greatest peace about my decision is that now I know that I won't be 80 years old in my rocking chair at the nursing home wondering if I would have been able to hack medical school or if I would have made a good physician. For better or worse, I'll have the answers to those questions. The thing that gives me the greatest intellectual satisfaction is that I will be able to challenge myself alongside some of the smartest and hardest working people in the country. The thing that gives me the greatest emotional satisfaction is that I will be able to continue helping people and affecting lives on the most basic of levels while using my abilities to the utmost.

It was the right decision for me, I am sure of it. Now I just need to be able to translate this story into a [email protected] personal statement so that I can actually get in and make it happen!

Best of luck to everyone trying to make the decision. If my experience is any guide, you'll know when it's the right one at the right time. Thanks for reading my verbosity and I hope it's helpful for someone!
 
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QofQuimica

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medtechv79 said:
This may sound like a dumb question but if you already have a PHD you can't try and find a job in a biopharm or biotech company? Wouldn't you be able to do clinical research there?...
Yes, and I do have a job like that now. But it's completely bench work. I am trained as a synthetic organic chemist, so they'd never let me touch a person. :smuggrin:
 

childai

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Just wondering if there were any PA's out there who have gone back to medical school or thinking about going back to medical school. I struggle with this issue from time to time. Mostly happy with my current job in Internal Medicine as a PA, but know that I'll never have the knowledge base of an MD/DO and this is frustrating.
 

QofQuimica

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childai said:
Just wondering if there were any PA's out there who have gone back to medical school or thinking about going back to medical school. I struggle with this issue from time to time. Mostly happy with my current job in Internal Medicine as a PA, but know that I'll never have the knowledge base of an MD/DO and this is frustrating.
Is there something that you want to do that is different than what you are doing now? What in particular do you find frustrating about your current knowledge base?
 

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tony1853 said:
Hi all. Some have you may have read my posts in the Allied Health section. I have been looking into PA programs at the BS level, and I am returning to school starting this summer to complete the pre-reqs. I have been of this mindset for about a month and a half now...however, in the last 2 weeks, I have been bedeviled by indecision...as in "will I be truly fulfilled as a mid-level practitioner, or will I only find satisfaction by becoming a physician?"

It is a huge question.

Up until mid-January, I was working as an accountant. I have been in accountancy on and off for about 10 years. I have never enjoyed it. The greatest symptom was my frequent job changes...I never lasted longer than 1.5 yrs at any employer. I would always find something wrong with the place as an excuse to leave. After much reflection, I realize that it is because I have no passion or genuine interest in accounting. I became so morose that I summarily quit my last job...without any sort of safety net. I felt suffocated and had to get out fast.

I have always had an interest in medicine (since the age of 8). From 96- 98, I was a pre-med major, but a critical illness in the family required me to drop out and go back to work in accounting to provide financial support. I managed to earn a 3.4 GPA overall, with a 3.8 in the sciences, did some research in dinosaur paleontology (long story), published two abstracts and got a paper into peer review, and made it into Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges (1998 edition).

I just turned 33, I am married and do not have children. My wife says she will completely support me whether I decide to go to PA school or to med school - and I believe her. Also of great importance is that my wife has always wanted to be a lawyer...and we had discussed her looking into law school after I graduated from PA school. If I went to med school, her going to law school would be put off for some time.

I must admit that I am concerned with age...I am not sure why I am so concerned though. Many people have told me that I am going to turn 40 anyway, so I may as well be 40 and a doctor. And I agree...but one must question the lifestyle during those years...between the age of 33 and 40 - the trials and hardships to be faced in becoming a physician. I think that concerns me the most - after all, I could begin practicing at 43 or 44, giving me 20+ years in which to practice - so I am not so concerned about being "too old" to embark on this - it is more a question of how hard will life become for me and my wife. I am most concerned about her - I sometimes feel like this is something I am putting her through. We could have a very comfortable life had I remained to this day in any one of the accounting positions I bailed out on over the the last 10 years.

I think that one of the reasons I initially favored PA school is because I will be back earning a living in a relatively short period of time - I have one summer semester, and then the following fall and spring semesters to complete pre-reqs, and I was looking to get into a PA program and begin in summer 2006. So, by 2008, I could be practicing and earning.

I am torn between PA school and med school...and I need to make a decision before I register for courses this summer, because the coursework to complete my bio BS will be different than the prereqs for PA programs...I don't want to waste any more time by choosing courses in support of one path, and then changing my mind a year from now.

GOOD LORD - please forgive that book that I wrote...I just realized it's size! :sleep:
Hi Tony, it's funny to come across your post at a time when I am having the same type of crisis. I am 26 years old, married, with a 4 year old daughter. I fell in love with medicine while being in the army as a medic. I thought I would get out and pursue medical school, but getting married and having my child made me reconsider. So I put all my efforts into getting into PA school. Well I applied and got in, and will be starting the program in the fall. My family is very happy for me and I was too, but lately I've been having second thoughts. No I take that back, I've been having second thoughts for a long time, but I almost feel selfish wanting to pursue medical school. I somewhat mentioned to my husband that I'm considering not going in the fall to pa school and pursue med school instead, and he told me I was crazy to pass up going to PA school. But like you said, what if I will never be satisfied being a mid-level practitioner. I feel that I have the drive, commitment, and compassion to be a great doctor, and the years of school don't scare me at all because I love going to school, If I could I'd do it forever. But the thing that really holds me back is my daughter. I want to be a good mother to her and I don't know how much time I will have for her if I'm off in med school. My daughter is number 1, so this is something I really have to consider. I'm wondering what decision you have made and what made you decide. Sorry I made this reply kinda long, but just wanted to let you know that I know how you feel. Good luck with your decision. :oops:
 
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This is the first thread I've read here, and I read completely through it. I am fairly young, 21, but am only a sophomore as I took two years off before school to explore various career paths. I worked as a web copywriter (copywriting for websites/SEO), worked in the upscale service industry, accounts receivables, and even got a personal training license (ACE) though I never really used it (good basic introduction for anatomy, Latin and basic cardiovascular health though) before deciding to go to college.
After first graduating high school, I initially had no intent to go, and wanted to own my own business after getting some working experience. But after getting some real world experience in the corporate world, I decided it was not something I truly cared about, at all. My father is an RN and my brother has a bachelor's in biology, was previously pursuing pharmacology, and my mother worked as a PCT in her 20s, so to an extent health care has been in my family.

Previously, my senor year of high school, I worked in the cafeteria of a large hospital, delivering the carts of food to nurse stations. I went back to school after I turned 20 and was not really sure what exactly I wanted to study. After I quit my accounting job, I took a 75 hour class and tested for a CNA certificate. I have always done fairly well in school and with testing.

Currently I work two PRN positions, MHT/PCT. I am attending school right now at a community college for an Associates of Science, and then will attend school here in state for a bachelor's in human biology. After that, I intend to apply to PA school (if I can afford it I want to go out of state but will address that when I get there). I intend to work a variety of positions. Although I will always have this background in psych, I intend to work in med-surg, ER, ICU, etc for a few years, then work at a family clinic or large clinic in an inner city area.

I VERY breifly considered MD, but easily decided PA was right for me. I have observed the PA's and MD's at work and would prefer a PA's work. Less school is not the deciding factor for me, nor is student loans, or time. At both my hospitals, when I tell people my education plans, they have always been supportive of me. A couple have asked why not MD to which I usually reply I would be capable of doing everything I wanted to do in my career as a PA, including diagnosing, treating, assessing, prescribing, and first assistant in surgery (I am definitely content with going that far).

Until just the other day, I had honestly never been faced with the dilemma "why not go all the way?" or "is PA good enough for me, will I truly be content with it?". But I had a conversation with a man, more or less by chance, at my apartment complex, who really was basically prying into my and my girlfriend's personal life (all at the pool). He asked me what I did, to which I replied PCT, and then he inquired about my plans, so I told him where I went to school and about my goal to attend PA school, etc etc. He asked me if I was disappointed that I was working as a nurse's assistant and attending a community college (in the most condescending way you can imagine). I was genuinely surprised, I had never really been presented with the decision in that light. I brushed the man off, genuinely felt sorry for him and simultaneously creeped out, but nevertheless he raised a question relevant to this discussion.

So it is an interesting question indeed. For me, PA is the right decision, and one I feel entirely content with.

My advice for anyone making the decision is the same: watch the work the two do, and talk to them about it. Working at a hospital, or doing clinicals, rotation, etc is a great way to observe a PA and a MD and see what the two actually do on a day-to-day business. PA is a great field to go into and is all around satisfying, but if you prefer the work of a MD, then go for MD. Do not, however, do it for the money or simply the title, either way. Take some time to seriously consider how you want to spend your working career, and make the best decision for you. Best of luck to you.
 

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sounds like you are laying a good foundation for pa school. if you have not already checked it out I would highly recommend www.physicianassistantforum.com for access to over 12,000 pa's and pa students as well as those at various stages in the application process.
 
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Here's a question that seemingly will not die. I've been through the phase where I'm paranoid it's just me, and got over that when I saw like 8 threads on the same theme in the Allied folder, the Allo folder, the pre-med folders... but I think maybe this is a job for the Non-Trads.

Because we have a little life experience, and because more than a few of us have thought the question through, or are doing so right now -- maybe we can come up with a framework for considering the question. It's a case of "do I do med school, then residency, and be a doc starting at age 40-something?" versus "would I be satisfied to reap the rewards of being a mid-level?" But that's a question that needs context. We're pre-meds. What we know is not enough to get us directly to a conclusion.

I know I could use a way to know whether I'm obsessing about stupid details, or actually considering the important factors that will affect my life. So far, I've figured out that you can't approach it as anything other than "which choice is the best fit for what I want to do." You can't go into it wondering "would x be good enough?" or "would y be too much?" You can't think about what's easier (neither is, really), or which is more cost-effective (that depends on how long you look at it).

Even time is no good test, because eventually we'll all be 70 years old, and the only thing we don't have time for is something that doesn't make us happy. That's why we're non-trads in the first place.

So I'm thinking it's a question that goes something like this:

Would I rather be a well-respected chef getting great reviews in a popular restaurant, or would I feel like I need to own the place, and make decisions about the menu, the decor, the hiring and firing?

Would I rather be the bass player in a touring rock band, or would I feel like I need to be out front writing the songs, singing lead, and dealing with the press and the record company?

Would I rather be a master carpenter and practice my trade, or would I feel like I'd be happier running the contracting company, or designing the house?

Would I rather be Tom Sizemore in Saving Private Ryan, or Tom Hanks? :D

For those of you who've made the decision about which road to take as an "older" student... how did you approach the question, and come up with the answer that was right? How do ya get this question to settle down and become one that can be answered?
This is the worst thing I have ever heard, and it is an insult to our nourishing world. I have no other words to describe my disgust. I certainly hope you NEVER have anything to do with anyone else' healing.
 

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Only you can answer this. I met my fiance in gen chem. We were both non-traditional students pursuing a career in medicine. I personally never really considered the PA profession. He was doing an informal post-bacc because he was so wrapped up in Division I sports during his undergrad years that he didn't realize how little interest he had in a career in his field. Our adviser pushed him to pursue medicine, and he aced the BCPM classes, but he was tired of being in school and chose to go the PA route. He's graduating soon, and he's really happy with his decision. Where we live, it's not uncommon for PAs to make over $150,000 not long after graduation, with a much less demanding work schedule.

I really want to be a physician. I like being a student, though I can't wait to get back to working in a clinical setting. I can't speak for all who decide on one route or the other, but there is a clear difference between our attitudes about school. He views everything as a means to an end. He really hated physio, pharm, and all the basic science classes in PA school, with the exception of anatomy. He often grumbled about all of it...he was pretty unhappy early on and even doubted his career choice. Now that he's taking clinically-oriented classes and starting rotations, he loves it.

I, on the other hand, actually enjoy the basic science classes. I'm graduating with a BS in pharmacology. It's not as practical as it sounds...the emphasis is on how drugs work and how to design new drugs, rather than what to prescribe in correct doses. The biochem for undergrads here is far more intense than the shorter clinically-oriented class in med school. I'll never apply 75% of what I'm learning, but it's fun anyway.

We have the same values (including education) and he's definitely my intellectual equal. But we're different academically. I don't mind forgoing social activities to study, and I like challenging myself to be an A student. He's a great student, but more balanced than I am. For instance, he would never stay up all night (or past 1am, for that matter) to study. When I pull an all-nighter, I feel driven, and I actually take pride in my ability to keep working to assimilate large quantities of information. He thinks that's insane :)

The professions run parallel, but being a physician requires more work and sacrifices than being a PA. Arguably, the quality of life of a PA is better. But that depends on your perspective. Again, only you can decide just how much you're willing to sacrifice. As long as you are honest with yourself, you can't go wrong. Both are great professions. Just my two cents.
 

emedpa

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Arguably, the quality of life of a PA is better. But that depends on your perspective. Again, only you can decide just how much you're willing to sacrifice. As long as you are honest with yourself, you can't go wrong. Both are great professions. Just my two cents.

lots of assumptions here....I pulled lots of all nighters in college and pa school.
I would argue docs have a better quality of life than pa's once out of school.
for example docs in my group work 12 eight hr shifts/mo=96 hrs
pa's work 18 ten hr shifts....
who has more time to spend with family and friends and to travel, etc?

ps this is a very old thread....feb has already finished pa school and is working as a pa....
 

riverjib

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lots of assumptions here....I pulled lots of all nighters in college and pa school.
I would argue docs have a better quality of life than pa's once out of school.
for example docs in my group work 12 eight hr shifts/mo=96 hrs
pa's work 18 ten hr shifts....
who has more time to spend with family and friends and to travel, etc?

ps this is a very old thread....feb has already finished pa school and is working as a pa....
You know more than I do! I've worked in the medical field for years and have worked with and befriended a lot of PAs along the way. Some are really happy, and some are not. I know a few who pursued medical school. I convinced my fiance to finish orgo II and some other required pre-med classes, although most PA schools only ask for one semester. I wanted him to leave his options open, because if he does decide to apply to med school in a few years, it's much harder to take orgo II without repeating orgo I.

I know a few PAs who graduated in the last few years and are making a great salary ($160-180,000/year) with no weekends. I know others who are exhausted and making under $100,000 a year. I guess it depends upon where you live and what specialty you choose?

As for PA school, it's like med school in the sense that nobody can tell you what it will be like for you. I've heard from my friends who graduated years ago, but my fiance is the only one I've seen through all of PA school. He works really hard...he gets up every morning, works out, and studies all day. But I've never seen him stay up past 1am. He's at the top of his class, but he's only thrived (in terms of being happy with his program) since all the course work became really clinically oriented.
 

Madonna1234

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Hi everyone,
I could really use some advice or some opinions on my situation:
I am 29 (soon to be 30yr old female), recently switched careers and am debating between the physician assistant or DO route. My science GPA is a 3.0 and I currently need to take both organics and labs, Physics II, and the MCAT. I have, however, completed the required courses and GRE for Physician Assistant School. I have over 800 hours of clinical experience, including volunteer and work in a health-care setting. I am single with no children with 2 bachelors degrees in the non sciences. I have no school debt up to this point.
I am able to finish the organics and physics classes by December and take the MCAT in Jan and possibly just make the deadlines for both PCOM and LECOM or I could start sending out my PA applications. I don't want to regret not going to med school in the long run but I dont know if it is just too far of a stretch for me.... I could use a little advice. thanks
 

njbmd

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Hi everyone,
I could really use some advice or some opinions on my situation:
I am 29 (soon to be 30yr old female), recently switched careers and am debating between the physician assistant or DO route. My science GPA is a 3.0 and I currently need to take both organics and labs, Physics II, and the MCAT. I have, however, completed the required courses and GRE for Physician Assistant School. I have over 800 hours of clinical experience, including volunteer and work in a health-care setting. I am single with no children with 2 bachelors degrees in the non sciences. I have no school debt up to this point.
I am able to finish the organics and physics classes by December and take the MCAT in Jan and possibly just make the deadlines for both PCOM and LECOM or I could start sending out my PA applications. I don't want to regret not going to med school in the long run but I dont know if it is just too far of a stretch for me.... I could use a little advice. thanks
Medical school will always be there and so will PA. If you do some shadowing, try to look at both professions very carefully. Money don't erase the woes of a profession that you do not enjoy.If you can't enjoy being a Physician Assistant, then pursue medical school. Figure out what's best for you and pursue it but don't pursue something because you believe you will "regret" not pursuing it in the future. You are an adult and can figure out what makes the most sense for your life and interests.
 

Trismegistus4

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ps this is a very old thread....feb has already finished pa school and is working as a pa....
Actually, even though it's bad form to bump such an old thread, it's actually good to allow this point to be made. The fact you've just stated is a good reason for people to think very carefully about PA vs. medical school. When Febrifuge posted this OP, in February of 2005, he and I were both gearing up to start post-bacc programs in the summer of 2005. Fast forward five years to February 2010: he's finished school, working in his chosen field, likely making six figures, paying off his loans, and able to have spare time and enjoy his life. Meanwhile, I, who started at the same time, am in the middle of the 3rd-year-of-medical-school slog, still amassing debt, and hating life right now, with another 5-6 years to go before I start being able to pay off my debt and have a normal life again. Something to think about for those who have considered both paths.
 

GoodmanBrown

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Actually, even though it's bad form to bump such an old thread, it's actually good to allow this point to be made. The fact you've just stated is a good reason for people to think very carefully about PA vs. medical school. When Febrifuge posted this OP, in February of 2005, he and I were both gearing up to start post-bacc programs in the summer of 2005. Fast forward five years to February 2010: he's finished school, working in his chosen field, likely making six figures, paying off his loans, and able to have spare time and enjoy his life. Meanwhile, I, who started at the same time, am in the middle of the 3rd-year-of-medical-school slog, still amassing debt, and hating life right now, with another 5-6 years to go before I start being able to pay off my debt and have a normal life again. Something to think about for those who have considered both paths.
Would you be happier if you were working as a PA right now?

Would you be happier in 5 years when you're an attending?
 

mooshika

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I can't make a reasonable argument for going through the same kind of competitive process and the first two grueling years of medical school and then a short internship... to stop there when a couple of more years you are a resident with an MD and already higher on the food chain than a PA with a doctorate degree.

To me the benefits of a shorter schooling do not outweigh the benefits of finishing MD, plus you get better clinical instruction and in my mind too many questions get left unanswered when you are a PA, plus, you do the same job MD's do in the ED, for example but get paid less than half - for the rest of your life.
 

Trismegistus4

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Would you be happier if you were working as a PA right now?

Would you be happier in 5 years when you're an attending?
It's kind of moot point for me personally, since I never considered PA. It's just an interesting example of the difference between PA and MD that is relevant to me personally (since I remember both Febrifuge and I posting about applying to post-baccs around the same time) that people who are considering both can take to heart.

I can't make a reasonable argument for going through the same kind of competitive process and the first two grueling years of medical school and then a short internship... to stop there when a couple of more years you are a resident with an MD and already higher on the food chain than a PA with a doctorate degree.

To me the benefits of a shorter schooling do not outweigh the benefits of finishing MD, plus you get better clinical instruction and in my mind too many questions get left unanswered when you are a PA, plus, you do the same job MD's do in the ED, for example but get paid less than half - for the rest of your life.
It all comes down to whether you really love medicine for its own sake or whether you're looking for "just a job." If it's "just a job" you seek, PA will work much better for you. If you really love medicine, to the point where you'd be happy to work long hours, come in on the weekends, etc., because of the satisfaction you get from the job itself, then go with medicine.