Your advice please

Discussion in 'Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]' started by red2326, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. red2326

    red2326 New Member

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    I just can't seem to decide between becoming an MD or PA. I graduated last year from Berkeley among the top of my class and my GPA is very strong. But my whole reason for pursuing a career in medicine is because I want to be a third-world doc. I seriously don't care about buying luxury SUVs or owning some palatial home in Malibu, so the difference of salary is of little importance to me. But my family of low socio-economic standing views me as Mr. Perfect and insists on me going to medical school. Could someone with more experience in medicine and life please offer some insight to the following questions?

    1. What kind of work can PAs do in the third-world? Do they have the same autonomy and positions as MDs?

    2. Are there any PAs out there that wished they would have just spent the extra time and money and became MDs? If I chose the MD route, I will be pushing 40 by the time I finish school and get my loans payed off. Then I could finally be a third-world doc, and then maybe in my forties start a family???

    3. Why are so many MD's I talk to telling me to become a PA? Don't they think it is worth it becoming and MD?

    4. I want to have a family some day...would MDs or PAs have more flexible hours?

    5. Are there any PAs that work the same shifts that nurses do? (3 long days/week)

    6. Most people I talk to that get sick (I work in physical therapy now) want to see the doctor, not the PA or NP. For the PAs out there, is it hard knowing that many people are only seeing you because the doctor is too busy and the wait is too long?

    Thank you to any and all persons who took the time to read this and a special thank you to anyone who can help me figure my life out!
     
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  3. bkpa2med

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    PA is a wonderful field to enter. To briefly answer your question #3, MD/DO's want PA's because they generate alot of money for them.
     
  4. jacketwrestler

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    5.) I've seen some PA's at my hospital have the 3/week, 12 hour shift.

    Sorry, can't answer much else.
     
  5. rad_one

    rad_one Member
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    Med school. Put your head down and go. Don't look back. You'll kick yourself if you don't.
     
  6. 50960

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    How old are you?
     
  7. adamdowannabe

    adamdowannabe I like taffy
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    to answer #3 from a different perspective, I don't think MD's are pushing people to go to PA school so they can come back and earn them money for their practice. I am from N.Cali, and my Uncle is chief of pulmonolgy at Alta-Bates, I have tons of family friends who are physicians and they all told me to NOT become a physician. It wasn't necessarily be a PA, but more so about how horrible it is in California to be a physician, salaries are some of the lowest in the country (for primary care especially) and cost of living is exponentially higher.

    My Uncle a "good old boy club member" above all, originally scoffed at the idea of being a PA, then came around quickly when he found out how PA's often get to bypass a lot of the struggles associated with MAINTAINING a practice (business aspects)........ He also stated " Physician salaries in california are steadily declining, while PA's seem to steadily increase"

    As an aside, there are tons of opportunities to be a PA for countries in need, and my most recent newletter from the AAPA was focused on a handful of people who are practicing in some very remote foreign locations.
     
  8. red2326

    red2326 New Member

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    I'm 25, but still need to complete the all the science prerequisits and take the MCAT, which will mean two more years before I could possibly enter med school and one year before I could possibly enter PA school (if I got in ofcourse).
     
  9. lawguil

    lawguil Senior Member
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    Just to share some of my second hand experiences....

    #2 - I've heard a lot of PA's on this forum who wish they had went to medical school or that a "bridge" program from PA to MD existed. Also, I have heard many who are very content with the flexibility, latitude to change specialties, shorter education, less educational dept, and similar level of autonomy as an MD/DO. The way I see if is if you want to be a surgeon or the big shot, than MD/DO is your only option. If you simply want to practice medicine as part of a team and still enjoy helping others, lifelong intellectual learning and stimulation, a good salary, and unmatched flexibility professionally.....PA is an excellent choice! I sometimes tell people in your situation that have a lot of pre-reqs and want to begin their careers earlier than later that PA school is a great way to earn your "masters degree", have a guaranteed career, and provides you with options to still go to medical school or even do something more academic such as a PhD program. Some think that doing a PA program before going to med school is a waste of time, but there are many people who have master’s degrees before applying to med school!

    3# - I hear this a lot as well....when an MD/DO see PA's with less dept, the ability to work in any specialty they wish without additional training or a residency, making decent money and doing the same thing that they are doing - practicing medicine.....It can be difficult to justify the additional time, money and responsibility. Also, when you're in the middle of a career and the status thing of being an MD/DO wears off and you think that your workday and career are endless, anything other than what you are doing might seem nice....

    4# My understanding is that both could be flexible depending on your career goals and specialty, but I suspect that a PA could find the needed flexibilty more easily because of the ability to cross specialties.

    #6 - Again, I've heard many PA's say that they are well received by their patients. When my son was sick one time, we took him to the ER and saw the PA. We didn't care who we saw, we just wanted him to see somebody who was qualified quickly. Quit honestly, in the system I've experienced, a secretary or nurse usually tells me who I'm going to see whether at the MD office or hospital. I suspect that some people request the doctor, but I've also heard of people requesting the PA as well.

    It's a tuff decision! I've been thinking about PA school for about 3 years now. I've also learned in my career that the "big shot" system really isn't that rewarding for most people. And if it is rewarding to somebody, you really should question their character.

    Assistant Lawguil!
     
  10. guetzow

    guetzow Senior Member
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    I make well above the national average salary, working 40 hours/wk, no call/M-F days only, and good bennies. The squirrely patients are vastly outnumbered by the nice/well-behaved ones, my ancillary staff is easy to work with, and I enjoy my specialty. There are always going to be some wierd situations/jobs, regardless of what profession you chose. My advice to you is ...
    1) Make up your mind, 2) Be diligent in your job interviews, as you are interviewing them. :cool:
     
  11. Happy613

    Happy613 Senior Member
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    For me the biggest plus of having an MD/DO over a PA degree is the ability to be completely independent. After you graduate either medical school/residency or PA school you will be able to pick a job that allows you to have the lifestyle you want. Both professions will always have openings for people wanting to do shift work, work part time, etc.

    After rotating with several PA students during 3rd year I am really at a loss to describe what the difference is between the two degrees in terms of education. Especially considering that the 4th year of medical school is academically very light. Unfortunatley there is a signifigant difference with reagrd to income and perception (stupidly, but a reality).

    I think it comes down to time. Its either 3 years PA school , or 7 years medical school/residency.

    good luck.
     
  12. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    "After rotating with several PA students during 3rd year I am really at a loss to describe what the difference is between the two degrees in terms of education. Especially considering that the 4th year of medical school is academically very light."

    the difference between md and pa (pre-residency) is the 1st yr of medschool. you guys do much more theoretical/research based didactic work than in pa school. a good pa(say a former rn/rt/emt-p) and an avg 4th yr are about the same clinically. the difference after that is the required md residency.
     
  13. red2326

    red2326 New Member

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    Thank you everyone for all the replies! I really appreciate your knowledge!!!
     
  14. 50960

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    I am neither a PA or MD, but I work with both every day and have made some observations. Most PAs I have worked with wanted to be docs, but it did not happen for various reasons...usually life got in the way. I have never met a doc who wished they did not become a doc. I think if you have the chance then go for med school. If it really is no doable then go for PA, with no regrets.
     
  15. ONstudentPT

    ONstudentPT Member
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    Also this maybe unrelated but as an MD your profession is recognized all over the world but PA's are best known in the states so the rest of the world may not be quite that familiar with the profession and it maybe harder to find a job if you ever decide to move away. I have travelled quite a bit (mostly eastern europe) and I can tell you that most people there dont know what a PA is.
     
  16. guetzow

    guetzow Senior Member
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    Who wants to live in Eastern Europe? :laugh:
     
  17. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    most people HERE(USA) don't know what a pa is.....
    pa's are working internationally now in canada, scotland, england, holland, singapore, etc and all over the world with the state dept/military/cia, etc
    every yr new countries establish a pa role because of its cost effectiveness. 20 yrs from now there will be pa's working in almost every country in the world. pts will still think we are docs and not understand the whole pa concept but we will be working there nonetheless.
     
  18. ONstudentPT

    ONstudentPT Member
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    geutzow,

    Well the pay is almost non-existent for PAs other then in the US. Who ever said anything about living in Eastern Europe. :laugh: :laugh: If you paid a bit of attention you would see that one of the questions posed was :"1. What kind of work can PAs do in the third-world? Do they have the same autonomy and positions as MDs?" Some Eastern European countries can be considered third-world. Thats why I addressed that issue.

    Here in Canada PAs dont work in hospitals the only place I have heard of PAs working in Canada is the military and there is very little knowledge about PAs but with that being said I am sure in 20 years the PAs important roles will be well known and common in Canada and many other countries .. just not yet.
     
  19. guetzow

    guetzow Senior Member
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    If you wanna live in the turd world, go right ahead :D
     
  20. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    Here in Canada PAs dont work in hospitals the only place I have heard of PAs working in Canada is the military and there is very little knowledge about PAs but with that being said I am sure in 20 years the PAs important roles will be well known and common in Canada and many other countries .. just not yet.

    pa's are now being actively recruited to work in civilian roles in fp and em in manitoba and ontario. I talked to several recruiters at a recent conference regarding these positions.
    http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/media/news_releases/archives/nr_06/may/nr_050306.html
     
  21. ONstudentPT

    ONstudentPT Member
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    Again you have shown to everyone that you are very good at making no sense what so ever. Congradulations! :thumbup:
     
  22. ONstudentPT

    ONstudentPT Member
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    They maybe starting to be recruited and things maybe have started to change .. but thats why I said not yet.
     
  23. guetzow

    guetzow Senior Member
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  24. ONstudentPT

    ONstudentPT Member
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    I think its punishment enough for you to have to live with yourself.

    'nuff said.
     
  25. guetzow

    guetzow Senior Member
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    My beautiful wife says TGIF, baby! :laugh:
     
  26. ProZackMI

    ProZackMI Psychiatrist/Attorney
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    You wife's full scale WAIS must be somewhere around 55. Not only do I feel sorry for her for marrying you, but I feel sorry for the patients you treat. Back to your bedpan cleaning now, Guetzow.
     
  27. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    hey zack....how about you stay out of the non-md( rn/np/pa/pt/ot) CLINICIANS FORUM since you claim to be an md and I will promise never to post in the psychiatry forum.....
    that way we will be both posting in areas we know something about.....
     
  28. ProZackMI

    ProZackMI Psychiatrist/Attorney
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    If you say so.
     
  29. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    great, then it's a deal. and we will hold you to it.....
     
  30. 50960

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    Why??? So you can keep on believing what you wish with no counter-opinions.....
     
  31. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    zack only comes on this forum to degrade pa's although he freely admits he has never worked with any. he continually spews incorrect OPINIONS about pa's and pa practice(pa's don't specialize, pa's don't work in psych, pa's have less training than np's, etc)....there is some history here. you probably want to avoid this discussion unless you are ready to read all of his posts in this forum to get a sense of his agenda.....
     

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