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5 years 9 months ago #88659 by spartangirl
Hi all! I am a 23 year old Medical Technologist living in AZ. I am currently deep in the midst of one of those "help! I'm in my twenties, what do I do with my life?" moments and am desperate for some opinions and mentoring. It has always been my plan to go to medical school, but as I get older and life gets more complicated, I am beginning to explore PA school as another option. I would love to hear opinions of both MD/DOs and PAs on why they chose that particular route and if they have any regrets about it. At this point, I am leaning towards PA school due to the lifestyle that goes along with it. I should also mention that this decision is partially due to a long-term relationship in which my boyfriend has a once in a lifetime career. We have plans to get married, but are not yet engaged. I know that many people are of the opinion that a relationship shouldn't shape career decisions, but to me that is simply not realistic. My heart definitely plays a part in my choices, and choosing med school would mean ending the relationship to avoid 4+ more years of long distance on top of 2 in the beginning of the relationship.

Thank you for anyone who took the time to read this rambling, and to anyone who can provide some insight. :)

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5 years 8 months ago #88717 by Fionamom
I'm a PA & am happy with my decision. I was a 4.0 student all thru college, getting a bachelor's in biomedical sciences. I struggled also whether to go to med school or PA school. I knew that I was capable of med school and didn't want to sell myself short, wondering if later I would regret not becoming an MD.

My decision came after shadowing a female family practice doctor & female PA. It seemed that the doctor was pulled in so many more ways than the PA. She worked long hours at her practice 4 days a week yet patients always c/o not having enough time with her. Her children had a nanny & would often visit her at work. You could tell that they longed to see her more. It seemed as if she couldn't be devoted to her family & her career at the same time. By trying to do both she couldn't do a good job at either. The PA I shadowed never seemed stressed. She worked the same number of days but less hours. She seemed very capable & competent yet did feel as if she had time for her family & career. And she didn't have nearly as much debt as the physician.

I have enjoyed being a PA. I love how I can work in any specialty. It allows me flexibility in choosing a specialty that works best for my family. I've worked in Cardiology, Energency medicine and now am in family practice. I really enjoy working with the physicians & not technically having my own patients. With starting a family right now I like knowing that patients don't have to totally rely on me for their medical care. I still have regular patients that want to only see me but when I'm on maternity leave they're not left without good care. I see complex cases on my own & always discuss with the physicians when I have questions. The physicians trust my judgement now & we really work great together. I confidently feel like I am being a great PA, mother & wife. I also love that I don't have any debt at this point.

Disadvantages are that I don't make as much money as physicians but then I don't carry as much responsibility, I don't take call & I will say again: I have no debt. I still get from patients, "when are you going to finish school" remark. I have to explain what I am. When they see my medical knowledge and how I work with the doctor they are satisfied with the care they receive. It is hard still though bc people still don't understand what I do. I get called a nurse or an NP which just infuriates me. Sometimes physicians don't accept PAs well bc they think we're competing with them like NPs do. PAs are totally different than NPs though. We're trained from physicians and our whole focus is extending the care of the physician. I don't like it when patients call me doctor & I always correct them. I hope that with the ACA physicians will learn to accept PAs more & they'll realize the difference btwn us & NPs. There's going to be a ton of career opportunities for you as a PA with the ACA.

Ok sorry this is so long, I could really go on forever. I have so much to say. I would be happy to help you out any way I can. :).

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