I love PA students! They work incredibly hard, learn some materials to the same level we do (I'm a med student), and finish in 2 years! Yes, 2 years! You could always go back if you decide you'd rather be an MD, but many people love the field.
You should shadow some more healthcare practitioners to get a feel for the lifestyle and responsibility level that feels best to you.
I know exactly what you are going through! I have been in alsmost the same predicament for years. I started med school at 20 and finished at 26. I was supposed to start residency but life plays tricks on you. It didn't work out and I got married instead.
That was three years ago and we now have a beautiful little boy. I do not regret for a moment the choices that I made.
However, now I just can't face the thought of doing my residency. I couldn't stand being away from my little boy for so long and I, like you, value a healthy, low stress life-style
It is so hard to let go of a dream and one that you have worked so hard for.
My cousin is a PA and she LOVES it. They even call her doctor at the office she works at. My whole family considers her a doctor because she can prescribe meds. She earns tons of money, no stress, no responsabilities. An option you might want to think of.
I wish I could give you advice. Just wanted you to know that you are not alone in feeling like this.
I am going the PA route (applying this summer) Was pre-med in college and intent on going to med school, but realized that PA would be more for me. I am very happy with the current choice I have made simply because I get all the same clinical possibilities (without the surgery part) and make a good living, and will always likely have a job---those are the things that are important to me besides my personal interests. Let me know if you have any questions about the process i'd be happy to help!
Thanks again everyone. 555 - I am considering a PA program too. The benefits of this are that there is at least 1 medical school currently that has a PA-DO track that is 3 years. So, for a 2 yr PA school, I would only be adding 1 additional year to my total years in school if I decided later I made the wrong choice. However, I do like NP because there are several states close to where I live that do not require collaborative agreements or physician oversight, so I could run my own business. I couldn't do this as a PA.
The plot has thickened a little with some new news - I received a Rural Primary Care scholarship, which would pay full tuition and is otherwise similar to the NHSC in repayment - 1 year for every year I take the scholarship. The main differences are that I have to practice in Iowa, can only do family practice, peds, IM, or general surgery, and I have to take the scholarship for all 4 years. I'm talking with the school to see how flexible they are as far as taking a year off for maternity leave during the repayment period, doing part time residencies, etc. If they are flexible, its really something I would consider. Coming out almost debt free would take a lot of stress off of me. But, if this is the only reason I am reconsidering it, maybe thats a sign I should stick with the NP plan? Or, is it too good of an opportunity to pass up?
Any rural FP docs out there? I'm shadowing one tomorrow, but I'd like to hear any perspectives on the day to day realities of the career. I've heard these doctors routinely work around 60 hours/week, and part time is difficult.
Oooh...i am rarely a snarky replier, so please don't take this wrong, but something struck a chord in your response with me.
A big question isn't as a NP if you COULD run your own business without physician oversight for your practicing...it's whether or not you SHOULD. I'm going to go with no at the risk of starting a debate. I'm a pretty firm believer that if you want to act like a doctor - go to medical school.
So I think you really do need to decide if you want to be a mid-level or a physician. And with those two hats come the limitations of a mid-level and the school + residency + career stipulations of a doctor.
That's a good point...but I guess I should clarify that I wouldn't just pop out of 2-3 year training program and have the confidence (or skill) to have complete autonomy. But after several years of practicing, I might, and there are a lot of people who do this safely. For example, I see CNMs who have their own practice with no physician oversight for routine care, and I don't think by virtue of running their own practice they are trying to act like doctors. I appreciate your opinion, and I'm sure its shared by many.
What I was originally trying to gain insight on with this post was what you said last in your reply - and you put it much more concisely than I did! However, my new dilemma is factoring in a tuition-free education if I choose to both go to medical school and stay in primary care.