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Questions about general PA duties


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#1 angie.19

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 02:33 AM

Hi,

 

I'm a freshman in college doing an undergrad in biology and just starting to browse the different types of jobs that I am interested in. I am currently thinking about PT and PA, but I feel as though I do not know enough about either one. So some questions I have are: 

-PA vs PT advantages and disadvantages

-I feel very queasy about blood, so I'm wondering if either has to deal with that on the daily basis

-Difficulty in getting into the grad schools for both and compared to each other

-The requirements for any shadowing, volunteering, paid experiences, etc.

-Whether or not you recommend me changing my major from biology to kinesiology or exercise science?

 

Thanks so much! 


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#2 milesHenson1

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 02:51 AM

My advice is to do your own research, there are many benefits and drawbacks to both career options. Maybe try doing some shadowing with both a PA and a PT, this is likely the best way for you to see what it is like in each job. You are far less likely to encounter blood as a PT than a PA, although there are some PA specialties like Psychiatry that don't have to deal with blood all the time.
As far as the requirements for application you really need to do the research yourself as each school is likely slightly different. Changing you major is not a huge hangup for either as far as I know. Provided your prerequisites are fulfilled, I mean my bachelors degree is in graphic design and general studies. So don't stress to much on changing majors.

#3 anewconvert

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 10:36 PM

Hi,

 

I'm a freshman in college doing an undergrad in biology and just starting to browse the different types of jobs that I am interested in. I am currently thinking about PT and PA, but I feel as though I do not know enough about either one. So some questions I have are: 

-PA vs PT advantages and disadvantages

-I feel very queasy about blood, so I'm wondering if either has to deal with that on the daily basis

-Difficulty in getting into the grad schools for both and compared to each other

-The requirements for any shadowing, volunteering, paid experiences, etc.

-Whether or not you recommend me changing my major from biology to kinesiology or exercise science?

 

Thanks so much! 

- Can't answer anything about PT as I never considered the option.  Might want to look into finding a PT program that can talk to yuo about the profession, or find some PT's and ask them directly

 

- If you go into surgery, probably deal with blood every day.  If you go into Family Med, probably not going to deal with blood every day.  That being said, you get over the uneasiness of bodily fluids quickly.  I had a weak stomach for watching people vomit..  got over it during my first rotation

 

- The requirements for both programs are tough, and very different.  Can't really answer that one for you

 

- PA school is hard to get into, but if you are choosing a program based on whether it is easy to get into or not you are missing the point

 

- I would only change your major if you are interested in the subject and can do very well in it.  Neither of those degrees are worth much outside of research or medicine, so keep that in mind.  There is no degree you need to get into PA school, just pre-reqs you have to take.  We have a music major in my class.....  That all being said, biology major should almost assuredly cover your pre-reqs for PA school, exercise science probably won't.  

 

 

 

All that said, your first step is figuring out what you want to do, and the only way to do that is to get involved and do some research.  You should start by getting your CNA license or an EMT and working over the summer between years.  CNA is going to teach you quickly whether medicine is your field or not.



#4 greenmood

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 05:23 PM

If you're set on healthcare of some sort get a job in a hospital where you'll have exposure to a lot of possible careers. As a beginning undergraduate it's great that you're looking! Take your time.

 

For a full pro/con list you need to do your own research. The question about blood has been answered adequately above. I wouldn't change your major at all unless you're sure of your path. Plenty of PTs and PAs with biology degrees.

 

One thing I will add... there are PTs in hospitals (for example) who have tremendous exposure to bodily fluids. When I was a PT aide working in acute care I was peed, pooed, barfed, and snotted on WAY more than I ever have been as a PA. I also did wound care which is blooooody sometimes. There are a lot of places for PTs to work, just like there are a lot of places for PAs to work. You will likely get over your squeamishness with time, but if you don't, it shouldn't be something holding you back from pursuing a career.


Hospitalist in Surgical Oncology


#5 Lauren R

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 04:28 PM

You'll probably have to speak to physical therapists and physician assistants separately to find out their experiences.  I don't know anyone who became both a PT and a PA.  I'll answer some of your questions.  You will definitely have to deal with blood on your PA school rotations, but when you're working, you can choose a less gruesome field.  Keep in mind, you'll get used to it.  I used to not be able to handle vomit at all, and be a sympathetic vomitter, but now I couldn't care less.  Getting into grad school is hard, but if you have good grades, all the prerequisites, shadowing and health care experiences, you should be fine.  There shouldn't be requirements for shadowing or volunteering experiences, but reach out to a potential site and see what they tell you.  For paid experiences, you may have to get a certification, like a nursing assistant certification, EMT etc.  If you want to be a PA, keep biology as your major.  Kinesiology and exercise science may be better suited for PT school, but you can get into any PA or PT program as long as you have the prerequisites and good grades.



#6 FamousAmos

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 05:39 PM

Hey,

 

I am a future PA student, and I've worked as a PT Aide in an outpatient clinic for over three years now. I actually applied to both PA and PT programs this year (my third round of applications to PA school, and applied to PT as a backup), and was accepted to both. I can probably shed a bit of light on my experiences working closely with PT's and the application processes.

 

I have always been passionate about becoming a PA, and that was always my goal, so my first piece of wisdom is to figure out which one you are more passionate about because that will be your career. Shadowing people from both professions will help give you more exposure to figure this out. As others have said, there are different specialties and areas you can work in either profession that expose you to blood and those that do not. I do believe with more exposure you may end up getting used to it though. From my experience, both professions are growing at crazy rates. PT's now graduate with a doctorate degree and direct access is available in most states, which means in most cases patients do not need a script to seek therapy and PT's are trained to diagnose and treat/refer out as appropriate. This does not mean that there is not your fair share of sucking up to physicians (to my dismay, not so much PA's), which in most cases is not how the PT's want to be spending their time. Like I've noticed with PA's, PT's also struggle with some professionals to get the respect that is (usually) deserved, though I'm sure this phenomenon is far more widespread than these two professions. As for PA's, the future jobs and career outlook has skyrocketed in recent years. I was more attracted to the PA Profession because of the variety and freedom of switching specialties, the shorter and more affordable education and training (relative to other healthcare professions, and depending on the program of course), the content and responsibilities of the actual profession, among many other reasons. I became a PT Aide to get hours to apply to PA School, and although I truly respect the PT's I work with and I believe I could be happy working as a PT myself, that was not my passion. 

 

I have actually shadowed a ortho PA that began his professional career as a PT. We talked a bit about why he switched professions and I believe his reasoning behind it was along the lines of he was looking to have a larger impact and more control over the future health of his patients and he was more interested in the medical side of ortho as opposed to rehab.

 

As far as applications go, in my experience PA school was much more competitive. Take that with a grain of salt, however, because I only applied to PT school this past year after I had years of experience as a PT Aide. After taking this into consideration, I still believe PA school is more competitive and requires more of the applicant. The fact that you're already considering this as a first year means that you stand a great chance at achieving your goal, whatever it may end up being.

 

Best of luck, and let me know if you have any questions!

 

Sarah






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