I’ve been a ‘lurker’ and finally decided to post. I have decided after much reflection to change careers and start the journey to become a PA. (Sorry for the crazy long post)
I had lifesaving surgery as a child so my lifetime experience with physicians and the healthcare community starts there. It's weird but hospitals have always given me a sense of calm. I went to college on academic scholarship with the goal of becoming a physician. Most people do poorly in the beginning of college and rally. My issue is the exact opposite. I did quite well in the first few years but after some compounding family issues in the last 3 semesters, my GPA absolutely tanked. I graduated with a Chemistry degree (GPA 2.85) in 2004. Along with the ongoing family issues, I was demoralized and my confidence shattered. Graduate and professional school would never be an option. After (hiding) working in basic research labs for some time, the healthcare bug returned and I happily got an MHA (GPA 3.53) in 2011. At the time, I thought it would be a good way to combine my love of healthcare with a stable, “safe” career.
Currently I work in Health Administration at a local hospital. To put it simply, I can’t imagine doing this for the rest of my career. Although I do my job well, it is truly mind-numbing. This isn’t what I wanted for my life. When I meet with healthcare teams to discuss projects, I’m more drawn to conversations surrounding how to clinically treat patients rather than how to get a new form filled out or doing a departmental budget. Patient care has always been there in the background and the voice had only gotten louder. I work across many clinical specialties and I’m drawn to Primary Care, Cardiology, and Dermatology.
Poor UG GPA & downward trend: My undergrad GPA is a 2.85. Obviously, it will take time and work to get it up. My REAL concern is that because my degree is in a STEM field coupled with the downward trend, it will appear that I cannot handle upper level challenging science. It will also bring my sGPA way down for CASPA. Would my graduate MHA GPA (3.53) help prove to an admin committee that I can do the work? I worked full-time and went to grad school full-time. I feel like a completely different person now as an older adult.
HCE: I regularly volunteer for health fairs in the community and will start to shadow PAs, NPs and Physicians. Looking at the forums, it seems schools prefer paid HCE though. I was looking at getting an MA certification and doing this while I re-took my prereqs. Should I sick with shadowing? Would my full-time work at the hospital count towards HCE?
Age: I’m 33. With the average age of PA students at 26/27, what are the chances that a PA program would invest in an older student who may retire sooner than someone with an extra 8-10+ years? I am single with no children so I feel like the time is now to do this before I have responsibilities.
I’m starting from scratch. I know this is going to be a long journey to get to my dream but I know I can do this.
Thank you for any feedback in advance.