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  1. Hi @MedIsLifePA - Really appreciate your insight, thank you! You made some great points to consider and in fact since the posted I managed to find a new specialty (Neurology) to shadow in a different region of the city. There was less direct input into software and much more patient interaction as we saw ~13 patients over 8 hours vs 12 patients in 4 hours (Primary Care experience). I actually saw the pro's/con's of both experiences but I won't lie I much preferred the Neurology setting and experience. Question if you could: How did you manage to shadow in an emergency environment? I really do feel this is what I want to see, I want something that is fast paced and on the go, 100%. I've thus far been rejected a lot there when asked to shadow ER or Urgent Care because they say the policies are too strict here in San Diego. I agree I need to see much more shadowing hours, I did really enjoy the Neurology environment it was terrific. The doctor offered me a MA position once I get closer to application to get the hours and trained in the specialty better so I am grateful I went. The other staff members were all on track to become PA's and their experience as an MA prior made them extremely knowledgable/gave them exposure into the specialty for post graduation. ------------------ Thanks for responding @Topsy - and your honesty. I actually would love the PT path in terms of the job itself, but I just cannot get past the debt/income ratio with my plans of having a family etc. I couldn't risk getting into PT and not have kids, etc. as that is a higher priority and PA seemed to be the perfect blend of favorable opportunity in the future while still working on the feet, working with others in an environment that isn't stagnant and is rewarding in terms of helping. I appreciate your advice, I will start the process of looking at surgery and ER shadowing - both do sound very intriguing. Regarding your question, this is perfect and helpful to mull over. I would say I love the interaction with patients - that is how the time goes by I find, and specifically what I am seeking getting into the health care (currently work on computer only). I loved the Neurology patients and making small talk etc. I am green so maybe this will change but touching "sick" patients seems to be difficult for me (at least the homeless patient with infection and woman excessively coughing all over everyone). I am just trying to be honest as I am green in the field and wasn't sure if other PA's feel that way or I need to build the tolerance way up. That said, the Neurology clinic had no incidents that put me off in terms of touching patients though - other than maybe cleaning ear wax but I could for sure do it as part of the job. --- Thanks to both of you, really appreciate you taking your time and offering your expertise. Coming from a different industry, I am overwhelmed by the selflessness and willness to help others that the PA industry has shown me. It's really something special, PA's are extraordinary folks.
  2. Hi, I was fortunate to shadow one PA who was amazing, it was family medicine in a clinic 9-5 type of gig. She was very nice and transparent. In all honesty, there were parts of the job I did not feel were all that great for example, majority of the patient experience was amazing. Things that I wasn't sure about: Seemed like a good amount of computer work between patient's - one of the reason's I am pre-PA is to try to not be locked to a computer so much. The area was rough and there were some homeless patient's etc. so that was sort of eye opening and I noticed to be an effective PA you need to truly touch and be very close to all types of people. In particular the homeless person with an infected hand and the woman coughing all over everything was something I was a little taken back with initially. Overall, I loved the patient interactions and feel if I were the actual PA it would be that much more fun to troubleshoot and problem solve. I have another shadow opportunity in a completely different specialization (neurology) which I am very excited about. My main questions were: Did you know right away after Shadowing, PA was the right fit for you? 100%? Or did it take a few settings and time to find out where you envisioned your dream specialization. Is it realistic to think I could eventually become a PA and get away from more of the 9-5 office setting? Something more fast paced and maybe shift work? I believe the area where the clinic was located (in the ghetto) and demographic sort of played into the experience, is that a tale tell sign I could be wrong for the profession? Please be as honest as possible as I am considering a career shift and I can handle the truth. I am trying to approach the situation as realistic as possible but there are still many "blind spots" as I have only shadowed one PA thus far. Thank you very much in advance!!
  3. Hi - I am also in San Diego, did you manage to find a shadowing opportunity? I have not been able to get one after some phone calls and e-mails. Could you recommend any opportunities to Shadow or just speak with an PA's in the area? I would even be very grateful to have a coffee or quick call, if shadowing is not a possibility. thank you!
  4. Hi - I didn't see any option to reply individually so I wanted to address those who were kind enough to take time out of their schedule to offer help. It is greatly appreciated. Great advise on finding PAs and to get that exposure upfront to see the day-to-day (including mundane tasks) that is my goal in the next few weeks to get enough of a perspective vs reading online. I appreciate the Venn Diagram idea, at the moment I have a word doc I should upload here for others once it's finished. The main point there is to hold on loosely and account for 20% missed classes vs a tight schedule things will for sure change, or be delayed - no doubt. Coming from another industry it helps to hear Rev not regret the decision. I am sure he can relate coming from an IT field that there is a sense of emptyness that is difficult to explain working directly with technology/computers 95% of the time. Especially if your personality enjoys working with others. I understand every career/job has it's drawbacks and am super grateful of the realistic answers, these help. For me, trading flexibility and working toward a career that works with others, is stable financially and has an element of helping, outweighs being locked to a computer screen, working from home, pushing numbers. The ballistic movement is a good example, I 100% understand this decision would be to keep on my toes, keep moving towards the end goal and account for a lot of variables. The whole timeline is something that I would need to be mature about (~3 years -5 years). The benefit I do have is my clients are on retainer and require very little direct contact so I plan to design my week around the initiatives above up until I would actually get into a program. Sacrifice would be the name of the game, I've been long overdue to change courses and it's something I would take very seriously. These answers are a big help to get me more data and a realistic view of what's next - Thank you all. I really appreciate everyone's time and straightforward answers. It sped up my research efforts greatly and I am sure someone else in the future in my similiar shoes will find this specific thread of great value. Big Thanks Again
  5. Hi, I am currently 33 and own a small business (tech) that does pretty good and offers flexibility. I have been looking at something in the medical field for the past 1+ year, as I don't enjoy my day to day and do not consider it something I want to do for my whole career. I essentially do it out of financial necessity. Anyhow, Both physician assistant and physical therapy appeal to what I think would be great choices as I am looking to get out of the desk, work with people, move somewhat vs sit all day and lastly find a balance of helping while making a living. I am an active person, love to help and move - really the opposite of analyzing data and working alone 50 hours a week. It's a lot to organize and looks like I will have to account for a minimum of an extra year to handle all the pre-reqs as I lack a good amount of science (business courses). My few questions are: As all pre-reqs are different per school, could you shed some light on good starting points (EX: Bio + Chem with 1 lab)? Do you know any expedited ways to get into a masters of PA program with an unrelated bachelors degree like business? Advice on getting an informational interview with a local PA? I spoke with a physical therapist and that was very helpful but could not find anything related to physician assistant and would like to identify which is the better fit. Big thanks, I don't need to ask if I am too old I already wished I started earlier but it's good to read many have switched paths in their early 30s from unrelated professions.
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