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  1. Hello everyone, I'm new to the forums here and have found them helpful, thank you all. I've done quite a bit of research on being a PA (course work, specialties, applying, shadowing, etc), however, I haven't had luck finding many posts on the experiences of people who were over 40 years old and decided to go back to school to become a PA. Can those in this situation please share their experiences and challenges in PA school and afterwards in a job as a PA, please? I would like to hear about your experience overall and any specifics or thoughts you'd like to share that you think are important - if you've become a PA after 40 would you do it again, why or why not? If you want more context here's my situation: I’m 41 years old and am very seriously considering a career as a PA. My reasons being I love to work with and help people and truly enjoy medicine, health and science. I was previously in IT and then I became an elementary and middle school teacher, because I really love working with people and children. I then worked as a nutrition consultant for about 5 years (not a registered dietician or nutritionist). I have a BS in Education (double major in math/science, and cumulative of GPA 3.95). I want to pursue more with my life in a career that provides more opportunities while doing something I really enjoy but while avoiding high levels of stress, pressure and excessive work. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to work hard and keep busy, but I don't want to be stressed out all the time like you see with so many doctors and nurses. Also, I don’t have any big commitments (not married, no house payment, etc), so I’d be free to focus on school and relocate if necessary, so that's a big plus. Some things I'm wondering about: 1. Stress...Are stress levels high for PA's? I can't seem to get a consensus on this and yes, I know it depends on your specialty and who you work with. I don’t typically like high pressure/stress situations. I’m naturally more of a methodical, step-by-step, structure-liking, analytical, detail oriented creature. Fast paced/stressful situations tend to cause a fair amount of anxiety for me and although I can deal with this, I still feel stressed from it and no that's not a good long term plan for health. For example, I wouldn't want to be an EMT or paramedic,but have the up most respect for those who do that work. 2. Perfectionism…While I’ve done very well in school (GPA=3.95) i admit that I’m a perfectionist. So, I take longer to do things (get caught up in the details) and I don’t manage my time as well as I'd like, though I try REALLY hard! Given the rigor and demands of PA school, I’m guessing this will make PA school VERY hard. I’m trying to be realistic here because I know personality traits don't change much, yet you can learn to manage things better to a degree. Thoughts? Is the PA profession a good choice for someone like this? 3. Settling into work....I’m guessing it would take me 2 to 3 years to “settle” into my new career as a PA (meaning extra time and work those years) after I graduated from PA school. Is that a far assessment? 4. Real world PA....What would you say are the best 3 ways to get a “big, fat dose of reality” in terms of experiencing what it is REALLY LIKE to work as a PA? I’ve shadowed different PA’s, doctors, NP’s and PT’s, but have not held an official health care job, such as a C.N.A., EMT-B, etc. Watching a PA is clearly not the same as being one with all the responsibility, stress, demands, etc. I've been told becoming an EMT-B is probably the best way to get a feel for what it's like being a PA. Is that accurate? Thank you so much in advance for any help/advice you can provide!
  2. I'm in my late twenties with almost ten years as a paramedic. I have been involved in education and the development of the triage system in my local ED as well as helping develop the trauma program for Level II certification. I have strong LOR. What I don't have is a stellar undergraduate record. My degree is from the University of Pittsburgh in Natural Science. My overall GPA is around 2.4-2.5. Science GPA is higher at around 2.8. I have multiple retakes. Went with undiagnosed ADD/Dyslexia for a long period of time. Will completing a Masters in Pharmacology and Toxicology be beneficial to obtain admission into PA programs?
  3. Here is my first go at a rough draft for my personal statement. I know it needs work but I wanted some insight. Any help is appreciated. The first time I truly knew what compassion felt like was when a patient came into the emergency room for fatigue and abdominal pain. That may seem simple, but in talking to the man while waiting on his CT scan to be read I found out that he had recently adopted triplets. While he was scared to see what the tests showed, he lit up when he talked about the little girls he now called his own. He laughed and said if I can make it through Vietnam, a little tummy pain isn’t going to kill me. I will never forget the look on his face when the doctor I was scribing for went in the room and this veteran he had end stage liver cancer. As a scribe in a rural emergency room I routinely saw this man come in for pain management and IV fluids. One day, I asked a nurse why I hadn’t seen him in a while and she told me he had passed away. This experience could have hardened me and turned me away from the career in healthcare I wanted, but instead it lit a fire inside and made me want to be able to have an impact in the lives of others. Seeing this man, who was actively dying, constantly thank the doctors and Physician Assistants who saw him and helped to ease his discomfort helped to restore my faith in humanity. My goal from that day forward was to become a PA where I could help other men and women like this man who had an impact on my life. Upon moving to a position as a medical assistant in a dermatology practice, I have been able to interact with patients on a more personal level. Being able to joke with a patient and comfort them before being stuck with that needle they fear or talking a patient through a diagnosis of cancer has been very rewarding and challenging. Being a PA is a goal of mine because of the ability to perform as a healthcare provider, while having the ability to change fields when needed. I love that as a PA, I can work in an ER one year, work as a pediatrician the next and then work as a general surgeon PA the next. That ability to be a “jack of all trades” is something that I love the idea of as my life moves closer to my end goal, being a PA-C. With that said, being a PA also appeals to me because I can become a master of one field when I find my true field of calling.
  4. I got an interview at The University of South Dakota. Does anybody know much about that program? They have a good PANCE Pass rate.
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