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explosion of openings

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I dont know what it is but ive been watching job opening in my area (South Florida) and there are openings every week for Heme/Onc positions. I think right now ive seen 5 in the past week. Any idea what this could be related too. It seems other specialties are holding off due to the ACA

 

it also seems this field is rather dry if i compare the activity of the various specialty forums. there are only 2 posts here haha

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I'm actually in the process of going into oncology down the road. What do you think of your experience thus far? Like you said, it is hard to find PAs in oncology because of its sub-specialty.

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I have been keeping an eye on Heme/Onc jobs as they pop up and I have noticed the same as you. Most seem to be looking for PAs with a couple years of experience so I have shifted away from looking at them as much. I am a soon to be new grad and while I think I might like Heme/Onc, I don't have much of an idea of what a Heme/Onc PA does.

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Do a search on Medscape for a heme/onc resident burnout article over the past year and you will understand why there is such a demand after reading the article. They can't even get out of residency without being burned to a crisp career wise, or mentally for that matter.

 

 

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I actually spoke to a PA in oncology at MD Anderson in Houston, TX. What she described sounded great as her doctor, who is now more comfortable with her, gives her a lot of autonomy in being a part of surgeries, having clinic time ranging from going over diagnosis to discussing treatment plans. It sounds like what I would want should I go that route, but as with any PA job, a lot of it is contingent on the MD/DO that is over you. However, at MDA, the PA and the NP are viewed as the same. MDA employs some of the most PAs of all places in the country. They are at the higher end of the pay scale, good benefits, and flexible schedules. Definitely worth a look if in the area. She did mention that they are slow when hiring so apply at least 3 months in advance. MDA also doesn't require initial experience to work there. They have the only oncology residency for PAs in the country. I asked her about that and she said she applied but wasn't accepted because they are looking for PAs to do that who have many years of experience. It almost makes you wonder if it is worth it, besides maybe getting more, to have years experience and then go back to a residency.

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Do a search on Medscape for a heme/onc resident burnout article over the past year and you will understand why there is such a demand after reading the article. They can't even get out of residency without being burned to a crisp career wise, or mentally for that matter. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

I think that is the beauty in the PA profession in that respect. As a medical oncologist, if you get burnt out on oncology you either fall back to your internal medicine residency that you have completed or be prepared to undertake another residency. As a PA, if you get burnt out, you can rotate out of that field for a while and then always go back. To be an oncologist as a MD/DO, including med school, it is roughly 10 years. I'm still in the process of deciding MD or PA for oncology and realizing that definitely affects your thoughts when weighing the options.

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Are you referring to this Q&A: Why Are Young Oncologists Burned Out?

Lidia Schapira, MD; Timothy J. Moynihan, MD

I just recall the article and how they were becoming severely demoralized and overworked.

 

 

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I was a heme/onc PA for a year.  There's good and bad just like any job.  There are definitely a lot of aspects to learn in onc.  Each type of cancer has its own staging and different treatments and different side effects.  Out of the different fields I have worked in, onc has the highest rate of new meds and studies.  Not an easy specialty to work in, in my opinion.

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I've been a heme/onc PA for about 3.5 months now- started in outpatient as a new grad and have been completely overwhelmed since. There is so much to it and I have not had enough time for self study (or even reading enough background on the patient before I see them) in my position because I am so busy constantly (like come in early, leave late, and eat at my desk while working). I am actually about to leave my job to start a more specialized one (in ABMT) at an academic medical center, where I was promised a 6 month formal training period. I happen to love heme malignancy so it is a great fit (along with other definite advantages). It was a struggle trying to decide if this was the right thing to do, but ultimately I had many good reasons to leave my current practice and I am actually leaving on a good note (because I didn't spell out all my reasons).

 

To answer the question about how heme/onc PAs are used- it is different in different settings. At my current practice, the PAs see the majority of patients solo and have more autonomy than we probably should, given our experience levels. But, it is a small private practice and this is the model needed to help it stay afloat financially. I am headed to an academic medical center where I will have much less autonomy. As a new grad in a difficult field, I welcome this change. The PAs who have been on the team I'm joining for a long time alluded to the fact that they'd like more autonomy there, and I guess I will probably feel that way eventually.

 

Not only are there more new meds and studies, but the labs and genetic testing can be mind-boggling, especially in heme! Yet, you still need good internal med knowledge because you tend to become PCP for your patients while they are going through treatment (and even after sometimes).

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I believe the Mayo program is an Internal Medicine fellowship with a heme/onc track as an option... I think I read it was 16 weeks of heme/onc if you choose that track.  

 

Also, the MD Anderson fellowship does not only accept people with previous experience as a PA... many fellows are new grads. It's a tough program, but great experience seeing all of the different "sub-specialties" from the medical, surgical, as well as radiation onc side of things.  Very comprehensive. 

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I have been a PA in Oncology for about 12 years. Although is a hard field in both, scientific and emotionally, I feel that this specialty has given me a much higher knowledge in Internal Medicine. drug interactions with chemo meds bring a world of knowledege that I wouln't have nown in Primary Care. And the interaction with the patients is rewarding, buecause it implies a different kind of bond, since this is not like going to the surgeon to fix a hernia, or th the PCP to treat a strep throat, and then you will dsee them as needed. this is a permanent bond.

I strongly recommend HemeOnc to a new graduate, as they come with "empty bagage" and can learn from scratch.

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