Hello, I recently made a post yesterday and got some great feedback. You can read more about my background and thoughts there. Feel free to give more insight. I am reading all comments and using it sort of as a guidance in making a serious life decision. You can check it here:
However for the professional PA's who are currently working, my main question for you today is:
Are you satisfied as being a PA? What are some things that Physicians do that you can't in your specialties? Give me concrete examples!
A lot of people say autonomy, wide scope of practice, vertical mobility, etc. But what exactly are those day-to-day job differences or limitations that you have noticed in your specialty as a PA? Or do you feel like you have full autonomy?
I am interested in either Internal Medicine (Hospitalist) or Emergency Medicine. But if it's pretty much 90% of the same job as Physicians, then I am not sure if 7 years of medical school is worth it for me. I know people usually recommend PA to MD mostly if you want to go into either surgery or a specialization of some sort.
Can't wait to read your thoughts! Hopefully your comments and answers will give me and others in similar situations a strong resolution.
Should I go back to Medical school AFTER becoming a PA?
Specialties interested in: Internal or Emergency Medicine
Here are my personal thoughts:
I don't like to disparage my profession, but the way we learned medicine was through memorization of algorithms and buzz words. We were not taught the basics of science from a molecular level working upwards. We basically skipped step 1 and went straight into step 2 clinical knowledge. Doctors can see and understand things we cannot. And make connections that we cannot. I think this is what I am craving for. To be that kind of an “expert.” To understand medicine at that level and solve complex cases. I think the funny stereotypical word for this is “mental masturbation” or “intellectually stimulating” haha. I have the personality type of being the best in whatever I do. I feel limited in that sense as a PA.
Financially, I would say I am kind of lucky. I wouldn’t normally tell this to people, but just to give you guys an idea of my situation. I actually don’t have any loans or interests at the moment after PA school. I paid out of pocket. But I was given some personal loans from close families and friends. I do have to pay them back eventually, but there is no time limit. And they would understand if I decide to pursue medical school. I would still have to take the MCAT, apply, do interviews, and then start the following year (this could take 2-3 years; here I could work as a full time PA and save money for medical school). The medical schools in my state are $100k for 4 years. Which is not bad compared to the crazy $200-400k type of other medical schools.
For family life, wouldn’t it still be possible to have? Instead of working 8 hours a day, I would be studying or going to lectures. And then spend time with my family. Especially since I am not a typical pre-med student. I will be entering with a stronger background knowledge from PA school. However I do understand that the residency years will take a huge toll on my work/life balance for 3 years. (My mom or future wife would still have an income during the 4 years of medical school).
But at the end of it all, won’t I truly be knowledgeable in a field of medicine, from basics to advanced. With the reward of earning a higher income and becoming a doctor (not what I’m going for, but still a benefit). I will be done around age 35 and can work 30 more years until 65. Won’t the money gain as a doctor in that time cover any expenses I had? And then be able to teach the next generation as well, confidently. I have a desire to teach as a professor at PA or MD/DO programs. And precept as well.
This is my current thought process, BUT if you guys think that I am delusional or crazy, please call me out on it! Give me reasons why staying as a PA from age 26 will be better for my life in the long-run. And to not make the mistake of going to medical school for 7 years, with unnecessary stress. I want to hear both sides and arguments really well.
How different is the autonomy in internal or emergency medicine between PA and MD/DO? Can I learn step 1 on my own while working as a PA, and be just as knowledgeable and happy? Or is the in-depth training of medical schools and residencies unmatched? And no amount of clinical experience as a PA can ever replace that? (I have my own thoughts of course since I have done clinical rotations, I just want to hear from what you guys think).
***Here are some more of my thoughts that I just private messaged someone:***
Thank you so much for replying, I really need guidance in my life. I am confused and don't know WHAT path is actually WORTH taking.
I love medicine. I have grown super passionate about it. I also love academia. I watch a lot of medical school vlogs and wish I went through the rigorous schooling like they did. PA school felt like a joke to me. It was mainly memorizing buzz words, without understanding the "why's".
Now, I know I can learn the why's using third party resources on my own - like sketchymedical, boards and beyond, pathoma, premade anki decks, etc. However, if I am going to do that, why not do it through medical school and get rewarded with prestige, money, and autonomy?
But that does come with its cons - such as a losing lost income as a PA, family time, and basically life. For 7 years.
I am interested in Internal medicine (hospitalist) or Emergency Medicine. What I want to really know is if there is a huge difference in autonomy, day-to-day job/tasks, etc. Because if it's 90% of the same job, then I am not sure if 7 years of medical school is worth it for me. I know people recommend PA to MD if you want to go into either surgery or a specialization of some sort.
Basically, is 7 years of medical school worth it for me (I am single and 26 years old; I only need the MCAT to most likely get into this DO program in my home city; this way I can be with family and friends and not miss out on life events). It seems like a fun journey to me, something that I would look forward to.
But there is this other easier, more convenient, and relaxing path - which is to remain as a PA and practice medicine. Earning a six figure salary. Living life. And also studying step 1 material with the resources I mentioned earlier.
*sigh* Do you see my dilemma here. Like what is the right path for me - in terms of happiness, life, money, etc.
If I were to redo my years of schooling, I would 100% choose medical school. But because I finished PA school and am interested in specialties that might not be that different as a doctor, is it worth it? Because I do realize I will have to go through numerous standardized examinations - MCAT, Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 3 CS, and residency boards. Also the stress of interviews, applications (both initial and for residency), research papers, etc.
Or will I always regret not going back for medical school?
Hello, everyone. I know it may seem like this would be a bit of a biased place to ask for an opinion on this, but this forum seems really open-minded and overall really respectful with people asking these sort of questions compared to *cough* SDN *cough* other websites. I'm in a bit of a dilemma and I know ultimately this is only a choice I can make myself, but I'd like to get some opinions from others who are ahead of me on their medical journies as a little guidance.
I'm 29 years old and a graduate of Arizona State University, where I majored in Biological Sciences with a minor in Psychology. I always wanted to go the PA route, but the closer I am to finishing my undergrad, the more I'm concerned about possibly regretting the decision to not go ahead and commit to becoming a doctor. One of my biggest concerns with med schools is that I completed my degree online, although I did all my science labs in-person by flying out to the ASU campus. Long story short, I still think I have a good chance at med schools that accept online credits, but I'm unsure if it's what I should do. A quick rundown of my stats:
- Non-traditional, white male, 29 years old
- 3.91 GPA, 3.85 sGPA
- 510 MCAT
- 650+ hours volunteering for a suicidal hotline company. 200+ volunteer hours as a phlebotomist (mostly school blood donating events), and donated $2,000+ in crowd-funded scholarships to students throughout the state with a small company I started in 2015.
- 3,000+ hours as a Certified Surgical Technician at an orthopedic surgery center
- Strong LOR's from 2 orthopedic surgeons, a CRNA, a very well-respected professor, and 2 more from my volunteer coaches
- 40 hours shadowing an Anesthesiologist and CRNA
I feel as if I'm a strong candidate for med school and PA programs, but I'm older. I'm 29 now. I used to work in construction, then aviation, and even ended up leaving a Fortune 500 company (that paid extremely well) to pursue a career in medicine. I made a lot of sacrifices, but it was all worth it. I love my patients and couldn't imagine myself doing anything else in life.
I also want to marry my long-time girlfriend. She's 25, so by the time I'm actually a doctor, she would be around 33. I graduated high school with a 2.3 GPA, suffered from depression for years, considered suicide many times, etc. I went through a lot (as I'm sure a lot of people have) and another one of my main goals is to write books about my experiences and to help motivate others. If I can graduate high school with a 2.3 and go on to become a doctor, I think it would be an awesome story in terms of my writings and would help a lot of people, outside from my patients.
With all this being said, I think the career of being a PA will still satisfy my wants to help people in medicine. My biggest concern so far is that I'd regret not going to med school, but I hear a lot of horror stories about divorces, not being able to see your kids as much when they're younger, residency stories, and etc. The debt is also a big concern, because I would be 37-ish before I could really start paying my loans off. I don't know if it's worth it for me and my age, although I'm not that old. I just want to ask openly - if you were in my shoes, what would you do personally? I know everyone is different, but I'm just looking for some insights from different perspectives. Thanks for the read and sorry to type out so much.
I have recently had a interesting discussion with a medical school Dean on the east coast that is interested in developing a bridge program.
I would go for a program that had these attributes
No MCAT required PA's with at least 5 maybe more experience A duration of no more than 2 years Step 1 to taken at end of 1st year Step 2 at end of 2nd year Ability to gain entry into all available residencies (I would imagine that the prior PA experience would give us a leg up) Isn't excessive in cost What in your opinion should this program look like.....
Is it frowned upon in interviews to mention that you pursued getting into medical school but weren't able to get in. I graduated undergrad in 2012, and for about a year after graduating there is a gap of nothingness (well I was really studying for MCAT and shadowing doctors). So, if that gap is asked about in interviews, should I just be honest?