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I have questions I'd like to ask to a surgical PA. 

1. How plausible is it to want to be a surgical PA? I keep hearing that they get a lot of flack from surgical nurses and techs. I also hear about surgical PAs being pushed to do generalist jobs.

 

2. Is a surgical residency necessary? I know you technically don't need one, but realistically do PAs get hired for surgery without one?

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There are companies you can work for that are strictly surgical with no patient care. Not the best paying in my opinion. Also if you want a surgical practice with patient care there are always docs looking that post "willing to train". But don't expect much more than 80 or 90 your first year as it is a training year.

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I can speak to the fact that as a student you may receive a lot of "flack" from techs and RNs, but I have never heard of a provider catching flack from the ancillary staff.  3 new grads from my program just got hired into surgical positions at 105k+, one got her first position at 112k, so I don't know where the idea of a surgical position making less money comes from either.

 

Although I work ICU and not on the surgical side, I can anecdotally speak from my friends and acquaintances in that they get their rear ends handed to them hours wise.  They are earning those salaries.  In the PNW there are surgical positions open all over the place.

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I work in surgery (ortho) and really enjoy it. Do I wish I had residency training, absolutely. But the job I wanted opened up just at the right time and I took it. Very busy, lots of hours, started at around 80000. But, thats about what I was worth I thought as it took me twice as long to do things then as it does now (mostly related to dictating.) Do I do scut work? Depends on how ya look at it. Preop H&Ps, discharge summaries...could train a monkey to do it. But it needs to be done and frees up my doc, so I get all those. But, I also see patients in clinic, help in surgery, offer opinions freely that my doc is very open to, set a few fractures, cast/splint/suture, inform a patient of a cancer diagnosis, and feel "important" in my position.

Could I make more money with few hours working ER...sure. But I like where I am at and see the potential for making in the 120 range as time goes on. Personal fulfillment and enjoyable work environment play a role.

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