Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Good afternoon all!

Prefacing my first post by thanking everyone for their contributions - this forum has provided me with excellent info on the PA profession.

Now, a little bit about me:

 

I graduated from University in May of 2015, and have been struggling with the decision of whether to go into clinical medicine or research since my freshman year. I dipped my toes into both realms throughout college, working as a research assistant for 2 years, and as an emergency room patient advocate for 3 years. My current job is split between both fields as well - I am a research coordinator but act as clinical support (taking vitals, monitoring patient progress, advising in care plans, etc.) when needed.

I hoped that some exposure to both fields would pull me in one direction, but the scale has yet to tip, and my experiences have only fueled my passion for both fields almost equally. I've contemplated the M.D / Ph.D route a few times, but the time-commitment doesn't align with the goals I have for my personal life.

 

I've been told to just get an M.D degree, since I'd be able to do both, but the docs that I work with seem to have trouble balancing both seeing patients and working on their research, and tend to shine in one area over the other. The M.D route additionally doesn't appeal to me for a variety of reasons, which I'm sure you've all heard, so I wont spend time explaining my pick of PA over MD, unless someone here thinks it might be relevant to providing advice, of course.

I'd like to complete both degrees in order to work on clinical interventions as both a provider and a researcher, but don't know where to start. Does it make sense to go to school for one first over the other? I've heard of the of Wake Forest dual degree program, but don't want to just bank on that and not have a back-up plan. 

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you again!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

If MDs can't balance patients and research, what makes you think a PA will be able to?

 

Why PhD?  If you want to do interventions why not PA/MPH?  That would solve a lot of your problems.  Otherwise it really sounds like you're trying to do too much.  Find someone who can successfully balance both fields and ask them what they would recommend.

 

Otherwise, I'd say PA second so your clinical skills are fresh.  If you do PA then go right into a PhD, you'll have a hard time finding someone to hire you as a PA with no recent clinical experience.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

You make a good point MT2PA. I guess I'm only speaking from my experienecs - I'm sure there are research PAs who struggle with this too, and M.Ds who split their time effectively.

I don't really know what the limitations of an MPH are in terms of research - can an MPH be a principle investigator? This indeed might solve some of my problems if it will help me find clinical research jobs as a PA, but the appeal of a Ph.D to me is the ability to really emerse myself into a narrow niche of knowledge.   

 

That's awesome EMEDPA! The problem I'm foreseeing is that I'm particularly interested in Neuroimmunology research, and the programs I've found so far are full-time. Any chance I'd be able to swing weekend or night shifts as a PA, or would I have to take time off?

 

Thanks for all of your contributions!


 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You make a good point MT2PA. I guess I'm only speaking from my experienecs - I'm sure there are research PAs who struggle with this too, and M.Ds who split their time effectively.

 

I don't really know what the limitations of an MPH are in terms of research - can an MPH be a principle investigator? This indeed might solve some of my problems if it will help me find clinical research jobs as a PA, but the appeal of a Ph.D to me is the ability to really emerse myself into a narrow niche of knowledge.   

 

That's awesome EMEDPA! The problem I'm foreseeing is that I'm particularly interested in Neuroimmunology research, and the programs I've found so far are full-time. Any chance I'd be able to swing weekend or night shifts as a PA, or would I have to take time off?

 

Thanks for all of your contributions!

 

 

 

I guess my question would be - the research sounds very important to you - why even bother with the clinical side?  Is it necessary to do the research you want to do?  I don't think clinical research is really a big pull for PAs.  From my perspective, part of the reason people choose PA over MD is because practicing clinically is truly their goal. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know that it is necessary, but it would certainly be a perk, especially in the world of cutting-edge medical research. I also still have a strong drive to be a provider as well. My dream job would be one where I work in collaboration with other scientists in clinical trials, but play a role in the care the patients recieve.

 

I also don't see myself doing the same thing for the entirety of my career, and would like the flexibility of scaling down on research and picking up more clinical work, or vice-versa. Working part time at two seperate jobs would also provide me with some variety.

 

I'm not sure that I'm adequately conveying my desire to have a foot in both worlds, but I hope my reasoning makes some sense.

Link to post
Share on other sites

if you are truly committed to clinical and research I vote PA first. Look for roles where you can step into the world of research. I know a couple of sub investigators who help with clinical trials. I have also heard of PAs who make it to PI. It's rare but it's possible. Then if you cant find that combo you are looking for go PhD and work PRN while you do it to keep your clinical skills fresh.

 

However I would say PA is 2.5 yrs plus 4 years for a PhD. Med school is 4 years plus 3 years of residency. Time wise and with what you want to do Med school makes some sense. just something to point out that I'm sure you've already considered

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm 23, but have a few requirements to finish up and the GRE to take, so my hope is to get started with school at 25.

Thanks for the advice newton9686 - going to PA school first would also ensure that the pre-pa requirements I have completed don't expire by the time I finish the PhD.

As for the Med school suggestion, I was pre-med in college, but I didn't have the most realistic view of what being a doctor entailed. Additionally, the pre-med culture at my University was disheartening, and I realized (after having completed my pre-med requirements, no less) that my disenchantment towards the M.D profession is ideologically-based.

 

I hope nobody interprets this as an attempt to find a short-cut. The PA profession satisfies my clinical ambitions, and I think a Ph.D degree might prepare me, personally, for a career in clinical research better than an M.D degree would. I know that there are phenomenal MDs out there in the research world, but to each their own path.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do not believe in choosing MD because of your age, based on what you said my vote is med school. I really think if its the pre-med culture turning you off, you still might a good fit for the right medical school. For example, in my state we have the traditional big time med schools like UNC and Duke. These are the kids getting the 38s on their MCATs and are more of your stereotypical pre-meds, not all, but more know it alls than your average PA applicant. Then you have this medical school in eastern North Carolina by the name of ECU. Totally different approach, they committed to enrolling students who are less appealing from a numerical standpoint but are more "well rounded people". No one way to say that in the PC world without offending someone but most of ya'll get what I mean.

 

My point being choose PA/PhD if that is what you want to do. But my opinion is you are more likely to regret it a major reason for choosing PA is because  you are turned off by the sterotypical pre-med know it alls. 

 

Best of luck Spice.

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I have a PhD in research, I am a PA. Planning for a PhD/PA dual degree is insanity. In my daily life I do not use my PhD training At All. In fact my PhD training has little relevance to clinical research and zero relevance to clinical practice. If you want to do clinical research you need an MD. PhD's doing clinical research are at a distinct disadvantage. They need to collaborate with MD's to get access to patients.

 

If you are a PA 'doing' clinical research, you will most likely not have a role in decision making or planning, which is the interesting part of research. Even if you have a PhD, it is likely the MD's will not take you as seriously because your medical training is PA only.

 

PA training is hands-on, clinical. The only reason to go to PA school is to learn to take care of patients. There is no (or very little) clinical research component to PA school. If you are interested in advancing medical science, you need to go to medical school. MD-PhD offers the additional advantage of 1) med school tuition is covered; and 2) you have a much better training in scientific (as opposed to purely clinical) research. Disadvantage of course is the time invested, and the difficulty in getting the dual degrees plus medical residency. Also the programs are very very competitive for entry.

 

Believe me, I have inhabited the PhD, academic, biomedical research worlds for a long time. I know what I'm talking about. PM me if you want discuss more.

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Similar Content

    • By Gilyprepa
      Hey everyone, there are still tickets available for those who are interested in the Loma Linda PA program. We have changed our event from zoom to being ON CAMPUS. There will be prizes raffled off. Due to some restrictions still being in place, the tickets that are being sold will only allow one person per ticket. More info on the flyer and event bright website. Thank you so much! Hope to see you there. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/llus-3rd-annual-pre-pa-conference-tickets-145958073527
      prePA conference final draft flyer On CAMPUS.pdf
    • By koconn
      Hey y'all so I am a sophomore in undergrad and in the process of just starting to get PCE, shadow, and volunteer hours and etc, but I am super stressed out because I am itching to start getting PCE hours except its so difficult while in school. I was thinking about becoming an EMT and working for 2 years after I graduate but I wasn't sure if being an EMT is considered PCE among most colleges, does anyone know? (I also tried to work as a caregiver over summer and that job isn't for me) 
       
      Also, I'm trying to compile a list of PA schools to apply to, so if anyone has any recommendations for schools on the east coast please let me know! 🙂
    • By PAApplicant22
      Hi I’m a first time applicant and would anyone be interested in looking at my personal statement and seeing what needs to be revised? Here is the link down below 
      Personal Statement copy.docx
    • By vjaniceb
      Hi there, my name is Vanessa and I just graduated with my bachelor's in February. I am looking to pursue into a PA program but not quite sure where to start. I am currently studying for the GRE and have about 250 internship hours done at an ENT clinic with an audiologist. I'm not sure in what I am doing and need any guidance or suggestion in what to do. 
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More