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PA success stories (In Lieu of "4 years in, still regretting becoming a PA")

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PA student here.

 

just read through the front page'd thread "4 years in, still regretting becoming a PA". brought some bad vibes. It does not resonate with me at all

 

Wanted to hear some success stories about PA's who are also 4-10 years out who feel that becoming a PA was a good fit and offered them the best job (after all, we were ranked #1 best job on Forbes)

 

I am educated and aware of issues WHY people can regret becoming a PA, but I'd just like to focus on the positives instead of the negatives.

 

 

 

 

"the grass is always greener on the other side"

 

So without more rant,

 

PA's who are happy. What about being a PA makes you happy you pursued it? also feel free to mention how being a PA allows you to enjoy other aspects of your life besides time at work.

 

Looking forward to reading

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5 years in and I love practicing medicine as a PA. I won’t lie, my current work place isn’t my dream job… because I loved working at my previous job which was an FQHC, but the administration was horrible! Now I am in the private sector (I do make more money) but not only am I a PA, but also the clinic administrator (my background is health admin). PA’s have a collaborative relationship with our supervising doctor and he is always available for questions. Benefits are ok, but I have a lot of flexibility with my schedule being the clinic administrator.

 

Some positive things:

 

As a PA, I’ve been able to start a program for uninsured patients (small program, for our clinic only) that has improved health outcomes within the uninsured population at our clinic.

 

As a PA, I’ve been able to practice medicine which I find fascinating.

 

As a PA, I earn a pretty good living. I've had to pay my way through college, PA school (my program was a cert program) and now grad school. It's nice to pay back over $80,000 credit card debt that I had accumulated due to everyday living expenses since moving out in my early 20s (not including student loans). I didn't grow up with much money so it's also nice to financially help out my family and extended family when I can. 

 

As a PA, I’ve been able to heal and comfort patients, which at the end of the day that’s really all I wanted to do.

 

In my honest opinion, I just think it’s where you work and what you do with it. I have lots of friends that aren’t happy as a PA and justifiably so. They get paid less than NP’s and get treated unfairly.I think in medicine you will find there is just so much burn out in general from all healthcare workers that we tend to focus on the negative instead of the positive. I will probably get in trouble for saying this but I wanted to go to med school, becuase I didn't know what a PA was until I was treated by one in the ER a few semesters before I applied to PA school. Now, the only time that I regret being a PA and not MD is when I worry about not having a supervising physician- if he retires, etc. I am very lucky to have found a career path that has taught me so many important life lessons. - Sorry I rambled but thought I would share. 

Good luck with your studies!

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Love my job. Work in an academic setting with high autonomy. Every day I learn something new. Group is great with mutual respect all around. Have a lot of loans but landed a competitive salary which is a blessing. Going to PA school was one of the smartest decisions I ever made no doubt about that.

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In general, I love being a PA!

I love medicine and it's challenges. I love having a job that makes me think and use my brain.

I also love the flexibility that comes along with being not only a PA, but working in the ED.

Much of this dissatisfaction I end up having are related to individual jobs and healthcare in general. And being in the ED, it's much easier to become dissatisfied, I think, because of the way it's treated like a 'meat packing plant', get them in, get them out, see as many patients as you can, push yourselves as much as you can. And then we have to deal with so many difficult patients.

I think these types of disparities will come up weather you are a doc or a PA. But they will come up if you are a CPA, lawyer, housekeeper, nanny. Remembering this will help when you see or hear people discussing the down sides of their jobs

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Being a PA is a remarkable career. I have most enjoyed the lateral flexibility, but I am afraid that measures are being put into place that might hamper this mobility.

 

I started out in open heart. I don't think I will ever see anything as amazing as a heart stopped, fixed and started again. The hours were really bad, and I never realized how physically demanding the OR can be. My back started to go bad and I needed a switch.

 

I switched over to the ER which was a natural fit due to an EMS background. I suddenly found myself working 100 less days a year (that is not a typo - I had one-hundred more days off each year). Took up photography, bike riding, kayaking and homebrewing. ER is fun for the challenge of old people, young people, medical problems, surgical problems. I was also a preceptor for PA students in the ED and really enjoyed it which led to my transition into full time PA education.

 

PA education has been awesome. There is a lot of flexibility, but it is a ton of hours - to my students' disbelief, more weekly hours than I put in as a PA student. The trade-off is getting to help shape the next 40 years of the profession. The last 40 years got us established. I hope the next 40 will see us maximize out potential.

 

I know this is overgeneralizing. But with all the flexibility our profession affords if you can't find something that you really like doing you might not be looking hard enough. (Unless you just don't like medicine and need a major career switch.)

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I went through the military's IPAP program- paid for 2 years and no debt. They paid me to learn about things I've always wondered about. I deployed for the 2nd time as soon as I graduated, and learned a ton. Now a commander. I've had good jobs. Work a ton, am a little burnt out on urgent care. I'm 6 years in, just got back from a week of very successful job interviews in Charlotte. I have 4 great offers to choose from, and can move my family to a great place with great schools and I'll have plenty of time off to enjoy it (least amount of vacation was 4 weeks).

 

I like medicine and it's interesting. There are days and situations that suck, but you learn from them and can do better the next time.

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about 15 year PA

 

mostly IM in the past, but did some ER and Pain Management as well

 

landed a great Correctional Medicine Job

 

20 clinical hours per week (hourly)

on call 24x7 but usually 1-2 calls in early eve

 

other best parts

NO INSURANCE - all self insured - so no PA's, no insurance forms, no press ganey....

Pay - $115/hour - 125k/yr

Great Department with an excellent staff - admin has allowed us to "rebuild the department" with new staff 

no nights

no weekends

every holiday off

State Retirement

full bennies

 

 

 

 

So for a 3 day 7 hour clinic I get paid a very fair wage......

 

 

nice to be appreciated.   

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Guest Paula

I've posted in both forum topics.

 

12 years in.  Love my job for the most part.  Love practicing medicine and doing the investigative work it takes to uncover a diagnosis, especially when it has been missed by others.  (I'm sure I've missed diagnoses that others have uncovered).

 

Loved the initial new PA feeling of awe and wonder of the human body and soul.  Loved practicing on my own at an FQHC for 4 years.  Loved rural medicine.  Despise corporate medicine mindset. 

 

My newest job, now one year in, has offered me a position now on the QI committee, which I will accept and my employer has finally realized that PAs need to be represented on every council or committee of the hospital.

 

My kids got through college without too much debt because I was able to help them with tuition. 

Paid off our house due to my income in February 2016.

I've met some pretty fantastic PAs

I've learned that advocacy is what it is all about.

I've actually come to appreciate AAPA after being completely disgusted with them for a few years.  They are good people and have a responsive staffno and many new ideas and is now on track to being an effective organization.   (PAFT has been the pebble in their shoes)

Love being on the PAFT board as a founding member and officer.  Love those PAs on the board:  Great ideas and is so nice to know there are forward thinking people and PAs in the USA

 

Still want to see a title modernization act in a state, maybe mine?

 

I learn something every day.  I have light bulb moments, not just senior moments. 

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I am almost five years into this career. I have come to love medicine and even more so, love the study of medicine. The fact remains that doctors make more money for less work and sometimes for poor quality work. It is also a fact that short fat balding ugly doctors get laid a lot more because they're doctors. It's true that many patients are gullible enough to believe something because a doctor told them it is right. So, PA's have to work harder to deliver confident, evidence based medicine that is properly explained. At this stage in my career, I have about three people every week thanking me profusely for curing a long standing problem or getting them on a path to better health. At least twice a month, a patient will tell me "you are the best doctor I've ever had in my life." (no, it's not because of prescribing) The patients who appreciate my work the most are those who use their heads to make decisions. If your father always bought an IBM computer because his father always bought IBM, your father is always going to want to see a doctor. Your father is probably trying to figure out why he can't get parts for his IBM printer and why no doctors accept his Medicare.  Some people are manipulated by brand identity and up shortchanged in the end. My view is that one should be prepared to change jobs whenever the situation no longer serves your professional goals and interests. Doctors love to steal from PA's. Frequently, leaving for better practice opportunities, better locations and possibly better pay, will enrich the PA career. It will cause the Supervising Physician to explode in a rage of self-centered narcissism. It is fair to say that SPs are getting far more in return from the PAs than they ever invested in terms of time and money. They know it and that is what makes them so angry when a PA switches jobs. The most important obstacle facing PAs is getting independent practice rights in all fifty states. 

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it is also a fact that short fat balding ugly doctors get laid a lot more because they're doctors. 

 

What's your source? Citation please. 

 

Med school doesn't sound so bad now that I think about it ;) 

 

 

...I joke

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NP here (standard disclaimer), and 2nd career dude.  Truth is, the most satisfying career is matching your aptitudes (inborn, natural abilities) with a career.  There are confounding factors of course (work environment, pay, personal values, etc.).  But no one will ever be happy in a job that requires abilities they don't naturally have and/or values they don't possess.

 

I am a middle-aged career changer.  The most career-powerful thing I have ever done is aptitude testing.  No, not the stupid Internet "what kind of career is best for you!" crap, or career inventory crap, or interest inventory crap, or IQ testing crap, or anything else found all over the Internet or anything offered by "career counselors."  Legitimate, scientific, evidenced-based testing of your natural, inborn, and unlearned, intellectual capabilities.  The only career anyone will be satisfied in is one that (a) utilizes your natural intellectual gifts and (b) does not require you to regularly use intellectual weaknesses, and © offers a fit regarding personal values.

 

Anyone considering a career change or struggling after a while as a provider should do aptitude testing.  The myth is that we can learn to be good at anything if we only work and study hard enough.  Not true.  At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, google "Johnson O'Conner Research Foundation." Look him/them up on wiki, the research is fascinating. They are a non-profit research institution that's been around since the 1930's that offers aptitude/psychometric testing.  The Highlands Company/Highlands Ability Battery is a FOR-profit company that utilizes their (Johnson O'Conner) research and offers their testing online.  JOC is on-site in major metropolitan areas.

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Granted, I haven't been a PA for 4 years yet (currently clocking in at just under 3.5 years), but I absolutely do not regret it.

 

It has allowed me to join the military and serve my country. I met great people and was trained well there.

 

2 months before my separation, my father had a stroke. He is unable to work. I had been previously looking for work, but discontinued this after the onset of his illness. Upon discharge, I moved home to help take care of him. He is improving well and I'm less needed. So I applied for a few jobs and had a TON of interest. I am due to start a part-time job next week, after looking for about 3 weeks, pending an EM residency that I interviewed with and really want.

 

My point is that we have so many options. And that, today, is a wonderful thing.

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Between my 1099's and my W-2s I grossed about $165K last year....and we spent about 60 nights at the lake last summer.  

I just came off 12 hour shift where we averted a disasterous with a 12 week old beautiful little baby, used Ketamine to help sew up a little boy's face, told the nurses to calm down because it's wide complex SVT and not V-tach, and we helped a bunch of other folks as well.  Yeah, the "my kid has a fever" gets old, but it's easy peasy.

 

Its o'dark thirty, I just got home, having my after-shift beverage before I shower and climb into bed with my hot nurse wife.  I'm off for the next 2 days before I drive to my 72 hour extremely rural locums job where I'll get paid very well to see about 8 patients a day.  Then we go on another vacation (this one's only a weekend getaway) on my TEN DAYS OFF.

 

It's almost summer time.  Gotta get the boats and motorhome ready for the lake.

 

I make great money, set my own schedule, and get to help people.  I love being a PA.  

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No regrets !. I love being a PA.

Served 20 years in the USN as a Corpsman. Started off as a surgical tech working in head and neck, finished up as a Fleet Marine Force Independent Duty Corpsman.

Cashed in on my GI Bill at EVMS in Norfolk.

I have been working in Psychiatry since graduation and I love it.

 

I set my own schedule. I am paid on straight production (The harder I work the more I am paid). I have loads of autonomy.

My only regret is that I was not able to get to PA school 15 years ago.

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I love what I do today, it was just so damn hard getting here! high acuity/busy solo coverage shift last night. 90 yr old chf pt with sao2 of 70% and polysubstance od pt with head trauma and gcs 3. busy times in the country!

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I have said this before, many times, and am happy to say it again.  I love what I do.  I have the awesome privilege of taking care of people.  I don't think I have found my end niche yet, but I'm getting there.  I have worked internal medicine, family practice, urgent care, wound care, and still do some prehospital stuff with a little bit of expanded scope which was easy to attain because of my schooling.  It's all just the greatest work I could have imagined.  I don't love every single day of it...  Nobody does in any job.  But the overall gestalt is fantastic.  *And* I made a boat load of money last year doing it.  I have paid off a lot of my student loans, I have a house, money for hobbies, my kids know my name.  So, being a PA is great. 

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I am a new PA. Just graduated this Spring. It took a while to find the right job, but I think my first job is absolutely amazing.
I work FM/UC in a rural clinic. I am scheduled 6 days on and 8 days off. I make 6 figures and I get 26 weeks off a year!

Even better, if they ask me to work on my days off to fill in for somebody, my pay is doubled.
My SP is in the clinic a couple days a week, but is always available by phone and is frequently checking up on me (in a good way) and pointing me in the right direction.

 

I have great MAs to help me. I have a SP who loves PAs and who actively teaches me and tries to develop my skills. The patients are mostly great (though there is way too much opioid addiction and diversion in rural America).

 

Maybe it is because I am new and all, but I love the job. It is even better that I had hoped for.

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I am a recently graduated PA in the ER and am obsessed with my job. Although there are some kinks that have to be ironed out, I look forward to going to work every day. It is one of the most fun things ever and I can't believe I get paid to do this!

 

- I get to interact with people from all walks of life every day and actually help them.

- I get to use my brains every minute of the day. Nothing is mindless.

- My first year as a PA working on average 45 hours per week, I will make 120K with (hopefully) bonuses on top of that.

- PAs are cool and everyone knows that. Docs and patients alike generally love what we do.

 

Specifically PA vs. MD...

- I graduated with only 28K in debt vs 200-300K in debt.

- I spent two years of my 20s focused on learning my craft vs. eight years.

- Seeing the gutwrenching stress, sleepless nights, fierce competition with no end in the near future that my med school friends gone through so far - NO THANKS.

- I can change specialities whenever I want.

- I can be independent if I want but at least in my field, I always have a physician to fall back on. It's OK if I don't know everything - I've got someone to back me up. To me this translates to less liability.

- The medical field is rewarding but it's getting to be kinda nuts. Although my emotional and mental investment into being a PA was high, the financial and time investment was NOT. As I result I can jump ship if medicine gets too crazy, rather than feeling more stuck as an MD who has invested significantly more.

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Before I read this whole thread, I'd just like to say thanks for starting this. I actually avoided the forum for a span of 3ish months because of the general negativity that is rampant in these posts. The pre-pa section is full of disappointing posts about not being good enough to get in and the arrogance of those with good GPAs. The Professional PA section, while entertaining and educational, seems full of people bitching about the career they chose (a 2 year masters that pays them close to 6 figures). I fully understand the negatives that go into being a PA, and a medical provider in general, but a little perspective is always good. So thank you

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I have said this before, many times, and am happy to say it again.  I love what I do.  I have the awesome privilege of taking care of people.  I don't think I have found my end niche yet, but I'm getting there.  I have worked internal medicine, family practice, urgent care, wound care, and still do some prehospital stuff with a little bit of expanded scope which was easy to attain because of my schooling.  It's all just the greatest work I could have imagined.  I don't love every single day of it...  Nobody does in any job.  But the overall gestalt is fantastic.  *And* I made a boat load of money last year doing it.  I have paid off a lot of my student loans, I have a house, money for hobbies, my kids know my name.  So, being a PA is great. 

That's a huge reason why I'm going PA and not MD. Not that docs aren't around for their kids, but in my experience, PAs seem to have better work life balance. My dad wasn't around when I was young... I'm a product of an affair and he didn't care to leave his family to be around... so being there for my kids milestones is a huge priority for me

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