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Any UNE or Rush grads out there?


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If there are any UNE  or Rush grads out there on the forum, I'm interested in your opinion of your respective program.  Did you have a positive experience? Feel well prepared? How were the clinical sites?

I was accepted to both and am trying to make a decision between UNE and Rush.

My assessment,

 

Rush is a newer program, I think 3 years old? Clinical site locations are likely less well established, but the program has the ability to lean heavily on its giant academic medical center.

 

UNE is 20ish years old, clinical sites are more well established and quality of sites I anticipate would be consistently good (at least decent)

 

Tuition is nearly identical 96k at Rush vs 98k at UNE. Cost of living in Chicago for 30 months is significantly greater than Portland ME for 24 months. 

 

Rush is 30 months with the final 6 months dedicated to a chosen specialty. UNE is 24 months, standard 12 didactic 12 clinical.

I think this extra 6 month clinical offering at Rush could be huge for my first job. More confidence, less time feeling terrified and out of my league as a dangerous, new, and inexperienced new PA. 

 

Ultimately I want to be back west in ID, WA, MT or OR doing ER, urgent care, maybe family med so neither school has regional connections.

 

My heart wants to be in Portland ME at UNE because i liked the faculty, students, and location better. My gut says Rush might better prepare me for my first year of practice and leave me with less anxiety and fear as a sketchy new PA.

 

I expect that 3-4 years into practice I will have found my groove after graduating from either ,and both schools seem well equipped to train good PAs.  How real is the first year of practice pucker factor, is it worth it to stay in an expensive city paying an extra 10-20k to mitigate this? I don't ever want to live in a large urban city but should I suck it up and deal with Chicago for 30 months?

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First of all, I'm glad you haven't made an acceptance as yet. I will answer your question but I want you to first consider better alternatives than going to PA school. The have been many significant blows to the PA profession in the last decade and the fate of this profession is rather dismal. I have stated in many other posts that no undergraduate should consider entry into PA school. The reason for my recommendation is that both medical education and NP education will leave you with far greater opportunities and career satisfaction. If you can get into PA school, you can get into medical school. The price is about the same. Medical school is 36 months and the Rush program is 30 months. At the end of medical school , you can do a one, two or three year residency (for which you are paid) and then have an independent practice for life. You can make your own future. As a PA, you will just be a tool for corporate managers to manipulate. As you read the many other posts here, you see that PAs have no freedom and are forced to write opioids for addicts and dealers every day or risk being terminated. The PA will never start his own practice free from the paying a Physician overlord. So you will be running like a hamster on a wheel because your schedule is not set by acuity but by profit motives at the top. The better alternative is medical school all around. If you have to go to a DO school, do that. It is still superior to PA school. Our profession will be dead in ten years because we have no plan to win independent practice and we waste time every ten years repeating the equivalent of the Physician's USMLE step 1. Already, at the VA, PAs can no longer get jobs because NPs are more favored for their independent status. THe same disadvantage holds in 22 states where NPs have independent practice. PAs have no states with independent practice.

 

I promised to answer your question. Go to the shorter program. Most programs for PA education of garbage now. The years of history mean nothing. All that matters is graduating soon and passing the exam. The school does not prepare you to practice. You learn medicine by practicing medicine. You alone are responsible for learning medicine. Your Physician "colleagues" are not interested in helping you. They only want to profit from you. Get your first job and you'll find out that your PA school teachers basically stole money from you because you learn more in six months of working than you will have learned in the last 24 months of PA school. As far as reputation, nobody cares about where you went to school or what your board scores are. The people who are out there snatching jobs away from you are NPs who had far inferior education and never take recert exams. No hiring manager cares that you had better education or get reboarded. Learn to play the game that is already rigged against you.

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No way I would consider the 30m program. There are accelerated medical schools that are 36m. Your debt burden would be about the same and you would come out ahead just within 1-2 years after a residency. Residency, apparently, sucks, but the chances are not neglible that you would find a job as a new grad PA that works you to death anyway and puts more burdens/constraints on you than you would see as a resident.

 

There are kernels of truth in that wall of text above and while they don't typically affect my day to day, they are certainly not worth simply swiping aside as if they are not real concerns. I don't think things are quite as apocalyptic as it may sound above, but you will see legislation in your career regarding some of the aforementioned issues.

 

I would encourage you to shoot for the shorter program, save cash, and consider a 6-12m PA residency if you find that you really want more. Residency pays you!

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1) Indp. practice for MDs is dead. Not sure why anyone would want to run their own practice anyway? Sounds brutally stressful.

 

2) All first jobs you'll work yourself like crazy because you're new, energized, and worried about making mistakes.

 

3) My personal vote is UNE because I don't know what kind of clinical sites RUSH has. UNE is established and well respected. Chicago also isn't my cup of tea, but that's just me. I've worked with UNE grads and they are a good bunch.

 

4) There is a disillusionment about time on this forum. It's an American thing.

 

5) You'll be cognizant and repay your debt quickly. I wouldn't worry about the extra 20k if that's what you want.

 

6) Don't get discouraged by the folks who are upset they didn't chose MD. That was their choice. For all the complaining that occurs on this forum they could have used that energy to apply to MD programs or the DO bridge...

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I'd say only do Rush if you actually want to work in a specialty (where that extra 6 months would be beneficial).  To employers, you'll still be newly graduated so they won't care how long your program was.  Might as well get your feet wet and get PAID for 6 months instead of paying tuition.

 

As an aside - Rush has had 4 graduating classes - so older than 3 yrs - but also have a 100% PANCE pass rate, which should mitigate any concerns about them being 'new'.

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1) Indp. practice for MDs is dead. Not sure why anyone would want to run their own practice anyway? Sounds brutally stressful.

 

6) Don't get discouraged by the folks who are upset they didn't chose MD. That was their choice. For all the complaining that occurs on this forum they could have used that energy to apply to MD programs or the DO bridge...

On item 1, Rhizopus is correct for the most part. MDs who are in private practice as single or group practitioners are rapidly selling to large hospital systems. So, there is a growing niche which may prove to become more potent in medical practice. It goes by many different names but frequently is called Direct Pay. It simply means that the doctor doesn't take insurance. They are paid by the patient up front. Doctor sets his own fees, his own schedule, chooses his own patients. Overhead is minimal because the corporate monkeys are off his back. It isn't restricted to Primary care only. There are subspecialists in Direct Pay; not just Psychiatry but also general surgery, orthopedics, dermatology and more. Many or perhaps most have refused to take Medicare and Medicaid as well. No private, no public insurance. Cash only. Very little overhead, high margins because no declined payments means less volume is required. It is a model that works. 

 

If PAs had independent practice rights and some business education, there would be hundreds of new clinics opening in the country in one year. So, Rhizopus sees a dismal future because he simply looks at things as they are and asks "Why", others will look at the way things could be and ask "Why not?"

 

On item 6, Rhizopus wants you to believe that the naysayer is a malcontent, never do well individual. I contend that more individual PAs will reject this model of subservience to Physicians. The underlying feature that supports this change is the makeup of the PA that graduates from a Masters program. Unlike the PA who graduated 25 to 30 years ago, today's PA grad when compared to his MD counterpart has the same or greater intellectual capacity  PROVEN in undergraduate work. PrePA is equal to or greater in rigor that of Premed. If a study were done comparing PAs of 25 years experience with PAs with 5 years experience and they had the two groups take MCAT, USMLE step 1, and 2. You would see huge differences in the two groups and you would see the younger PA group on par or better than the MD Family Medicine/Internal Medicine group today. What I hope Rhizopus appreciates is that the trajectory of the young PA's career will never reach its zenith because despite superb intellectual capacity, rigorous application of study and practice and residency training, the PA will remain subservient (dependent practitioner) for his or her lifetime even after full realization of his equal capacity to perform at the level of Physicians. I reference the comparison to the Southern slave because it is appropriate. The plantation master had his future resting entirely in a business model that was labor intensive. Competition was impossible if the slave was paid wages and benefits. Hence slavery was the mechanism of profit. The Physician overlords utilize PAs in the same manner and granting you freedom to practice would crush their profits. Their (physician's) business model depends on the slave labor of PAs. 

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UNE grad here.  I have nothing but positive things to say about this program.  

 

The program and faculty are great.  Didactic year is incredibly intense but there is plenty of help there if you need it.  Faculty are top notch and VERY receptive to input from the students.  I've done several pretty long winded other posts with specifics on the didactic year if you want to search them!

 

Clinical sites are great.  They have a few "pods" set up where you do several rotations in 1 place, which is good.  There are more in development--hopefully one where I work in the near future! They are pretty good at vetting preceptors.  With that said, some people had rotations they didn't love.  You won't love every rotation.  Just plan for that.  The school is very responsive if there is a legitimate problem with your rotation--I would suspect less so if you don't like it (which is reasonable).  

 

As far as being prepared...  You won't ever feel prepared as a new grad.  If you do, go check yourself before you hurt someone! I feel I was as well prepared as I could be to jump into a level 2 emergency department.  The learning curve is steep no matter what you do right out of school so plan for that! I don't know personally of anyone from my class who has not been reasonably successful (but I'm not in touch with many from my class).  Most of the people I am in touch with are happy and very successful. 

 

I know nothing about Rush so I can't speak to that.  30 months (to me) sounds LONG after doing a 24 month program! But 6 extra months to learn more sounds good too.  The final 6 months in a specialty sounds amazing but I'd want to know more.  I'd be more inclined to do a residency than spend an extra 6 months in school though.  Again, just my thoughts in hindsight.  

 

Let me know if I can help with any questions. 

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