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Hey guys. I have seen similar topics posted around here before, but... I wanted to ask any of you who have children and have gone through PA programs: is it feasible to do well in a PA program when you have kids? I have recently gotten lots of different advice from different people telling me that PA school schedules are "very unforgiving" when it comes to students having to be there for family and such. I'm honestly not sure what this means (didn't have a chance to ask these people). I suppose what I am concerned with would be picking my son up from daycare on time or being able to make accommodations if he is sick, etc. Also, for those of you with families, did your spouse have to stay at home with children--maybe even quit their job so you could go through the PA program?

I apologize if I seem a bit anxious--I am definitely freaking out a little the more I think of these things! I am a nontraditional student who is currently trying to make EMT certification, pre-reqs, working as a vet tech, and being a mom work! It's a little nuts. Any advice at all is welcome. TIA.

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Yes, it's possible to do well in PA school with a family, but a supportive spouse will make or break that.  Single parents with good support systems HAVE succeeded in PA school, but it's a really tough thing to have to do.

I never had to take any time off of PA school for my kids' needs.  None of them were in daycare, except for the on-site care at the place my wife worked part time teaching water aerobics.

Also, "nontraditional" PA students are under 25ish.  If you're over 25, you're a traditional PA student.

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Thank you so much for your response, Rev Ronin. Very helpful!

My spouse is supportive of my pursuing the PA track, but I just worry a lot when I think of how hard it might get for both of us during a program. It will be worth it in the end, but it's tough to think there might be a possibility of putting so much strain on everyone else.

Thank you again.

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Thank you so much for your response, Rev Ronin. Very helpful!
My spouse is supportive of my pursuing the PA track, but I just worry a lot when I think of how hard it might get for both of us during a program. It will be worth it in the end, but it's tough to think there might be a possibility of putting so much strain on everyone else.
Thank you again.
I'm 38 and married with two kids (10 and 5), and will be submitting my application in about a month to my first choice school. My husband is very aware that when I begin PA school I will not be able to be relied upon for routine parenting. Which includes sick days, school/childcare drop off or pick up, helping with homework, ad nauseum. He is retiring from the Air Force in October of 2018 and will be assuming my role as "primary parent" when I start PA school. He understands that this is what it takes, just like it's what it took when I handled things alone off and on for years during his military career. Depending on what type of job he gets after retirement that may mean we will have to hire a nanny or au pair, but we'll have to wait and see.

This doesn't mean I don't have anxiety over starting a PA program as a mom. I know I will miss out on a lot of things I've been fortunate to be a part of for the last ten years. And, I will have to surrender control and judgment over how my husband decides to handle the house and kids. So, that alone will be tough. LOL But, when I told my husband I was ready to pursue PA school it included me making sure he was fully aware of the time constraints and commitment required by both of us, before I went all in.

I simply could not imagine doing it without someone else to fill my role for those 27 months. But, I know it has been done. I would just say I don't think it's realistic to think that we could be successful if we have to miss school time for parenting tasks throughout the program.

I hope this helps a little. Good luck with your decision!

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Thank you DarcyJ! I understand--I worry that my husband would have to leave his job. The unfortunate thing is we have our health insurance through his employer (I have a chronic illness so losing health insurance is not an option) AND he makes more than I do (he tends to be able to cover more of the monthly bills and such). I'm having a really hard time imagining him leaving his job even as a possibility, but it sounds like sometimes that has to happen, you know?

Keeping daycare would be much more reasonable for us, but of course, daycare hours don't always work out with school hours, and I'd imagine that's especially true when students are doing their clinical hours.

As for the financial aspect, it seems a student in my situation would have to take out student loans to cover everything. In other words, we'd either lose my husband's income (+ health insurance) or we'd have to pay for a daycare/a nanny, and would have to cover either of those with student loans. Not sure how commonly that's done.

Thanks again guys. Your thoughts are much appreciated.

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One other bit of unfairness for married women in PA school.  Statistically, working women are more likely to end up with >50% of the household chores, even when a husband is un- or under-employed.  Start expecting your husbands to pull their own weight now, if they don't already, in order to prepare THEM for life with you in PA school.

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I'm 32, married, with 3 kids. I am currently in clinical year (8 months to go!) and commute(d) between 1.5-2 hours each way for didactic year and some of clinical. It is most definitely doable, we have several in my class who are in the same boat, as well as one who is a single father of two. If it's your goal, you will make it work. You won't be living the high life for two years, and there are definitely struggles, including both you and/or your spouse wondering if it's the right thing for you. It is, and you'll get through it just fine! 

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I agree, Rev Ronin, and that's just from personal experience! My husband is better than most, but I still feel a lot of that pressure!

That is great to hear, medicfourlife! I absolutely want to make it work! There are a couple of schools I want to apply to that are 2-2.5 hours away from me, so it's good to hear that you travel to class and still make it work, too! Props to you!

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I say this all the time, but almost 100% of the battle is eliminating distractions.  If you are in school, then your school and study schedule is going to define everything about you and where you need to spend your time for a year, and then clinical year, which is not quite so crazy but still tough (it's no picnic; a lot of programs have very difficult EOR exams).  

Everything else has to come second to that for great whacks of that time.  There's no other way around it.  If you are needed for daily activities or backup, don't attend until you can find others to replace you 100%.  End of story.

Sound harsh?  It's written in the dust of classmates who didn't have the support and didn't make it.  A lot of people will tell you they lost someone out of their class this way.  We did. There are a lot of breakups and such going on, too.

It's a total commitment of time and energy.  With a lot of discipline, most people can usually take a half day to a day off per weekend, on average, and maybe a couple hours here and there.  

There was a group that studied at the library after school (mandatory attendance, natch) until midnight, 5 days a week, taking an hour for dinner but otherwise it was hammer time.  They usually were able to gain a day of their weekend back.  My program was extremely, needlessly difficult, however.  A decently run program should be a little less work but still. 

Trying not to come off harsh, but it just seems there's a few that think they are going to get off at 4 every day and be done with it until the morning and will be able to shuttle kids around evenings and weekends etc.  It's just not going to happen.  Backup?  Not you.

Eliminate distractions - get your car checked out, dental work caught up, release yourself from family obligations.  They will still be there when you get done and the Thanksgiving you skipped traveling home to will be forgotten in a couple of years.

Disclosure: left mine behind with their flaky-in-certain-ways mother after having them full time for 9 years.  Wasn't easy, but everyone survived.

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On 12/9/2017 at 1:12 AM, rev ronin said:

Also, "nontraditional" PA students are under 25ish.  If you're over 25, you're a traditional PA student.

Point of parliamentary procedure!  That's backwards - your traditional student is straight out of undergraduate training and around 24-25 or so.  (Traditional undergrads straight out of high school) Your non-trads are older. 

I've never been within 15 years of being traditional, ha ha.

There's actually a formal definition of traditional and non-, for those interested in these things.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontraditional_student

deep thoughts

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It's all about time management and efficiency when you are actually studying. I find most people "study" a lot more than I do, but they're dashing between social media, text messaging, and their notes all at the same time. It's very inefficient. As South said - eliminate distractions. Try to hone your study skills and expectations with your family while doing your pre-reqs. 

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One other bit of unfairness for married women in PA school.  Statistically, working women are more likely to end up with >50% of the household chores, even when a husband is un- or under-employed.  Start expecting your husbands to pull their own weight now, if they don't already, in order to prepare THEM for life with you in PA school.
Amen. Been on a slow correction course ever since I started back in school. LOL

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On 12/21/2017 at 8:49 AM, south said:

Point of parliamentary procedure!  That's backwards - your traditional student is straight out of undergraduate training and around 24-25 or so.  (Traditional undergrads straight out of high school) Your non-trads are older. 

I've never been within 15 years of being traditional, ha ha.

There's actually a formal definition of traditional and non-, for those interested in these things.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontraditional_student

deep thoughts

I am, of course, entirely aware of the pedestrian use of "nontraditional student", and make a point of correcting those who choose to use a broad definition within the context of PA school applications, because a "traditional student" is not the same thing as a "traditional PA student".

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So, what I'm gathering is that my husband would probably have to quit his job and become a full-time parent. Or else he'd have to have a job with which he could drop off our son AND pick him up from daycare. And also watch him after daycare, overnight, in the morning, etc. Oh boy... :/ I feel like I'm so screwed.

I am a good student. I am an efficient student, I'm good at learning, etc. But I am also realistic: I know that PA programs are incredibly difficult and someone who can get all As in undergrad classes won't necessarily do as well in a PA program.

There's also the issue of me not wanting to be a terrible mother. I don't want to cast my son aside while I pursue my dream job. Ultimately, yes, it will end up being better for both me and my family, but my son will need me, at least at times... Sigh. I was hoping that I'd be able to spend at least 30 minutes to 1 hour per evening with my son then study for 5-6 hours (obviously in addition to 8-9 hours in classes), but now even that seems like not enough time for school... man. Definitely feeling discouraged....

Thanks for the info you guys. I appreciate it.

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I can't comment on what would be needed for you or your husband to do specifically.  The important part is you are going to be largely unavailable for that period of time.  There will be days and weeks (during school breaks and during clinical year) where you can break away and help out.  

Talk to your husband and put a plan together.  He will need help from time to time, and you won't be it most of the time.  A lot of time it looks good on paper - what you said about spending an hour at home with the kid before bed and then studying - but sometimes won't work out that way.  (as someone said, you'd likely have to get back in your car and go back to school to have a prayer of getting anything studied without distraction.)

Plan plan plan and have more than one backup for him, that isn't you.  

People do it, and you can too.  Your son will forget about you being a "bad" whatever (not true anyway) in a week. 

All I'm saying is take the commitment seriously.  The following post nails it really well.  Good luck with whatever you decide. 

On 12/9/2017 at 9:59 AM, DarcyJ said:

This doesn't mean I don't have anxiety over starting

a PA program as a mom. I know I will miss out on a lot of things I've been fortunate to be a part of for the last ten years. And, I will have to surrender control and judgment over how my husband decides to handle the house and kids. So, that alone will be tough. LOL But, when I told my husband I was ready to pursue PA school it included me making sure he was fully aware of the time constraints and commitment required by both of us, before I went all in.

I simply could not imagine doing it without someone else to fill my role for those 27 months. But, I know it has been done. I would just say I don't think it's realistic to think that we could be successful if we have to miss school time for parenting tasks throughout the program.
 

 

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I'm 46 with a wife and two teenagers that just completed the first semester of PA school.  It is entirely do-able and you can be very successful at it as well.  Here's some recommendations.
1.  Your spouse (and older kids) HAVE to be on board before you start.  They have to know that 12-18 hour days are going to be the norm, not the exception and that you will have obligations even when you are able to be at home.   If they cannot get behind this, it will spell problems for you.

2.  Do your best to commit to at 1 day/evening a week to be dedicated to family time.  I took off friday nights to do football games with my kids this last fall.  If possible, I did saturday at home and took frequent breaks to just hang out, play with the dog, etc.  It was more relaxed but I still got many of the things done that I needed.  Sunday was a full day of study to prepare for the next week.  You won't always be able to live with that schedule (especially during test weeks).

3.  Realize you are a mom.  You are already an expert at multitasking.  Never procrastinate, study efficiently, learn to use the right resources and how to filter the mass of information you are going to get thrown at you.  I found that the difficulty of the material wasn't too bad--its the volume.  The old analogy of drinking through a firehose understates it sometimes.

4.  My wife stayed home.  Taking the kids to practices, getting everyone where they needed to be--it had to be that way.  My father in law (dialysis) lives with us also so there was that to deal with as well.  Support your spouse as much as you can.  They are working their butt off to get the family to the finish line.

5.  I found that it was much more effective for me to stay late at school and study rather than come home early and try to hit it after dinner.  For me, pushing through and getting home about an hour before the kids bed time was easier.  You will find what works for you.

6.  Communicate as much as possible with your spouse.  They will fill alone while you are to busy to feel much other than fatigued.  Give them the power to make decisions that have traditionally been yours.  Let go.  Trust them.  second guessing them does nothing for either of you.  

7.  Insurance and bills will take care of themselves.  Be sure you can live on a budget that is tight, be sure that you have reliable transportation, be sure that you have debts paid off before you start as much as possible. Money problems will add additional stress that you and your spouse don't need.  Do whatever it takes to get this resolved before school starts.

8.  Enjoy the ride...one of our instructors said that it was the fastest 28 months of your life---and you will feel every second of it.  He is right!

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I'm 46 with a wife and two teenagers that just completed the first semester of PA school.  It is entirely do-able and you can be very successful at it as well.  Here's some recommendations.
1.  Your spouse (and older kids) HAVE to be on board before you start.  They have to know that 12-18 hour days are going to be the norm, not the exception and that you will have obligations even when you are able to be at home.   If they cannot get behind this, it will spell problems for you.

2.  Do your best to commit to at 1 day/evening a week to be dedicated to family time.  I took off friday nights to do football games with my kids this last fall.  If possible, I did saturday at home and took frequent breaks to just hang out, play with the dog, etc.  It was more relaxed but I still got many of the things done that I needed.  Sunday was a full day of study to prepare for the next week.  You won't always be able to live with that schedule (especially during test weeks).
3.  Realize you are a mom.  You are already an expert at multitasking.  Never procrastinate, study efficiently, learn to use the right resources and how to filter the mass of information you are going to get thrown at you.  I found that the difficulty of the material wasn't too bad--its the volume.  The old analogy of drinking through a firehose understates it sometimes.
4.  My wife stayed home.  Taking the kids to practices, getting everyone where they needed to be--it had to be that way.  My father in law (dialysis) lives with us also so there was that to deal with as well.  Support your spouse as much as you can.  They are working their butt off to get the family to the finish line.
5.  I found that it was much more effective for me to stay late at school and study rather than come home early and try to hit it after dinner.  For me, pushing through and getting home about an hour before the kids bed time was easier.  You will find what works for you.
6.  Communicate as much as possible with your spouse.  They will fill alone while you are to busy to feel much other than fatigued.  Give them the power to make decisions that have traditionally been yours.  Let go.  Trust them.  second guessing them does nothing for either of you.  
7.  Insurance and bills will take care of themselves.  Be sure you can live on a budget that is tight, be sure that you have reliable transportation, be sure that you have debts paid off before you start as much as possible. Money problems will add additional stress that you and your spouse don't need.  Do whatever it takes to get this resolved before school starts.
8.  Enjoy the ride...one of our instructors said that it was the fastest 28 months of your life---and you will feel every second of it.  He is right!
Thanks for this!

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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On 12/8/2017 at 9:30 PM, silverfrost said:

Hey guys. I have seen similar topics posted around here before, but... I wanted to ask any of you who have children and have gone through PA programs: is it feasible to do well in a PA program when you have kids? I have recently gotten lots of different advice from different people telling me that PA school schedules are "very unforgiving" when it comes to students having to be there for family and such. I'm honestly not sure what this means (didn't have a chance to ask these people). I suppose what I am concerned with would be picking my son up from daycare on time or being able to make accommodations if he is sick, etc. Also, for those of you with families, did your spouse have to stay at home with children--maybe even quit their job so you could go through the PA program?

I apologize if I seem a bit anxious--I am definitely freaking out a little the more I think of these things! I am a nontraditional student who is currently trying to make EMT certification, pre-reqs, working as a vet tech, and being a mom work! It's a little nuts. Any advice at all is welcome. TIA.

I went to PA school as a 41 year old single parent of three children ages 11, 13 and 15. I uprooted my family and moved to a different state with no family, friends or support. It is possible to do well in PA school with children but it won’t be easy.  You definitely have to be committed and good at managing your time.  My children were very involved in after school actives such as marching band, sports and school plays and I was able to make it to every activity except one.  You will have to delegate more housework and the care of your children to your husband, other family members or friends but it’s definitely worth it.  Your children will survive and learn by observation the importance of education, good study habits and that they can succeed at anything they put their minds to.

As I said it won’t be easy. You will be exhausted, you won’t be able to stay home with sick kids and will not have a flexible schedule. You will have to have a plan set up before PA school.  You probably won’t have a choice of clinical rotation locations and may be at a site out of state or out of the country. At my school we were at a different site every month.

All of the spouses of students in my class worked fulll time, all were very supportive and all the students are now PAs. You can do this, but make sure you really want it and know what you are gettting into.

 

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On 12/21/2017 at 11:41 AM, south said:

I say this all the time, but almost 100% of the battle is eliminating distractions.  If you are in school, then your school and study schedule is going to define everything about you and where you need to spend your time for a year, and then clinical year, which is not quite so crazy but still tough (it's no picnic; a lot of programs have very difficult EOR exams).  

Everything else has to come second to that for great whacks of that time.  There's no other way around it.  If you are needed for daily activities or backup, don't attend until you can find others to replace you 100%.  End of story.

Sound harsh?  It's written in the dust of classmates who didn't have the support and didn't make it.  A lot of people will tell you they lost someone out of their class this way.  We did. There are a lot of breakups and such going on, too.

It's a total commitment of time and energy.  With a lot of discipline, most people can usually take a half day to a day off per weekend, on average, and maybe a couple hours here and there.  

There was a group that studied at the library after school (mandatory attendance, natch) until midnight, 5 days a week, taking an hour for dinner but otherwise it was hammer time.  They usually were able to gain a day of their weekend back.  My program was extremely, needlessly difficult, however.  A decently run program should be a little less work but still. 

Trying not to come off harsh, but it just seems there's a few that think they are going to get off at 4 every day and be done with it until the morning and will be able to shuttle kids around evenings and weekends etc.  It's just not going to happen.  Backup?  Not you.

Eliminate distractions - get your car checked out, dental work caught up, release yourself from family obligations.  They will still be there when you get done and the Thanksgiving you skipped traveling home to will be forgotten in a couple of years.

Disclosure: left mine behind with their flaky-in-certain-ways mother after having them full time for 9 years.  Wasn't easy, but everyone survived.

This is a great post as I am going to be in this situation in a couple of months.

My school is almost going to be 2 hours away, and I do not think commuting is going to work for me. Thought about it a lot. I rather stay there for a year and finish off my didactics. For clinical year, I plan to commute from home. 

Thinking of hiring a part time babysitter for after school hours. It is just not school loans for me but I do have to think of additional cost like babysitters too. Has any one hired babysitters?

 

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16 hours ago, docmcstuffins said:

This is a great post as I am going to be in this situation in a couple of months.

My school is almost going to be 2 hours away, and I do not think commuting is going to work for me. Thought about it a lot. I rather stay there for a year and finish off my didactics. For clinical year, I plan to commute from home. 

Thinking of hiring a part time babysitter for after school hours. It is just not school loans for me but I do have to think of additional cost like babysitters too. Has any one hired babysitters?

Yes, I wonder about that too. Student loans will have to include childcare costs as well while I am in school.

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I'm 32, married, with 3 kids. I am currently in clinical year (8 months to go!) and commute(d) between 1.5-2 hours each way for didactic year and some of clinical. It is most definitely doable, we have several in my class who are in the same boat, as well as one who is a single father of two. If it's your goal, you will make it work. You won't be living the high life for two years, and there are definitely struggles, including both you and/or your spouse wondering if it's the right thing for you. It is, and you'll get through it just fine! 


I know it would be a challenging program, but it is just nice to here someone say it is doable. I am 37 years old, have two kids, ages 10 and 7, and would be commuting from home for an hour to school. I haven’t gotten in yet, but I had gone back to school to pursue bachelors in nursing to become a NP but it is long route and I am not enjoying nursing at all even though I have a good gpa and the school is close to home. I still have two years to go in nursing to get my BSN, since I am doing the traditional program. The accelerated BSN at my school is at nights and you really only save a semester time wise. I want to be home for my kids in the evening so I decided to go to school during the day. I know real life nursing experience would be different than the school experience, but I don’t like the curriculum at all. I have been a medical technologist for over 12 years at a hospital and have learned so much. I don’t feel that nursing school is very in-depth science wise. Do not know if should continue nursing school or keep hoping to get into PA school.
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