Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hey everybody, I'm in a bad spot and I honestly don't know what to do.  I am a PA student attending a 24-month program in the Northeast.  I am at the end of my first semester of my didactic year and I know I'm already going on academic probation (GPA <3.0).  It's not for lack of effort, when I started the program last year I had a family member come close to death and took an LOA instead of failing/probation/retaking courses.  I don't regret that decision but while on my LOA  I developed some severe health problems and 3 week before school started I had a major surgery that led to several complications.  As a result of constantly being sick and trying to resolve the issues, my grades have suffered terribly.  As it stands I will probably be passing all of my classes except Anatomy (this is a dissection lab and the PA students have their own cadavers as we are not attached to a medical school).  I have struggled in this class and If i don't pass it (get a C-) I will be allowed to retake the course next fall (we don't have any other way/time to make up the classes as we use cohort training,and it will extend my time yet another 5 months.  I honestly don't know if it's even worth it.  I'll be spending 5 months, thousands of dollars in extra tuition, creating a terrible situation with my lease, and it just seems to add so many variables.  I served as an Army medic, that's how I came to love the idea of becoming a PA after working with some of the best in the world (From every branch of service!).  Please, anybody just chime in.  As much as I'd be disappointed to leave the program I know there are opportunities in accelerated BSN/NP programs or even doing a cheap RN at my local community college.  I'm 28 and thank goodness I don't have a family to support but I just don't know what to do.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a grad of the Army PA program (back when it was just an Army program.) I remember being so tired of the pace and the hours and the drain on me and my family I gave quitting some passing thought. It just didn't seem worth it some days. A friend of mine reminded me of the old saying "fatigue makes cowards of us all."

I soldiered on and now almost 30 years later this profession has provided well for me, my wife, our kids, and now our grandkids. Had I quit I do not believe I would have enjoyed the quality of life I have had. 

Think about what you need to prop you up and get you through. take time for yourself. When I was in one of the many military program that was designed to stress you to the max and give you more to do than you could possibly accomplish I would take 10 minutes before lights out and lay in my bunk and read a comic book. Everyone else thought I was nuts but that 10 minutes got me through the day... and then the next day... and then the next.

Power through. You'll be glad you did.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sir (Sas5814), 

First and foremost (and yeah I know we all get tired of hearing this but it's worth saying) Thank you for your Service.  The IPAP is regarded as two things: one of the premiere PA programs in the country and by far one of the most challenging as it combines all of the difficulties of PA school with all of the extra demands of soldiering.  My biggest issue is that unlike the military, the tuition/costs/uncertainty is challenging.   I know from my friends that got through IPAP and on the bright side, even upon dismissal a soldier is still a soldier, if I get booted out then it's back the drawing board career-wise.  That having been said, I certainly take your advice with strong consideration and I am grateful for the feedback.  As always, Hooah!

Link to post
Share on other sites

There were indeed some advantages which you alluded to. I didn't have tuition to pay back (beyond selling my soul for a 6 year obligation). I had a place to live, health, dental, and a paycheck (albeit a miserly one) for me and my family. I had one worry.... graduate.

You have all the other concerns piled on top of the personal problems you have outlined. I wasn't being glib when I said power through. I was giving broad advice because I'm not in your shoes. I don't know what helps you get up in the morning or what keeps you awake at night. So I can't really give you specific advice beyond care for yourself as best you can in as many ways as you can and use whatever support you have. None of us do it alone. Why my wife didn't divorce or kill me while I was in school remains a mystery today.

Allow me to play devil's advocate. If you drop out...what is next? I am a list maker and, if I were you, I'd start with a list of reasons to stay and reasons to go. I'd make another list about what would happen next if you drop out. Is there another path you could be on more suited to your circumstances? What is the pro and con of any alternative path? Make the list exhaustive and inclusive. Then put it away for a day or 3. Review it and amend it and put it away. Read it again. At some point you will either lean towards a choice or it will be an "aha!" moment.

Choosing another plan, if that is ultimately what you do, isn't failure. It is choice. You haven't failed until you stop trying.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks a lot Dr. Stegall, I didn't think you were being glib at all and I sincerely apologize if it came off as such.  I didn't do anywhere close to six years let alone as a PA.  One of my buddies got out of IPAP and his orders were right to jump to school and off to Bragg.  The Army squeezes their PAs like a lemon get squeezed down to the pulp.  Making a pro/con list is a terrific idea.  Thanks again for the insight, it really means the world.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dude, you've had some serious challenges and setbacks, but probation is not the end of the world and you're not out of the fight yet. Can you work your ass off from now until whenever and pass anatomy (C = degree!) and then go on to clinicals, rock them and graduate on time? Anatomy is important, but honestly it was underwhelming at my school and unless you go directly into surgery, can usually get by and learn what you need as you go and review what's important. If you can Soldier on, that's the answer. And you already know this. I'm not interested in giving you an excuse to quit, although I understand your frustration.

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.

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 surgblumm
      Future Standards for PAs and NPs

      Bob Blumm, PA, DFAAPA, PA-C Emeritus

               Standards: it seems as if everyone is talking about them today. We are either creating standards, improving standards, setting new standards or raising standards. Ultimately, as decades pass, standards grow, and this seems appropriate considering the health care needs in the United States and our world standing in that sphere. Like most Americans, I had always assumed that we were naturally - Number One - but was disheartened to discover that my assumptions were grounded in my patriotism and not in evidence-based studies. Depending upon the source and the year, the US typically ranks in the top 20 or 30% and shockingly behind all other nation members of the G-10 (including many smaller countries). This surprising revelation gave me pause to reflect on our “standard of care.”

      What does the word “standard” connote to the average PA, NP, or patient in terms of academic achievement? It might be interpreted as an entry-level bachelor’s or master’s degree - or perhaps even a doctoral degree. Many of these advanced levels could never have been imagined in the past but are now very much a part of the 2021 working world for PAs and NPs. How quickly times change with more and more clinicians earning doctorate degrees – spurring insurance companies and administrators to establish yet even newer benchmarks based on this academic proliferation.  If we as a profession do not set our own standards, someone else or another profession will surely try to do it for us. If ever we needed cohesive leadership, it is now! Maybe you are the person who can lead us into the future?

      What do I personally think of standards? I believe that standards are a very positive modifier of our practice protocols and approaches to medicine. I see the patient as the ultimate winner when a profession has high standards. Standards lead to increased study and competence. Standards are set and maintained by academia, education secured at conferences, and CME provided by associations. They are enhanced by experience and certified by procedural attestation such as those through residency rotations. There will, in the near future, be a mandated procedural attestation required within all institutions of medical care. When looking at medical specialties, we note that either a residency or a specialized track of education and experience defines what an institution requires for an NP or a PA to be hired.

      Most of the specialty areas need highly experienced, highly motivated, and extremely well-educated PAs and NPs and are willing to provide a mini residency. Some of these specialties require additional education, CME, preceptorship, and a specialized curriculum in addition to an advanced degree. I will repeat a sentence that I wrote ten years ago: “The time is quickly coming upon us that will no longer place on a resume ‘PA seeking a hospitalist role, ---- willing to learn, seeking physician willing to teach.’” That time became a reality more than five years ago. Physicians are engaged in their own fight for survival, focused on issues which affect their profession, leaving little time for the altruism of the past when they sought to be the “teacher” to a nonphysician. The economy, new health care laws, insurance mandated reimbursements, malpractice issues, and the huge financial debt incurred while becoming doctors have caused them to protect their own turf and areas of responsibility.

      What will possibly be the standard for the PA in the next few decades? PAs will be a graduate of a doctoral program, be highly intelligent, and have the interest to further their education by means of residencies of various lengths to best prepare for the arduous task of caring for an additional 31 million patients in a decade with decreasing numbers of physicians. The PA will be a team member that possesses a team attitude and team spirit as the care of patients will be delivered by highly trained team members.  Personally, I see this as a positive move and will be comforted as a patient to realize that all of the medical personnel with whom I have a relationship share a unified approach and attitude that will enhance my treatment, wellness and outcome. I think that the nursing profession will continue to grow in this same direction as they are recognized experts in so many specialties today.

      This shared approach to patient care will require many signatures and notes on the EMR which can become tricky for many clinicians. With a team approach, opportunities for medical error will require heightened vigilance. And when errors occur - who is responsible - the institution, or the clinician? It is and has always been the clinician, and these errors are often due to the exhaustion felt by providers: reading every note, reviewing every test, and reconciling every new medication order. Prior to my own retirement, I began to feel the exhaustion of doing the detective work and realized that I was becoming a relic. As malpractice exposures rise, so too the need for a personal malpractice policy. Younger clinicians are much better suited to the demands of this ever-increasing administrative multi-tasking than those of us from an earlier vintage. This new era makes a malpractice instrument essential, now more than ever. Be careful and refrain from choosing based on cost alone, without fully understanding the policy terms and the provider’s history in the healthcare market. “New” companies with new perks come and go and may not exist in a few years, when you might need them. Make your own educated decision to prevent hardships in the future.

    • By kbnEMPA
      Hello, just want to ask PAs who are currently working in/or previously in academia. What are your thoughts? Pros and cons? How does a PA get their foot started in academia. 
      Background: I am currently practicing in Allergy/Immunology with ER experience as well. I graduated in 2019 in a different state than where I am currently practicing, so connection around the area is limited. 
      Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated 
    • By SEMPA
      SEMPA is launching its new SEMPA Live! virtual education channel by kicking it off with FREE CME courses.
      SEMPA Live! is a must-attend event for anyone who works in emergency medicine. From EMPAs to health care providers engaged in the practice of emergency medicine, SEMPA Live! lectures provide essential clinical content and vital risk-management concepts for a wide range of specialists.
      Once a month through the end of the year, SEMPA Live! will be offering a free CME lecture for EMPAs with a live question and answer session. There will also be an opportunity to virtually chat with other EMPAs from across the country.
      To register, go to https://www.sempa.org/education/sempa-live/.
      Upcoming SEMPA Live! Events
      August 25, 2020
      7pm Central 
      Doom From Down Under: Scary GYN Stories and What I Learned From Them + Q&A 
      Jenny Beck-Esmay, MD September 22, 2020
      7 pm Central  Pitfalls to Avoid the Management of DKA + Q&A 
      George Willis, MD October 13, 2020
      7 pm Central  Cardiology Literature Review: What's New in 2020 + Q&A 
      Tarlan Hedayati, MD November 19, 2020
      7 pm Central  *Registration opening soon*
      "Pain in the...": A review of recent literature on managing common painful complaints in the ED + Q&A 
      Jessica Mason, MD & Jessie Werner, MD December 9, 2020
      7 pm Central  Pediatric Orthopedic Pearls and Pitfalls + Q&A 
      Andrew Perron, MD
    • By QATraining
      Our Quality analyst training is an IT training and Education Company providing the simplest top online certification training and QA Training program for Quality analyst. we tend to concentrate on Quality analyst training in American state and that we conjointly offer job placement services within the field of quality analysis. If you are interested to continue to start your education with QA Training you can join our institute. For more information contact us.

  • 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