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So I have wanted to do something in the health care system for a long time now and I have narrowed it down to nursing or PA. I am currently a senior about to graduate and have all the pre-reqs and experience for both professions (shadowing, patient contact hours, etc.). 

I am trying to find more information about taking time off as a PA to raise kids. When I start a family, my plan is to stay at home for about 10 or so years and raise my kids. I know that to maintain a PA certification, PAs must complete 100 CMEs every two years. But what happens if they decide to take off 10 years? Do they have to go through another PA program? Or are they okay as long as they complete their CME's?

Would really appreciate some advice on this! I am thinking about getting my RN and working until I have kids, and eventually going back and getting my NP or PA certification once my kids get older. 


Thanks in advance! 

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Being a PA potentially offers you the chance to have a good work/life balance.  For example, I worked part time on evenings and weekends and then job-shared while my children were growing up.  Neglecting to maintain your certification or stepping away completely from practice are not in your professional best interests.  You can regroup and get the credential back  - but the knowledge that ebbs away from disuse, the changes that occur at lightening speed over time and confidence it takes to effectively take care of patients are not served well by dropping out of practice altogether.  Get your chops early by practicing in primary care and then you will have a solid skill set that can be maintained.  When the children are grown and thriving and gone, you'll have something meaningful left professionally.  

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Agree with above. stepping away completely is problematic. perhaps volunteer one day/week for 4 hrs at a free clinic or something similar to not lose all your skills. Alternatively, have kids first and go to PA school 10 years from now....

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I don't think it's realistic to expect to maintain any license (RN, NP, or PA) without a minimum number of practice hours and CEUs. I know for RN and NP you need to be practicing a certain number of hours to have your license renewed.

The good thing is that there are lots of opportunities for part-time work in these fields. But the idea of completely not working for a decade isn't realistic. Frankly, it wouldn't be safe for patients for you to return to working having not practiced for a decade. Medicine changes quickly and your skills will atrophy over time if they're not put to regular use. I'd either plan on working part-time while raising your kids OR going to school after your kids are raised.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm a stay-at-home-mom who's about to start school to be a surgical tech, and will join the PA program after I get my patient care hours. I have four kids, was pregnant SEVEN times in NINE years, and have literally shed blood, sweat, and tears for the last 13 years as a mom, after getting a degree in (get this!) English, w/ a creative writing focus, and advertising experience.

However, I got my degree in 2003.  I've been looking for a full-time job in advertising for two years, and not a single employer wanted to take a risk on *me*, over someone who went to school after Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon existed.And  I kept my hand in my field as much as possible as a freelancer, doing web content, social media management, magazine articles, direct mail, short creative projects, continuing ed classes, etc.

That's just the requirements for someone who wants to write. I can't imagine requirements being any less stringent for a job that requires taking someone's life in your hands.  

You don't have kids yet, so let me tell you what I wish someone had told me: work part time, regardless of their age, and save every last dime you can. Childcare costs more than college, and job skills are obsolete before you know it. <3 My kids didn't need me to be there every second  of every day---they needed a mom who loved them, and one who could provide what they needed w/out an extreme amount of stress. 

Good luck in your future choices. <3 

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