Hello I'm new to this website and forum but I have a plan to continue my education to become a Physician Assistant specializing in Dermatology. I wanted to hear from PAs or students who are in the minority specially the African/black community. I am a 24yr old Female, Jamaican-american. I plan on applying to a PA program here in Florida in the next 4 years, and was hoping to get some more information and advice please!!
I will be attending an accelerated program (5-6months) to be a Medical Assistant (Sept.- Feb. 2020).
After I am licensed in MA, I would like to reapply to UCF for my biomedical sciences degree. Where I can get in my hours for healthcare experience as an MA and finish my bachelors before applying to PA school.
I have just a few concerns:
1. Is becoming a MA worth it before PA school? or worth the money to go to school for? I'm worried because most companies here are looking for bilingual MAs. I do want to learn another language preferably Spanish, but later on while I get my B.S in Biomed (Also I do not want to be CNA or RN).
2. Is a biomedical science degree more looked at to enter a PA program? Which degree/major is also acceptable if I decide not to go the science route but I make sure I take my required science classes?
3. As a minority do we have an advantage or disadvantage to enter a PA school?
4. Does anyone have experience as a PA student either at NOVA or Barry University? If so, how are the professors and the overall work load?
5. After becoming a PA, do we experience racism throughout the country in our profession? (Regardless if we do or not, no one is going to stop me from doing my job correctly, I will treat every race with respect. I would just like to know because I'm curious since again there is not many of us as PAs.)
6. How was the job search for you as a minority? How long did it take to land a job in your specialization?
7. Are there any forums or websites to find a black PA to shadow? or if anyone can refer me in central to south Florida locations?
8. I am highly interested in this career but want to know if this profession is worth committing to and seeking a job for in the years of 2024-2028? I know that's a stretch time but I like to be prepared lol
Thank you for your time!!
I don't really comfortable speaking this frankly to my colleagues. None of my close friends or family are in the medical field so they don't truly understand. I am still a somewhat new PA and I am already considering a new career path. I went to PA school 2 years after graduating college, so I don't have any experience in any other fields besides healthcare. But I've been having serious thoughts about quitting my job and quitting the medical field altogether. A little background about me, I am in my late 20s and I have been a practicing PA for about 4 years. During this time I have been at the same practice, a specialty and internal medicine office. There are several physicians, but I am employed by one. I see patients in the clinic, in several acute care hospitals, and at nursing homes. Although I like the variety and the types of patients I see are very interesting to me, there are downsides to the job that just become more apparent every day. I work M-F 9-5 and 2 weekends per month. I have to take round at the hospitals and take calls on those 2 weekends, plus take calls 3 weekdays out of the week. I often work 3 weekends a month, and occasionally even 4 when my contract technically says 2.
My supervising physician is retirement age and he refuses to retire and instead delegates more and more tasks to me. For example, sometimes if he is too tired / lazy he will tell the staff to just transfer patient appointments to my schedule. Patients are understandably upset when they made an appointment with the doctor they've known for years and get switched to the schedule of a PA they don't know. I feel like "as the PA", and an employee of the doctor, I pretty much get saddled with all the grunt work and undesirable tasks that he doesn't want to do. I know in other settings PAs are treated with a little more respect and not just given the busy work to do. There are some upsides, I do like my SP, we work well together, and I feel like I can honestly and freely discuss patients with him without judgment. I also know that he may retire in a few years so this job won't be permanent either. I don't know if getting a new job will help.
I applied for two separate jobs that I did not get. One was a family practice M-F with no call/weekends and the other was an allergy practice M-F with no call/weekends. Getting rejected for both of those jobs really discouraged me and made me feel trapped at this job. It won't be easy to find a new position.
I get frustrated with patients too. It just feels like there are so many patients who are med seeking. Some providers in my area were recently sentenced to prison time for overprescribing narcotics. They were reckless with their prescribing and I am quite careful, but the fact that jail time is in the realm of possibility for our profession constantly looms over my head.
Patients also often want to be on disability when they clearly do not need to. There are so many patients wanting DMV disability placards and getting irate when I tell them they don't qualify. In addition, patients whose licenses get revoked want me to sign off on them being safe to drive when there was a clear reason the licenses were revoked. Again, I am on the receiving end of the brunt of their frustration and anger when I say they need a specialist clearance. There is just so much liability in our career field and so much stress involved. Liability is always there medically too. YOUR decision can affect whether a patient LIVES or DIES and it's so much stress that I have actually developed my own health issues secondary to the stress.
I have had a patient stalk me and become obsessed with me. He wrote me unhinged letters and made many calls to the office describing my car, etc. We had to get the police involved and I considered filing a legal restraining order. I know this is possible in any profession, but it feels like healthcare can be personal and intimate and patients can get the wrong idea. I again contemplated quitting the profession at this time.
I have looked into other careers such as being a pharmaceutical representative, working in research, being an accountant, ANYTHING other than this. I have contemplated quitting and just living off my savings until I figure it out. I have talked to some colleagues to an extent, many are much older and have been PAs longer than me. I sometimes question if I'm just being an entitled millennial who wants life-work balance early on in their career until I realize that it's not normal or common to work 24-25 days in a row. It's not normal to only get 4 days off a month (if that. Some days I would get 2 days off a month.) I actually finally told my SP I was considering leaving because I was too burnt out. He trivialized my concerns and said "Why are you burnt out? You're young. I have been doing this for 40 years." Which is true, but this wasn't the life I envisioned for myself. After talking, he did acknowledge my concerns, and he hired an NP who can help me with the workload and guaranteed that I will only have to work the 2 weekends a month as outlined in my contract and I did get a raise. (I still feel like I'm underpaid which is a whole separate story.)
Sorry for the essay, I just really needed somewhere to air out my frustrations with other people in my career field. Thanks in advance for reading.
I am currently on track to go to PA school directly after college, but I want to know whether or not I should decide to take a gap year. I am only a college sophomore but I already have my CMA certification and working this summer in medical records. This fall, I also already have a job in line for a MA position and I will also be able to shadow the PA there. My question is am I rushing things? Should I just focus on my GPA or should I continue to work and shadow during the school year? Or would taking a gap year be the most beneficial?