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Family life as a PA?


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Hello! First year (almost second) PA student here. Getting married soon, thinking about my future as a PA AND as a wife and mother. Would love to hear from people about what it is like for you as a spouse or parent and taking on a demanding job such as PA. I've heard some stories from my faculty members about working hours long past when your shift is "over," and I'm just wondering what do you do when you have to chart but little Johnny is waiting to be picked up from school....etc. Are there specific fields that are better with family life, or is it employer-dependent? Feel free to comment if you aren't a parent, but would love to hear first hand from parents as well! Thanks everyone.

(If there is a thread out there about this already please share)

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Well I went to PA school and then became a PA in the military first so there was the double duty of practicing medicine along with my military responsibilities. 

I was married with a small child and my wife worked and we made it work even with some long absences on my part. It takes planning and patience and teamwork but can absolutely be done.

I don't have any specific suggestions because everyone has different circumstances beyond stay flexible and keep your sense of humor.

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Hey, I am a PA of 5 years and currently work in Urgent care..I work typically 4 days a week and am usually home by 630. So I generally get to have dinner every night with my husband and child and sometimes stay late when it is busy. I however work some weekends but then I have days off during the week so I get to spend those days with my baby. My last jobs was peds, M/T/W/Friday 9-6. As a PA there is a lot of options and flexibility which is nice. I personally probably wouldn't want to do ER because I like being home for dinner but some people like working 3 12's. So it is what you make of it. It is very possible to have a work-life balance. And because I'm in urgent care I leave my work at work, when I clock out I am done. 

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While I remember the days of paper charts and staying after work to complete them, in this day of EMR, I don't get why anyone would have to do charting after the end of the shift. I know it is different for inpatient, but in my outpatient setting, my charting is always done before the patient reaches the check out window. I am working a 4 day week, after working 5+ day weeks for most of my career. However, I'm seeing a lot of new docs and PAs working a 4 day (8 hour) work week from the beginning and is considered full time. I am the father of five, however, my wife was a stay-at-home mom for most of my career. Yet, as a father, I feel I missed out on a lot. But it doesn't have to be that way anymore.

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I am in FP and work 36 hours per week.  Originally it was 8-5, Monday-Thursday, with half-day on Fridays, but then I changed to combine my half day and now work 4 days/5 days on alternating weeks.  I am looking into potentially working through my lunch (9 hour day) and only working 4 days per week.

Everyone is different when it comes to efficiency.  I am by far the most productive provider (out of 32) within my practice, and I usually walk out the door 5-5:15pm.  There are infrequent days where I leave 5:30-6pm, but quite rare - maybe 1-2 days per month if that.  When I leave my charts are closed, messages done, results done - nothing for me to do.  So, I have no work to complete when I'm at home.  There are other providers within the clinic who stay until 7pm to close charts, and then still are up at all hours of the night finishing charts.  I don't understand how they see 5-10 patients less than me daily, but are so inefficient at completing their work...but to each his/her own.

So, from my perspective work-life balance is very achievable.  Would I like to work even less and be home more...yes, but that's also because my wife and I just welcomed our first child who is 4 weeks old.  I do enjoy my job, so it's nothing where I wish I just didn't have to work at all.  Some of my coworkers complain on a daily basis that they are over worked...to which I roll my eyes and just continue to rake in my monthly bonuses.

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CT surgery PA for 5 years. Work 3 12's per week, 4 days off. When I work i'm basically there all day, and with the commute i barely have time to do anything else during the day. However i love having 4 days off to do whatever i want-- cleaning, cooking, gym, errands, spend time with friends and family. We are on a rotating schedule so we could swap shifts if we wanna take a mini-vacation or get away for a few days without using any PTO. My girlfriend also works 3 days/week in EM so we are able to coordinate our time off together. 

What's nice too is that we can pick up extra shifts if we wanted a little extra cash and get paid 100/hr. So we can balance our time/money to our preferences. Required to work 2-3 weekend shifts per month which isn't too bad at all.

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Work-life balance is very doable as a PA. Personally I've always liked office hours vs shift work because no matter what I know I have weekends and major holidays off to spend with my family. One thing I would mention is to anticipate the huge expense of child care as you look to starting a family. The best thing you can do is live cheaply and pay off any student loans you might have before having kids. We have a toddler in daycare and a kindergarten in after-care so our child care costs are astronomical. I know a lot of new grads are graduating with 6-figures of debt, I can't imagine having to make that monthly loan payment on top of childcare.

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4 hours ago, PACJD said:

CT surgery PA for 5 years. Work 3 12's per week, 4 days off. When I work i'm basically there all day, and with the commute i barely have time to do anything else during the day. However i love having 4 days off to do whatever i want-- cleaning, cooking, gym, errands, spend time with friends and family. We are on a rotating schedule so we could swap shifts if we wanna take a mini-vacation or get away for a few days without using any PTO. My girlfriend also works 3 days/week in EM so we are able to coordinate our time off together. 

What's nice too is that we can pick up extra shifts if we wanted a little extra cash and get paid 100/hr. So we can balance our time/money to our preferences. Required to work 2-3 weekend shifts per month which isn't too bad at all.

Are you hiring? ?

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my jobs in order and how many hours worked

2002-07 M-F 8-5 with one day off and 2 Sat(4 hours per day) pay was okay for the time

2007-08 Radiology 7:0-4 M-F better pay and hours, by to much radiation

2009- Er med - crazy shifts, not great er - sometimes 16+ hour days, 32-60 hours per week, lots of overnights and weekends great pay, awful schedule and work place

2010-2012 IM office based urgent care - three 10 hour days - worked my ars off, 30 patients a day, and got paid less then 1/3 of collections - I left

2012-2016 practice owner - house called - 35-60 hours per week at 80-105k per year

2014-now - 20 hours (over 3 days) clinical commitment, always on call, IM, highest paying position I have ever had
also have a per diem that pays  under $100/hour as an employee that I will make about 15-20k at this year

 

So early on , not great, lots of work and little pay, but now, honestly I feel I am paid fairly and my schedule it not bad,.,  A few days a week i am responsible for getting kids to day care (or having a daddy day) and home 2-3 weekends a month - and this is for about 140k/yr

 

so early on it is tough to get a great family work balance job - but I have friends that did it, but as you progress if you keep your ears open you might find something great

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I work out patient Ortho with some call days. I am 3 years out from school. I make enough that my wife can stay at home. We live frugally but comfortable. 1 car payment + rent. Struggling a bit to save for a house but looking to renegotiate big now that I have some experience. 

 

Day to day office hours allow me to cook and eat breakfast with family and be home by 530. 

 

Edited by Arthropathy
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On 8/8/2018 at 4:23 PM, ALC0313 said:

Work-life balance is very doable as a PA. Personally I've always liked office hours vs shift work because no matter what I know I have weekends and major holidays off to spend with my family. One thing I would mention is to anticipate the huge expense of child care as you look to starting a family. The best thing you can do is live cheaply and pay off any student loans you might have before having kids. We have a toddler in daycare and a kindergarten in after-care so our child care costs are astronomical. I know a lot of new grads are graduating with 6-figures of debt, I can't imagine having to make that monthly loan payment on top of childcare.

We dont have kinds now lol . We just make a beach house size payment to Great Lakes and Myfedloan every month 

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