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Choosing PA over MD for the right reasons?


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I used to be pre-med until I realized right before college that I think the PA route is better for me. I have only shadowed MDs and i really enjoyed it but I like the idea of a mid-level provider and have been trying to shadow PAs for a while...I just feel like all of my reasons for choosing PA are "trivial" and not good in the long run. My reasons are mainly:

-i like the idea of always having someone over me and being able to correct me if needed.

-The pre reqs/no mcat is way less stressful of a path and i hated orgo 1 so orgo 2 would only be worse (i would bever mention this in an interview).

-The PA field seems way less competitive to me. i dont mean that it is easier to get into PA school, but everyone thats a PA/pre-pa has been so much more helpful and supportive as opposed to all the pre-meds/doctors that ive met (i dont mean to generalize this is just a trend).

-Although it is way less common and doesnt happen that much, there is the possibility of changing specialties. 

...basically, i love the PA profession and think its amazing but i dont have like great answers to why PA over MD? SO many friends/my parents ask me "why not just go the extra 2 years?" and since some PA programs are even becoming more than 2 years like I just want to know why you chose PA?

sorry if this post doesnt make any sense/has bad grammar but im on break from school so its not time to think.

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28 minutes ago, GatorPA21 said:

 

-i like the idea of always having someone over me and being able to correct me if needed.

-The pre reqs/no mcat is way less stressful of a path and i hated orgo 1 so orgo 2 would only be worse (i would bever mention this in an interview).

-The PA field seems way less competitive to me. i dont mean that it is easier to get into PA school, but everyone thats a PA/pre-pa has been so much more helpful and supportive as opposed to all the pre-meds/doctors that ive met (i dont mean to generalize this is just a trend).

-Although it is way less common and doesnt happen that much, there is the possibility of changing specialties. 

 

supervision in most cases is after the fact and does not change patient care outcomes because there is no real-time review. you are responsible for your work. At my current job there is zero chart review. At my last there was 10% chart review within 1 month. 

Yes, Ochem sucks. So does biochem. this is what kept me from going to medschool. I made the wrong choice...

lateral mobility should not be a consideration at this point. it is rapidly going away and will likely be non-existent within a decade. credentialing organizations and hospitals require longer and longer lists each year to work in a given specialty. unless you want to go do a residency in a new specialty it is unlikely you will be able to change from one field to another that is not related to it. 

My advice is suck it up, take ochem and biochem and apply MD/DO. 

The only "right reason" in my mind to choose PA is for a health care professional in their 40s who decides they want to have more responsibility after 20 years as a nurse or paramedic, etc. Anyone in their 20s should really not consider PA. 

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23 minutes ago, GatorPA21 said:

-i like the idea of always having someone over me and being able to correct me if needed

You say this now but how long will you be okay with this? Eventually you'll be a seasoned PA and potentially have an SP who is 20 years you're younger.

 

23 minutes ago, GatorPA21 said:

-The pre reqs/no mcat is way less stressful of a path and i hated orgo 1 so orgo 2 would only be worse (i would bever mention this in an interview)

The program I am in had almost exact prereqs as Medical schools. I know most of the medical schools I am looking at take biochem as an exception for Ochem2. YMMV

 

24 minutes ago, GatorPA21 said:

The PA field seems way less competitive to me. i dont mean that it is easier to get into PA school, but everyone thats a PA/pre-pa has been so much more helpful and supportive as opposed to all the pre-meds/doctors that ive met (i dont mean to generalize this is just a trend).

I agree.

25 minutes ago, GatorPA21 said:

...basically, i love the PA profession and think its amazing but i dont have like great answers to why PA over MD? SO many friends/my parents ask me "why not just go the extra 2 years?" and since some PA programs are even becoming more than 2 years like I just want to know why you chose PA?

I was three months into my program before I thought "wow I really should have gone to medical school". I saw a post yesterday on reddit about a PA who said they should have gone the extra 15 months, then signed up for a residency and still wished they had 18 more months of a residency. 

 

 

Through my schooling, experiences, and my discussions with PAs my advice to you is go to medical school. 

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16 minutes ago, EMEDPA said:

supervision in most cases is after the fact and does not change patient care outcomes because there is no real-time review. you are responsible for your work. At my current job there is zero chart review. At my last there was 10% chart review within 1 month. 

Yes, Ochem sucks. So does biochem. this is what kept me from going to medschool. I made the wrong choice...

lateral mobility should not be a consideration at this point. it is rapidly going away and will likely be non-existent within a decade. credentialing organizations and hospitals require longer and longer lists each year to work in a given specialty. unless you want to go do a residency in a new specialty it is unlikely you will be able to change from one field to another that is not related to it. 

My advice is suck it up, take ochem and biochem and apply MD/DO. 

The only "right reason" in my mind to choose PA is for a health care professional in their 40s who decides they want to have more responsibility after 20 years as a nurse or paramedic, etc. Anyone in their 20s should really not consider PA. 

Thank you for this! Why exactly do you say that no one in their 20s should consider PA? I understand its older professionals choosing this field but why is it not a good choice for younger people when nursing/NP is?

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13 minutes ago, PAsPreMed said:

You say this now but how long will you be okay with this? Eventually you'll be a seasoned PA and potentially have an SP who is 20 years you're younger.

One of my new ED attendings at my double coverage job is 21 years younger than I am. She could be my kid. Great doc, but it is a little strange. It's funny, she really treats me like a fellow attending, asks my advice, etc. We have fun together and tell each other about cases, etc. 

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2 hours ago, GatorPA21 said:

Thank you for this! Why exactly do you say that no one in their 20s should consider PA? I understand its older professionals choosing this field but why is it not a good choice for younger people when nursing/NP is?

I think NP is only a good choice for seasoned nurses. I am not a fan of direct entry RN to NP programs. There are plenty of loan repayment programs out there if money is the main issue. I have many friends who are docs who paid off all their loans within a few years of graduation and/or did loan repayment and now they live like kings, take 3 month vacations, etc. 

The thing no one talks about with PA is the amount of disrespect you have to deal with from docs, nurses, and sometimes patients. Docs who "don't talk to PAs on the phone", etc

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5 hours ago, EMEDPA said:

supervision in most cases is after the fact and does not change patient care outcomes because there is no real-time review. you are responsible for your work. At my current job there is zero chart review. At my last there was 10% chart review within 1 month. 

Yes, Ochem sucks. So does biochem. this is what kept me from going to medschool. I made the wrong choice...

lateral mobility should not be a consideration at this point. it is rapidly going away and will likely be non-existent within a decade. credentialing organizations and hospitals require longer and longer lists each year to work in a given specialty. unless you want to go do a residency in a new specialty it is unlikely you will be able to change from one field to another that is not related to it. 

My advice is suck it up, take ochem and biochem and apply MD/DO. 

The only "right reason" in my mind to choose PA is for a health care professional in their 40s who decides they want to have more responsibility after 20 years as a nurse or paramedic, etc. Anyone in their 20s should really not consider PA. 

^^This is the BEST answer you will get.

As a new grad, no one checks my work.  I ask a LOT of questions and run my thoughts by my attending and they have put in place an educational transition with safety nets, but when he's not there, decisions are on me.  No one is going to hold your hand.  

 

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I had the same experience as a new grad. Doc available down the hall, but it was on me to ask for input. If I never asked, they never saw my patients and charts were not reviewed until way after the pt had gone home. Don't think a doc will backstop your every decision. if they had to do that you would basically be a medical assistant/scribe. 

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^^as above.  If you want time to learn while having someone check your work....go to med school!  You'll get 3 years where someone else signs your notes and you present to them every patient that you see (hello residency!).  And if you do a fellowship you'll get several more years where you aren't solo practicing and everything goes by an attending!

We aren't profitable if a doc is repeating all of our work.  (obviously there is ideally SOME training but certainly not 3 years!)

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