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Hey PA Forum, I am Pre-PA, please don't kick me out, as I wanted to know from PAs what they think about the field, and where my feelings in the application process stand. I went through my undergrad with not much of a direction, graduating with a BS in Biochemistry but a 2.86 GPA. I worked for 2 years as a "scientist" but I was really just running samples through a machine (medical device) and it did not allow any sort of interesting work. I worked as part of the lab at the Boston Marathon, analyzing runner blood samples in the device, and it was the first time I was exposed to the medical field. This allowed me to appreciate their work, and also, for the first time, feel I could make a difference with my efforts. I capitalized on this excitement, and looked into nursing and PA, and decided PA. I got an EMT certification, and gave CPR to a patient in a trauma room at the nearby hospital as part of the certification. I was so excited, and then I got a job as a CNA in a teaching hospital on a heart failure floor. Everything was coming along. I was also taking pre-reqs this whole time, I completed A&P I,II, Genetics, Biochemistry, all either A or B+. As I worked at the hospital, I mainly bathed patients, and provided care in daily living, working under nurses. But the attitude of the nurses really got to me. Some would bully the technicians in a way, it was never intentional but I could not stand them. All the technicians and nurses were gossipy women and I, more of an introverted male, just felt nothing in common with them, and everything I did was judged. Nurses, and techs and female patients would occasionally hit on me, and it just felt uncomfortable. It became so frustrating for me that these shifts became almost me vs them, in my head. But I kept pushing on, I kept searching for jobs in the ER, because that seemed so exciting to me. I shadowed a resident in the ER, and loved every minute of it. I really enjoyed it because it was exciting; very different than anything I had seen; the machinery of the body was in a life threatening situation, and it was very rewarding to fix it. I also really loved all things space, and always was researching things about space. However I wasn't able to get a position in the ER, and I just felt like the oddball out all the time; and the feminine and social aspect of medicine was driving me nuts. I felt like everywhere in healthcare was this; and had this veneer or being the savior for patients, I just felt I was beating up the wrong tree for my own goals. I shadowed 5 PAs, and enjoyed the ER experience the most. I decided I wanted to try something in engineering due to my love of space. So after 9 months of being a tech, I moved to Houston, with my sister (couldn't go home, father is an alcoholic and made life at home toxic). I decided to try everything I enjoyed to figure out if this field was for me. I started taking engineering classes, a geology class, and started to learn programming, and am volunteering in a lab where I help a professor research bacteria on the Space Station. I have been stressed out, figuring out if this career is for me. I went to healthcare career fair, and interviewed for an ER Tech job, to try it out again, and am hoping it is less daunting on me. I also am thinking about pursuing biomedical engineering, as it may combine my interests, but I am nervous, because it seems a bit antisocial. I was wondering if I could get some advice about my situation, and if I have it all wrong about actually being a PA. Thanks!

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Go for direct entry NP. Once NP's get independent practice rights in Cali, all other states will follow. When that occurs, you will be glad and thankful  everyone here for choosing the NP route.  PA's have OTP movement going on but there is no guarantee that it will be implemented. NP's are closer to achieving independent rights in all 50 states than us. They have less prohibiting their ability to hang their own shingle and they don't have to LEGALLY deal with abusive SP's having power over your career path. 

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I'm sorry about your uncomfortable experience, but not all medical facilities are like that. You can work in a private clinic or smaller facility, but I believe you will have a better hospital experience during PA school rotations. I don't think you should take any more classes until you know for sure what you want to do. Your GPA is not great, but your prerequisite GPA is good. Your background is amazing. If you really want to be a PA, apply to programs that consider the last 60 credits. I would recommend you consider a direct entry NP program because they are less competitive to get into. I don't necessarily agree with the post above. NPs are independent in some states, but the majority of them work in hospitals and the hospital still requires them to have a supervising physician. The law might say that yes they are independent, but hospitals don't necessarily give them that full independence for legal reasons. In hospitals, NPs and PAs function in basically the exact same way. NPs do have the ability to open their own clinic without a physician in some states, but that is not very common for them to actually do so. PAs are more inclined to do competitive specialties such as surgery, cardiology, neuro, etc. NPs tend to dominate oncology, pediatrics, etc., but most have to go back to school to branch into other specialties, while PAs don't. It's because of how they were taught in school, nursing model vs. medical model. Both NP and PA are great professions. Based on your GPA, I think NP school would be less difficult to get into. There are direct entry NP programs. If you decide on PA, then go for it! Definitely take the GRE, because most graduate schools require it. Do your research, make a decision and stick with it. It's the best way to save time, money, and get your future going 🙂 

Edited by Potatolife

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