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Hello Everybody,

I am in a very unique situation, and would love everyone's input!

I have been wanting to be a doctor my whole life, but after meeting my stepmother 10 years ago (who has been a Physician Assistant for over 20 years) I have grown to have a great admiration for the profession and countless hours of shadowing has given me a deeper understanding of the PA role. When I applied last cycle to PA schools I did not get a single interview invite. I began to internalize the idea that perhaps the Physician Assistant profession was not in the books for me. I decided to apply again this cycle and retake a couple classes to help my science GPA. One of my professors this summer recommended I apply to Podiatry School which will allow me to become a doctor/surgeon with 2 years of didactic, 2 years of rotations and 3 years of residency. I was very desperate to be in medicine and felt like this was my golden ticket, I applied (literally on the last week of the cycle being open for Podiatry) and to my surprise I was accepted! I started podiatry school a few weeks after being notified this August 2020. I had applied again to PA school but given that I did not get a single interview invite, I felt that my odds were low and didn't want to miss out on what might be my only opportunity to be in healthcare. Then to an even bigger surprise I got accepted Into PA School just last month. My dilemma is that, if one year ago I had gotten into PA school that is where I would be, but I am now in medical school and have been struggling internally ever since I received notice of my acceptance into PA school.

Now this is me being very very honest. Due to life circumstances, I am almost 30 and just now starting medical school. Although this has been a dream of mine, I can't help but feel that in 7 years when I am done with my residency, I will have career fulfillment but at the expense of personal sacrifice. I am currently engaged and we would like to have kids in the future, but with the way school is going I can't image doing either of those while I'm still in school (although I know it is possible). PA has always been high on my list because of the flexibility it provides. I witnessed my stepmother have the opportunity to easily adjust her work schedule as my brothers were growing up so that she could prioritize her personal life and even switch specialists based on her new interest and schedule desires. 

I guess I am hoping to get feedback on weather or not I should quite medical school to start PA school next Fall. I know that this is a decision that I alone can make, so I'm hoping that someone can give me the pros and cons to being a Doctor over a PA and a PA over a Doctor. 

Thanks in advance! 🙂

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Well, it is important to me to have that work life balance (like my stepmom does) and have kids at an earlier age. So that is why I need facts to make an objective decision. It is not as easy as this or that. I was more so looking for a Pros and Cons list for both career paths. 

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I hear you.  You are speaking to a female PA.

Work-life balance is a nebulous cloud.  It's ultimately dependent on the specialty, practice, and how much you really want to work.  What I've seen is that "work-life balance" is frequently touted by pre-PAs but what they mean is "shorter formal education and training." 

The subject of PA vs MD/DO has been beaten to death in this forum.  I suggest using the search feature.  Good luck to you.

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Stay in med school. Plenty of residents have kids, get married, enjoy their lives-although of course busy. Podiatry is a more cushy field from my understanding. The PA career has entered a very dark tunnel recently and has an ambiguous future. As mentioned above the work/life balance thing varies greatly, but is often now  generalized fallacy. High pay, easy hours, no call, plenty of jobs, etc. All exaggerated product pitches from PA schools. Largely not the case anymore. Not in this day and age. Your step mom sounds grandfathered in, well-established at her practice, became a PA when it was blossoming. That does not guarantee a similar situation for you. It does not rule it out either.

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Agree with everyone else....stay in podiatry school.  You can get married and have kids during school/residency.  You'll make more money in the end and not have to deal with any dependent practice issues.  You can have any work/life balance you want as a PA or Physician.  You just have to find the right job/specialty that will allow you to have it.  

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Like others have said, work-life balance is dependent on the specialty you go into a little more than which of these two fields you go into.  

  

Personally speaking, I prefer the prospect of a PA career because it will enable me to get into the field faster, and I am very eager to begin on achieving life goals, not because I just want to get in on the action before others. Also, it will enable me to spend less time paying off debt as well as spend more time with social circles/personal pursuits as I can't handle the idea of detaching from them, if not most.

  

My father went down the M.D. route and went into PM&R, but I did not see him very much for many years of my early childhood into late teens. The reason for this is he wanted to achieve a position in his setting that allowed him to control the variables of his career such as hours, provider team, and family time allotment. In order to do this, A LOT of work had to be done and there had to be sacrifices. His PAs have always told me they never regretted their decision, though I have heard a few doctors say they would've picked the PA field if they could go back (not sure if this was just a "in the moment" comment made during a difficult year of work, but they seemed convinced). Plus, paperwork and finagling insurance sucks. 

  

With that said, I think you should stick with medical school. You've already begun it, and I would love to see you push forward and get the career in medicine you've wanted for so long. 

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@ivincent Thank you for your comment. I am just so torn. With the amount of formal education and 60+ hour weeks in rotations & residency I feel that if I do proceed in my current route it will come at great personal sacrifice like planning for a wedding later and having kids earlier. I just dont see how I could plan a wedding with my current work load as even a first year medical student and much less as a future mother without the hard fact that my career will need to come first. I'm just not sure that aligns with my goals anymore. I believe the PA profession can give me the fulfillment I've wanted by treating patients without having to sacrifice so much of my personal life. 

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13 hours ago, vkbrba said:

@ivincent Thank you for your comment. I am just so torn. With the amount of formal education and 60+ hour weeks in rotations & residency I feel that if I do proceed in my current route it will come at great personal sacrifice like planning for a wedding later and having kids earlier. I just dont see how I could plan a wedding with my current work load as even a first year medical student and much less as a future mother without the hard fact that my career will need to come first. I'm just not sure that aligns with my goals anymore. I believe the PA profession can give me the fulfillment I've wanted by treating patients without having to sacrifice so much of my personal life. 

Ah I see. I still fully support whichever decision you make because there are benefits to both, but it seems like you have your mind made up already (:  

  

If PA school is what will work best for your personal life, then go for it! I am slightly biased, but with what you just said, it seems like the smarter option. 

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Go to Med School. If you want a good work life balance, work at the VA. I currently do my family med rotation at the VA and almost all the MD/DOs that work there chose to work there because of the work life balance. ALL of there were happy with taking a pay cut to spend time with family or work on other endeavors.

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