Realizing the Dream: Choosing the PA route

 

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Hi, it’s Blogger Megan!

 

It has been some time since my last post, and that’s because so much has changed I couldn’t quite keep up. First off, I’ve finally done it… no more anonymity… a whole new me! If you’ve noticed, I’ve now done away with the pseudonym and have introduced myself officially.

Over the past few months, I’ve come to realize the stress of applications for medical school was clouding my vision of what the right career path was in order to reach my goals and provide the type of medical care to my future patients that I’ve always imagined. There are so many careers in medicine and different niches that can fit your dream lifestyle. (in fact, take a look at some of them HERE) After finishing interviews for medical school I realized that the idea of becoming a “Doctor” and being the sole person in charge of decision making, running a clinic, etc. was truly stressing me out. I kept picturing all that I would most likely give up in order to get there and it didn’t quite sit right with me. In the end, it came down to my reason for pursuing medical school versus any other medical profession was to simply be called “Doctor”.

22cf0b5When that realization finally came (more like when hit me like a ton of bricks…) the road to becoming a PA lit up before me. However, by then it was spring already and the PA application was underway. I decided to take a leap of faith, applied to the local junior college to snag two prerequisite classes and put out my application.

Here are a few reasons why I came to choosing the PA route:

1) Amount of Schooling

The amount of schooling was daunting! I love to learn don’t get me wrong. I live for books and classrooms, but I don’t want to sacrifice all of my youth to a life of testing.

PA school = 2 years of PA school (some are a little bit longer)

MD/DO school = 4 years of med school + 3-4 years of Residency (that’s 7+ years of strenuous schooling)

There is a huge difference in the amount of schooling required for each career and it’s important to take into consideration not only the mental preparation but the financial commitment as well. As always, every program is different, however, med school debt is on average $243,000 for 4 years and PA school is in the $70,800 range for 2 years. (Note: these costs can vary)

2) Commitment to One Field of Study

I have such a wide range of interests, not only in medicine but career wise as well as hobbies. I love having different options and the ability to change my environment. Being a PA, you don’t do a residency program and are not confined to a certain specialty. Medicine and improving peoples’ lives through their health is my passion. However, there are so many specialties I don’t want to commit to just one or have to go through a long retraining process to switch if I were a physician. As a PA, you have a unique opportunity to start off in family practice and switch to surgery after a few years and then change again to dermatology if you wanted to. With all my interests, I didn’t want to limit myself.

3) More Regular Hours

Depending on your specialty, you have the option of working more regular hours. Many PAs don’t go on call and can work generally 9-5 jobs. I love a hectic environment and don’t mind irregular hours but like the option of easily changing my life to more regular hours when I decide to start a family.

4) How I Want to Practice Medicine

As a pre-med I’ve always imagined suturing up wounds, teaching my patients about nutrition, counseling patients on various aspects of their health, and helping them live a full healthy life. It’s often physicians don’t have the luxury of that kind of time. Even if I did, it wasn’t essential for me to become an MD to achieve my dream. I tend to me a very empathetic and compassionate person so a priority for me is to provide patient-oriented care and as a PA I will have more opportunities to do that.

 

I put a lot of thought into my decision. The end game was I feel that I can have not only a career but a life outside of medicine by choosing the PA route. To me, life is more than a job, I am happiest when I write, I love to go hiking, fishing, and play fetch with my pup till the sun goes down. Obviously, a full life can be done as a physician as well, however, I know I will continue to be very happy with my decision. In fact, after talking to several of my doctor mentors, a majority (3 out of 4) said they would choose the PA route if they were to do it again.

So, I’ve already put out applications for PA school and I’m SUPER STOKED! I am fully in LOVE with the idea of becoming a PA and can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Stay tuned for more articles! If there’s an article you’d like to see please post below in the comments section!

Follow my journey and get email updates whenever I post a new article by signing up in the “Follow Me!” section.

– Megan 

#lifeinthegap #lifeasapremed

(PS Follow me on Instagram @nutmegs20)

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