Advantages of PA vs Physician

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Omar Abdul-Malik, DHEd., MPAS, PA in Washington, District of Columbia

27 months ago

Hi binti! Well,I cn tell you, Ive been "there" (i.e. "feeling stuck"). There are a number of things you can do. I need to know a bit more about your situation though.For example, do you have any other degrees? When I earned my MPAS, I felt more qualified to teach and I received speaking positions. I'm REALLY excited about having completedmy doctorate b/c I would like to become a PA program director. I have found that writing inspires me about the PA profession (start a journal about your own PA experience and see if you can get it published) There is a section in the Journal of the Academy of PAs (JAAPA) called "A Day in the Life" in which PAs from around the country share their experiences. You can change specilties or get a locum tenes (prn position)in something you find exciting. Lastly, for me, there's few things like attending...

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Omar Abdul-Malik, DHEd., MPAS, PA in Washington, District of Columbia

27 months ago

...(cont'd to binti) as I was "saying", go to a national or regional PA conference. I find these VERY inspiraional. It's so GREAT to see PA acting and being respected as leaders in the health care field. The next nationl PA conference is projected to take place in Washington, DC (YEAH!) in 2013. However, there is a large number of conerences and symposiums for PA and NPs throughout the country. If you are not a member of the AAPA, at least join your local, state chapter, so you can meet other PA. You never know what great things this could lead to. I hope this helps,binti. Take care! :)
Omar Abdul-Malik,DHEd,MPAS,PA HU PA class of 00', Univ. of NE class of 04', A.T. Still Univ. School of Health Management class of 12'

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Stokes in Atlanta, Georgia

27 months ago

not confused anymore in Edinburg, Texas said: i was also confused, so i decided to shadow a few md and a few pas. i was surprised to how many mds actually asked me " have u ever thought about taking a different route such as a pa or np?", when i asked them why they all gave me a similar answer, saying that they love what they do but wish they had spend more time with their family. one doctor said he hates all his friends becasue they are all other doctors who are tired of their hectic lives, so all they do is play golf and complain about their carreer choice. i also plan on getting married in a few years, and i dont want to miss out on seeing my kids grow up, and spending time with my then wife. i made up my mind when i shadowed a pa who worked 9 to 5 and then coached his sons soccer team. he had everything that i planed to have in my life, patients who respect him, decent salary, and a great family. he told me not to worry about money, because he makes 89K a year and his wife makes 60k as a proffessor, so they are well off and have a great relationship eith their kids. a doctors salary will never be worth as much as family time with two incomes.

Fantastic post. Thank you. This settled the debate for me. Work/Life balance is key, I want to be able to share in family moments. Thank you!

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Just got in!!! in Brooklyn, New York

27 months ago

I have been a long time follower, first time poster. I just wanted to thank everyone here for all their posts. I got fantastic news last week!! I got accepted into the Sophie Davis PA program in NYC. I'm really excited because not only is it close to me, it is also one of the cheapest programs in NY. I start in July. I can't believe that my dream is finally coming true. I'm super excited!! In just 28 months, I'll be a PA!! Does anybody have any tips on how to survive PA school? Any study habits that worked for them? If anybody graduated from or is currently going to Sophie Davis, please let me know. I have some questions about the orientation program.

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PA-S in Atlanta, Georgia

27 months ago

Claudia in Rochester, New York said: Ok but what if you were wanting a smaller career that would let you have a good amount of money, the chance of having a really good chance of having a family?! You sir are rude. ALthough I do understand what you are saying. I am saying that you are rude and could have worded that better. This is a forum for constructive criticism. Thank you for your words though.

You are completely ignorant. I'm in PA school now and share every.single. Class with med students. We take 7 months of back-to-back, slammed full semesters and finish in 27 months. Med students take 4 years @ 2 semesters a year. They get summers off. We have to know every ounce of information they do. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE is they have to specialize and PAs don't. I chose PA for that very reason, to switch it up when I wanted to And to have more time for a family. The medical scene is hiring much more PAs than doctors- as there's a huge demand.
Good luck with your already-looking-to-be successful life, moron.

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Naima in Bronx, New York

27 months ago

This is very true. People really need to start understanding the role and the demand and most importantly the need for PAs all over the country. I hate it when people act so ignorant. Thank you for standing up and saying FACTS PA-S. I am starting PA school and it's sad how people negatively comparing PAs and Doctors!

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BetterHealthcare in Atlanta, Georgia

27 months ago

Naima in Bronx, New York said: This is very true. People really need to start understanding the role and the demand and most importantly the need for PAs all over the country. I hate it when people act so ignorant. Thank you for standing up and saying FACTS PA-S. I am starting PA school and it's sad how people negatively comparing PAs and Doctors!

PA-S and Naima,

I know it can be frustrating when people know nothing or very little about the profession, but it is part of our responsibility as “future-PAs” and “PA-C” to educate the public. Let them know, how we fit into their overall healthcare plan/strategy; explain to them (the public) our role and how they differ and are similar to the physicians that serve them.

As I read through the postings, I have concluded that some of the individuals that post are looking for information because they are somewhat confused about what a “PA” is or are looking for a starting point to discover what a “PA” is.
So I implore you to not be so harsh when replying to various postings that would suggest the individual has very little to no knowledge of the profession. Part of this forum is to serve as a prelude to understanding what a PA is and as an initial unofficial source of reference about physician assistants.

We are all passionate about practicing medicine as a PA, but we cannot allow that to overshadow our compassion. Remember, practicing medicine as a PA is more than just diagnosing and treating a patient. Sometimes it means we are teachers, advisors, and community activist all in the cause of promoting better healthcare for everyone.

M
DHSc, PA-C

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Naima in Bronx, New York

27 months ago

Yes it is indeed true and I guess commenting out of an impulse may be be the solution. But wish you all best of luck with everything and anything you set your minds to! :))

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Naima in Bronx, New York

27 months ago

I meant may NOT** be the solution. Haha

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PA-S in Augusta, Georgia

27 months ago

It's no problem. I am enrolled in every, single identical class as any Medical student. They get every summer semester off and we go straight through every semester with 1-2 week breaks in between. The only difference between a PA is that a MD has to complete residency. Meaning if they choose to go into cardiology, they have to specialize in that field for a reduced pay ( around $30-$40,000 per year) at 80 hours a week. If I decide I like OB-GYN and after a year I want something new, as a PA, I can change specialties that very same day. I also chose PA so I could have a less demanding job and have time for a family. It's true that an MD generally makes more than a PA, but the students graduating from med school that I know are in an average of $340,000 debt. I will be graduating with around $80,000.
PA is a great field, it's most certainly why I chose it. Some people can't handle the disrespect that complete idiots (such as the poster above saying you should just choose the MD-route) bestow on us as we simply try to help them. I could care less what an uneducated low-life says, and therefore I'm doing what makes me happy as I hope everyone here will as well.

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Military wife/ Ophthalmic tech in Augusta, Georgia

26 months ago

I've currently been working at a Ophthalmic Tech for over 5 yrs. I am a military wife and new mother once again being relocated in less than a year for the last time to the DC area. I am contemplating what I should do. I'm wondering If trying to become a PA would be to much with a 7 mo old( my 1st child) . Im wanting to stay in the ophthalmology field. Because of my first office I enjoy and love patient education. I love to help patient and explain to them what's going on and how we can help them . And have them leave the office truley understanding what's going on .At my new office I learned how much i enjoy and miss it, seeing how I did not get to spend that time with the patients. I enjoy being part of a team and have no problem answering to a higher authority seeing how that is what we were taught in school as a ophthalmic tech. I just want to be in a feild of work that let me do what I love to do. I hope im not rambling.

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BetterHealthcare in Atlanta, Georgia

26 months ago

Military wife in Augusta, GA

First, thank you and your husband for your service! With regards to your inquiry, it’s really hard to say, because almost anything is possible and it is a decision you will have to make on your own. Some things you might want to ponder; first is the attrition rate among PA-programs is extremely high. Also the cost can range from $40k to $80k/year, and that does not include cost of living.

Although not impossible, what you are proposing is a TREMENDOUS undertaking while parenting a 7mo old. Most programs leave very little outside of the program for 2 to 3 years. Then you will face a steep learning curve for a couple of years which can resemble being in a residency at times.

In addition to everything else, most PA-programs are offered at the master-level, with a few exceptions. In Georgia, we have only four (4) PA-programs; *Emory University School of Medicine, *UGA-School of Medicine, *Mercer University, & South University; all four programs are offered at the master-level.
If, I can suggest anything, please research a little further into being a PA and the programs out there, before you make any decisions.

I wish you well and good luck in your decision.

M
DHSc, PA-C
Emergency Medicine

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Omar Abdul-Mali DHEd, MPAS,PA in Washington, District of Columbia

26 months ago

Hi Miliary wife. Congrads on the birth of your child! :) My advice would be to give yourself a couple of years until you baby gets older. PA school is SUPER INTENSE ! I don't know what you social support system is like (family & friends). Is there anyone you can trust to watch your child? My wife and I didn't have our first child until I was in my last year of PA school. I can't even BEGIN to imagine what it would e like to have had him BEFORE I began PA school; hope this helps.

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Chaudhm in Centreville, Virginia

26 months ago

Hello everyone
I hope someone here can help me. I graduated in 2006 with BS in biology. I am currently working as a research associate in a major pharmaceutical company. I have abt 4 years of experience. I got into Howards PA program in 2007 but I didnt continue as I got pregnant. I still regret it very much. Recently I have started lOoking at PA programs again and I'm really interested in GW. I have a GPA of 4.0 and I meet all the pre requisites. I have to take GRE. My problem is that I don't have any direct patient care experience. Does my lab experience count? What are the odds of me getting in?

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Mike Lowrey in La Grange Park, Illinois

26 months ago

Chaudhm in Centreville, Virginia said: Hello everyone
I hope someone here can help me. I graduated in 2006 with BS in biology. I am currently working as a research associate in a major pharmaceutical company. I have abt 4 years of experience. I got into Howards PA program in 2007 but I didnt continue as I got pregnant. I still regret it very much. Recently I have started lOoking at PA programs again and I'm really interested in GW. I have a GPA of 4.0 and I meet all the pre requisites. I have to take GRE. My problem is that I don't have any direct patient care experience. Does my lab experience count? What are the odds of me getting in?

First congrats with the baby, probably a few years late bit its the thought that counts lol. But on to business, I would call GW Admissions and ask them straight out. Most people take an Emt, CNA, or Medical Assiant program to get PC hours but some schools allow volunteer hours as well. It all just falls on admissions and how strict they want to be. I would also double check to make sure your classes didnt expire. My bio class I took in 2006 expired for my dream school so I'm retaking it now. Some schools have 5-7yr rule. Lastly don't forget to shadow a Pa most schools either require it or require a letter of Rec from 2. I shadowed Omar, met him on the forum, he's the man. Best wishes

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Omar Abdul-Malik, DHEd, MPAS, PA in Washington, District of Columbia

26 months ago

Hi Chaudm! It's too bad about your Howard experience. However, I really respect and admire your decision to put the priority on raising your child. This is WAY more important than PA school. My wife and I didn't have our first child until I was in my last few months of PA school. I can't even IMAGINE trying to do PA school NOW with four young kids (YEESH!). Anyway, to answer your questions. GWU is VERY competative. This is due to the fact that it's a grad program. You have folks who have already finished at least one degree (i.e. undergrad). Also, they have been introduced to standardized testing (i.e.GREs or MCATs). There is probably a correlation between this and their near 100% PANCE passage rate (note, GWU also has a rigorous PANCE prep program). Howard's program is still undergrad. yet still quite good. The fact is- I believe anway- you'll see a different calibre applicant (i.e.GWU vs Howard). Now,w/ ANY program, it's up to the program director to decide what to accept as work in the health field. This COULD include research, lab tech. work, EMT, CNA. It's really up to the program.I would encourage you to apply to HU program also. You'll save $60-$70K dollars. GWU is about $50K PER YEAR! HU is still about $10K. You can always do an online MPAS (A.T.Sill, Univ. of Nebraska) or even a one year residency (e.g. Duke, John's Hopkins, Emory). A Howard PA degree is VERY competative in the PA job market, trust me on this (speaking from YEARS of experience). The MOST important thing is pasing your PANCE when you finish. I hope this info. helped you. 202 if 549 you 7136 want to talk. I wish you the VERY BEST in your endeavors! :)
Peace,
Omar Abdul-Malik, BS Biology 94' UDC, BS PA 00' Howard Univ., MPAS/Infectious Disease specialization Univ. of Nebraska (distance learning) 04', Doctorate Health Education/DHEd A.T.Still Univ. 12'; practicing PA since 01'; PA program Admissions committee for GWU & Howard 00'-04' Adjunct faculty Howard 01'-04'

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Omar Abdul-Malik, DHEd, MPAS, PA in Washington, District of Columbia

26 months ago

Just got in!!! in Brooklyn, New York said: I have been a long time follower, first time poster. I just wanted to thank everyone here for all their posts. I got fantastic news last week!! I got accepted into the Sophie Davis PA program in NYC. I'm really excited because not only is it close to me, it is also one of the cheapest programs in NY. I start in July. I can't believe that my dream is finally coming true. I'm super excited!! In just 28 months, I'll be a PA!! Does anybody have any tips on how to survive PA school? Any study habits that worked for them? If anybody graduated from or is currently going to Sophie Davis, please let me know. I have some questions about the orientation program.

YAAH!Justgotin!YOu ROCK!Okay advice: Find out what kind of learner your are (i.e. auditory,tactile,visual)Cater your study notes to learning type (3x5 cards w/ pictures,use of models for Anatomy).For example, if you're are tactile learner, your'll do well in Physical Diagnosis and Gross Anatmoy labs (lots of stuff to do and touch/exam equpiment,cadavers,). If you're auditory, you'll do well in medical lectures just listening (e.g.Pharm).If you're a visual learner you do well in classes with lots of neat pictures and diagrams (e.g.Pathophysiology, Physiology, etc.). THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO ORGANIZE YOU TIME!Get a stopwatch (yes, sound wacky),actually time how much time it take you to do activities of daily living (ADLs)-laundry,preparing & eating food,bathroom,etc.-you'll be suprised at how much total time you spend on ADLs.Use this time to study (e.g.listen to recorded lecture notes as you do laundry, reveiw stduy cards during bathroom breaks).Have some leisure time, but make sure to limit it as you see fit. EVERYTHING you do has to lead to you passing your PANCE! YOU CAN DO IT! BUT, you've got to be disciplined.

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LoveGain 32 in Brooklyn, New York

25 months ago

I am finishing off my bachelors in Health science. I am also going to get my certification to become a Phlebotomy Tech. I am looking forward to PA school I know it is going to be a lot of work. But I am ready for the challenge. The schools out here in NYC is hard to get into, so i am trying to also volunteer in the hospital to get experience. After reading everyone stories I know this is going to be an experience.

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LoveGain 32 in Brooklyn, New York

25 months ago

Omar Abdul-Malik, DHEd, MPAS, PA in Washington, District of Columbia said: YAAH!Justgotin!YOu ROCK!Okay advice: Find out what kind of learner your are (i.e. auditory,tactile,visual)Cater your study notes to learning type (3x5 cards w/ pictures,use of models for Anatomy).For example, if you're are tactile learner, your'll do well in Physical Diagnosis and Gross Anatmoy labs (lots of stuff to do and touch/exam equpiment,cadavers,). If you're auditory, you'll do well in medical lectures just listening (e.g.Pharm).If you're a visual learner you do well in classes with lots of neat pictures and diagrams (e.g.Pathophysiology, Physiology, etc.). THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO ORGANIZE YOU TIME!Get a stopwatch (yes, sound wacky),actually time how much time it take you to do activities of daily living (ADLs)- laundry ,preparing & eating food ,bathroom,etc.-you'll be suprised at how much total time you spend on ADLs.Use this time to study (e.g.listen to recorded lecture notes as you do laundry, reveiw stduy cards during bathroom breaks).Have some leisure time, but make sure to limit it as you see fit. EVERYTHING you do has to lead to you passing your PANCE! YOU CAN DO IT! BUT, you've got to be disciplined.

I wanted to ask a question. I am more of a visual learner and also have a short attention span. I am working on this now, i pick up very fast. i really want to get into a great PA program, so i am working on it now. How can I become a successful candidate?

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veronica in Rockville, Maryland

24 months ago

Ty in Frostburg, Maryland said: My primary reason for pursuing a career as a PA is the flexibility it currently provides. I have shadowed many practicing PAs that have jumped from one specialty to another, i.e. from family practice to general surgery. Also, it seems that you can dictate how much time you want to put into your career. You can moonlight at hospitals while working at your primary job, or you can take it easy and spend time raising a family.

The funny thing was that I wanted to become a MD my whole life. My grandfather was one in England, and I have wonderful memories of how he and his patients were like family. For instance, they would come in and sit for a cup of tea while he would go over their conditions and histories. However, nowadays the medical system (managed care) doesn't provide for those types of environments. I worked as a medical assistant and saw the life of doctor's firsthand.. heard all the complaints and problems. Plus, although its a small pool, every PA I have talked with loves what they are doing and would go back and do it again!

As for working internationally, my first encounter with PAs was when I was a Peace Corps volunteer. They were our primary medical providers and were working under the umbrella of the embassy doc. They were making a US salary in a third world country, while having apartment stipends, and many other perks. How cool is that!? Their standard of living was much higher than ours and I could tell how much they enjoyed their experience.

Hope that helps.

Good luck!

Hey Ty can you provide more information about the Peace Corps thing. That sounds great and I would love to do that. Were you in the Peace Corps? How did you find out about it? Hearing about that really excites me. :-)

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Verónica in Rockville, Maryland

24 months ago

Dear Current Physician Assistants,

I am currently considering a career as a Physician Assistant. I am particularly interested in the Physician Assistant and Master of Public Health Dual Degree programs. I am currently a Clinical Research Coordinator at the National Institutes of Health. I seek to continue my career in research and public health. I hope that my training from a Physician Assistant and Masters in Public Health dual degree program will provide me with new and improved skills which I can use to be a greater asset in the medical community and perform high quality public health research.

I have been attempting to do research on the Physician Assistant’s role in public health and health care research. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find very much information regarding PA’s role in research. Do you have any suggestions as to where I might be able to find and speak with PAs who are involved in research?

What are the potentials for PAs who would like to be involved in health care and public health research after completion of their training? I seek to become a Medical Investigator, Associate Investigator or Principal Investigator and conduct research to improve the health of underserved communities.

Please let me know where I can find more information regarding these issues. I would like to have better understanding of my potentials and prospects before I enroll in a PA graduate program. Please let me know if someone with my interests and ambitions would be more successful becoming a physician or nurse practitioner.

Thank you for all your help. It is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Verónica Y. Schmidt

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Verónica in Rockville, Maryland

24 months ago

Omar Abdul-Malik, DHEd., MPAS, PA in Washington, District of Columbia said: Hi binti! Well,I cn tell you, Ive been "there" (i.e. "feeling stuck"). There are a number of things you can do. I need to know a bit more about your situation though.For example, do you have any other degrees? When I earned my MPAS, I felt more qualified to teach and I received speaking positions. I'm REALLY excited about having completed my doctorate b/c I would like to become a PA program director . I have found that writing inspires me about the PA profession (start a journal about your own PA experience and see if you can get it published) There is a section in the Journal of the Academy of PAs (JAAPA) called "A Day in the Life" in which PAs from around the country share their experiences. You can change specilties or get a locum tenes (prn position)in something you find exciting. Lastly, for me, there's few things like attending...

Hi Omar,

I am just wondering did you complete your PA training at Howard and then do a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) at another institution? I am wondering how the MPAS made you qualified to teach and I received speaking positions. I am asking because these are things that I would like to do someday too.

Thank you for all your help on this forum.

Sincerely,

Verónica

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LoveGain32 in Brooklyn, New York

24 months ago

LoveGain 32 in Brooklyn, New York said: I wanted to ask a question. I am more of a visual learner and also have a short attention span. I am working on this now, i pick up very fast. i really want to get into a great PA program, so i am working on it now. How can I become a successful candidate?

Thank you so much for the advice, I am ready to continue with my career and move on to a better job. I know as a PA it is s new job and I will encounter many different personalities, but I am learning to work with people.

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BetterHealthcare in Atlanta, Georgia

24 months ago

Being a PA is extremely difficult but it is extremely rewarding. Bottom line there are "pros & cons" to any profession. As a PA-C, do I feel I work harder than the MDs that supervise me, at times yes but I have a great deal of autonomy as well and respect for physicians. Have I had patients question my diagnosis, yes but I have had patients write to the CEO of my hospital and rave about my level of care to them; as well as I understand that the primary in a patient's care is the PATIENT. As a PA you need to have a "tough skin" there are good days and bad days.

Salary wise PAs run the spectrum, I have talked with PAs that make the lower end circa $60k to PAs earning slightly over $200k and depending on where you are in the country, the salary can provide you/your family with a very good quality of life.

As a PA-internist, P/T assistant professor, and active volunteer I don't really have a lot of time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. But at $169k in Georgia (GA) I am able to provide very comfortably for my wife and daughter. Would I like to spend more time w/them, yes but it is equally just as important to me that they have their needs easily met and that my daughter has the best opportunity at a great start in life.

I know for some the glitz and glamour of being a physician is hard to resist, but there are GREAT opportunities for PAs in the medical field as well. Although we are an old profession, we are fairly new in the consciousness of America and it takes time and dedication to bring our profession up to the level of respect from all that it should be. Remember physicians have not always enjoyed the degree of social acceptance and respect it does today.

part 1 of 2

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BetterHealthcare in Atlanta, Georgia

24 months ago

Continue - part 2

There have been many strides pre & post me entering the profession that are moving us towards recognition for which we've earned. Things such as the national healthcare act and AAPA's continous lobbying and education of Congress along with our efforts at the grass roots level will get us there in time.

As I stated before there are scores of educational and professional opportunities for PAs. Especially young go getters entering the profession, just remember there are naysayers both within and outside of our profession as well as there are just some who are still unsure of a PA role on a healthcare team.

So if you're thinking about pursuing a degree/want to be a PA, please think hard about what you're committing yourself to and weigh it against what you think is greener pasture.

Also, having a SP is not bad if there is a good relationship between the both of you. And if your SP is less than supportive of you, I would look at it no differently than if you were in another profession with a boss that was less than ideal. And depending on the setting as a PA you can be the supervisor or chief. Some of my mentors and friends who are PAs are chiefs of their department, study/research, etc. When you think/come across situations like the aforementioned think about the location, the individual, and institution/practice, because they vary around the county.

Best wishes and good luck in your endeavors/practice.

M
DHSc, PA-C
Internal Medicine (IM)

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TK in Syracuse, New York

24 months ago

travia in Fort Lauderdale, Florida said: I am a Biology Teacher, with M.S. in education . I considered PA school, but I decided to become a Nurse Practitioner. The main reason I choose this route is because, I will not need to work under the doctors supervision. As a Nurse Practitioner you can practice independently. Also, there are several high paying specialties that you have as a nurse. i.e. CRNA. Also you can get a DNP (Doctorate of Nurse Practitioner). Why limit yourself. The good thing about PA school is you are trained in a model very similar to medical school. The bottom line is do what's best for you and your situation.

Hello! How were you able to switch to becoming a Nurse Practitioner? I just received my MPH and will begin pre-reqs for PA school soon. I thought that in order to be a Nurse Practitioner one had to be an RN for 10 years or so?? I'm 31 and want to start my life-- pay off debt, get married,kids-- the usual stuff. How long did your career change take and if you weren't a nurse to begin with, how/where did you become a Nurse Practitioner?

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chloe1118 in Atlanta, Georgia

24 months ago

Hello Omar Abdul-Malik,
I love that you take the time out to help aspiring PA's. I have a couple of questions, I guess more like a ton. I currently have a BS in biology. I graduated in 2007, have applied to a couple of PA programs, have had interviews and still have not got in. First I wanted to know how I could separate myself from the rest of the candidates? Do you have an email address, so I could address some of the issues and concerns I am having and give more background? Thank You !

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meandmyself31 in Staten Island, New York

23 months ago

Hi guys. I need some advice from you people. I graduated this year with a degree in chemistry and biochemistry with a GPA of 3.94. At present, I really don't know what to do. All this high GPA doesn't get you anywhere. I was thinking to apply to pharmacy school fpr the year 2013, and I did start studying for PCAT and started volunteering in a pharmacy this summer, but the job outlook for pharmacists is dismal. Everyone is complaining it is almost impossible to get a full time job in any pharmacy. I have been thinking if I should go for PA, because it is great profession I know. And going through all these comments, now I feel I should have never thought about any other profession. The problem with me is I don't have any direct care patient experience. And since PA schools require to have around 1000 hours for direct patient care, I guess I can't apply for the school year, 2013. What would you guys suggest me? I would really appreciate your comments and time. :)

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zmal. in Caldwell, New Jersey

20 months ago

hey guys i am an undergraduate currently enrolled in college,i am in a community college however i am thinking of transferring but i can only transfer after a year that is basically 24 credits or more (two semesters). I am a biology major and i am aware of the fact that i definitely want to become a PA but i don't understand what classes i should take in this one year and then transfer over to a better four year college that probably is going to be Rutgers University. I am taking bio 115 which in my college is philosophical bio and that equals to general bio at rutgers so you see theres a great difference and thats why i am afraid i might take the wrong classes. I would love your feedback a little helpful information on what i should do just opinions and ideas maybe one thing can lead to another it will be highly appreciated. Thank You

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shandana in Stockton, California

19 months ago

Hi Omar Abdul Malik

I have been following all your comments, and they have been very helpful. I am an immigrant in this country. I was married right away after I moved here, and currently going through a divorce. I had been away from my education for a while, but now I am back in the game, and I am interested in getting into the PA program. I feel you have a lot of knowledge, and you are helpful too. If you don't mind, I have a few questions to see if you could answer them for me. I need to know if the Associates degree in PA would get me a job too. I want to do that first, coz I need to get a job. this career school can get me into the program but then I could do BA afterwards too. i have done MA from overseas, but not sure if it could be transferred and would be accredited at all. and does it matter where I get the 2000 hrs of clinical work done from. If I have a choice of going to Stanford and volunteering, or a local hospital, would the admissions board prefer Stanford?

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jenny in Columbus, Ohio

19 months ago

Dear Omar,

I followed most of your posts here, very thankful what you did for us who would like to get into these programs. the question is that I am a Foreign medical schoold graduate and living the States for 10 years and paased USMLE and hold ECFMG CERTIFICATE in 2010, But I didnot get into residency program for some reasons, so i would like to persue the PAs as instead, could you let me know the programs would like to host me as a candidate, also do i need to complete some prerequest coures too, because I completed them in the other country. do you or someome have any ideas about that, i really appreciate your guys help, I am very frustriting now, really need your help!!!!!!!!!!Thanks

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shandana in Stockton, California

19 months ago

Hi Jenny,

I might have a tiny bit of info for you. Usually most of the schools require that you have taken the prerequisite courses within 5 years. For you it has been too long. However, Your USMLE exams that you took, might give you a priority. You should apply into UCDavis school of medicine. They prefer, but not require that you have to have the pre reqs done in past 5 years. You should do some volunteer work, if you haven't done so. Its about 1000 hrs.

Hope it would help.

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jenny in Blacklick, Ohio

19 months ago

thank you for your suggestion, i don't how can i get 1000 hrs volunteer works, anyone know it?

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shandana in Stockton, California

19 months ago

Hi Jenny,

Call the hospitals to see if they have any openings for the volunteer/internship programs. Call different hospitals, clinics, and they will let you know.

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Summer of George in Washington, District of Columbia

18 months ago

Hi guys, I'm one of the people who applied to medical and PA schools because I truly love and appreciate what both careers have to offer. One of the things that distinguish PA education from medical education is that there typically is a clinical experience prerequisite. Medical schools have begun adopting clinical experience as a big part of their admissions process too.

I interviewed and was accepted to multiple PA and med schools and one of the biggest things they focused on during interviews was my 2000 hours working as an ER tech. (along with service in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti as an Army Ranger). PA and med schools are now looking for mature candidates who understand medicine, society, and themselves better than the 22 year old college wunderkind. If anyone has questions about either application process, feel free to ask.

A persistent thing that I've read in this forum is salary, quality of life, clinical competence, and prestige. If you're choosing a profession and career around salary, time off, or respect YOU'RE NOT FOCUSED ON THE PATIENT and have no reason to be either a physician or PA. The 16 year old on a ventilator, 80 year old with a fractured pelvis, single mother with a baby in respiratory depression, or Haitian earthquake victim don't give a **** about your degree, credentials, or salary. They care about how good you are at your job and how much you care. They are the reason we exist.

Regardless of PA or MD, if someone doesn't enter the career field for the right reasons, they will be either miserable or rapidly exposed and lapped by someone with a servant's heart. Medicine is service. Being a PA or MD will be the greatest honor and privilege of my life and Omar and D from Virginia have great perspectives on both. Don't get clouded by "prestige", "salary", "quality of life". Those will take care of themselves if you internalize selfless service.

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Summer of George in Washington, District of Columbia

18 months ago

I'm going to continue military service so finances are no object (very fortunate) but the other things that are helping me make a decision are:

PA:
Faster re-entry into the workforce.
Career flexibility
Having an MD/DO as your "backup" and mentor
Greater clinical focus and lesser administrative obligations (insurance!)
Surrounded by mature people with healthcare experience
No residency

MD:
Greater exposure to pre-clinical sciences and research resources
Surrounded by some of the best minds on earth-the MD/PhD candidates here at Georgetown are amazing
The career depth
Leadership opportunities

I'd love to hear more from any practicing PAs or MDs out here!

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bluesurf

18 months ago

Summer of George in Washington, District of Columbia said: Hi guys, I'm one of the people who applied to medical and PA schools because I truly love and appreciate what both careers have to offer. One of the things that distinguish PA education from medical education is that there typically is a clinical experience prerequisite. Medical schools have begun adopting clinical experience as a big part of their admissions process too.

I interviewed and was accepted to multiple PA and med schools and one of the biggest things they focused on during interviews was my 2000 hours working as an ER tech. (along with service in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti as an Army Ranger). PA and med schools are now looking for mature candidates who understand medicine, society, and themselves better than the 22 year old college wunderkind. If anyone has questions about either application process, feel free to ask.

A persistent thing that I've read in this forum is salary, quality of life, clinical competence, and prestige. If you're choosing a profession and career around salary, time off, or respect YOU'RE NOT FOCUSED ON THE PATIENT and have no reason to be either a physician or PA. The 16 year old on a ventilator, 80 year old with a fractured pelvis, single mother with a baby in respiratory depression, or Haitian earthquake victim don't give a **** about your degree, credentials, or salary. They care about how good you are at your job and how much you care. They are the reason we exist.

Regardless of PA or MD, if someone doesn't enter the career field for the right reasons, they will be either miserable or rapidly exposed and lapped by someone with a servant's heart. Medicine is service. Being a PA or MD will be the greatest honor and privilege of my life and Omar and D from Virginia have great perspectives on both. Don't get clouded by "prestige", "salary", "quality of life". Those will take care of themselves if you internalize selfless service.[/Q

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bluesurf

18 months ago

Hi George,

Can you describe your process in putting together your narrative essay for CASPA.
Thanks a lot
Bluesurf

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Summer of George in Washington, District of Columbia

18 months ago

bluesurf said: Hi George,

Can you describe your process in putting together your narrative essay for CASPA.
Thanks a lot
Bluesurf

Hey brother,
My name's not George. I just go to Georgetown and like watching Seinfeld!

My CASPA and AMCAS essays were almost identical in that I used an event that happened in Iraq to show how powerful and universal medicine is. Then I emphasized teamwork, adaptability, discipline, and especially SERVICE. Also, I made sure to note how our unit PA was able to use his distinctive PA skills to help positively impact our deployment and the Iraqi community. Lastly, please please please make sure that the reader understands that you won't just be a great PA student. You'll be a great PA! Anyone can build a great narrative, but the main thing is making sure your actions match your essay and to let them know who you are!

A great resource that I used is Kaplan's Getting Into Medical School book. At the end of the day, the education and training are different, but PA and Med schools are looking for the same type of people. Team players, solid academics, service oriented so it was a great resource for my PA apps too.

Remember: the application process is frustrating and de-humanizing, and remember how it feels when you are dealing with PTs and your staff. But your essay can go a long way into painting a solid picture.

Good luck and let me know if there's anything else!
Summer of George

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bluesurf

18 months ago

I do apologize Sir,

I want your opinion as far as quality health care experience. Currently, I have 6+ years experience as a certified nurse. Do you think I should gather more experience in say another field, like I was thinking on doing Medical assistance. Or should I get a masters degree in healthcare because I got a full scholarship and it pays for everything.

I appreciate all your feedback
Thanks Bluesurf

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jenny in Columbus, Ohio

18 months ago

Hey Summer of George in washington, sorry for calling you like this. I really appreciate your comments,and believe that clinical experience is very important for us, how do you become ER tech? do you have to get some certificate for that, actually, I am IMG and have ECFMG certificate, but i cannot enter to residency now for some reasons,I have years of clinical experiences in my country but have no clincial experiences here in US, could you let me know how can I be ER tech position? what do ER tech do in ER? Thanks.

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Summer of George in Washington, District of Columbia

18 months ago

bluesurf said: I do apologize Sir,

I want your opinion as far as quality health care experience. Currently, I have 6+ years experience as a certified nurse. Do you think I should gather more experience in say another field, like I was thinking on doing Medical assistance. Or should I get a masters degree in healthcare because I got a full scholarship and it pays for everything.

I appreciate all your feedback
Thanks Bluesurf

Hi Bluesurf,

Come on, I'm no sir, just a regular person trying to make it, just like you. I think you have amazing clinical experience. From what I gathered after 2 years of rejections is that clinical experience is supposed to do several things:

1) Show that someone can function outside of the classroom (a big step for many introverted people great at academics)
2) Give someone realistic expectations and perspective on medicine and an exposure to the various recurrent roles and protocols throughout your medical career.
3) Most importantly-show that a person is indoctrinated in service before self because that's the foundation of being a clinician.

If your clinical experience has provided those for you and you can demonstrate that in a narrative, you will do great! I personally think nurses are the backbone of medicine. Med/PA school will teach me how to be a Physician/PA. Our ER nurses taught me medicine.

If a masters degree will help you get into PA school or add a new dimension to your PA skillset, it's a good investment. If money and time are no object, education will only make you better. But it's a balancing act that has to be right for you and your situation!

I've been in your position and was very lucky to receive good advice. Hopefully this helps!

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Summer of George in Washington, District of Columbia

18 months ago

jenny in Columbus, Ohio said: Hey Summer of George in washington, sorry for calling you like this. I really appreciate your comments,and believe that clinical experience is very important for us, how do you become ER tech? do you have to get some certificate for that, actually, I am IMG and have ECFMG certificate, but i cannot enter to residency now for some reasons,I have years of clinical experiences in my country but have no clincial experiences here in US, could you let me know how can I be ER tech position? what do ER tech do in ER? Thanks.

Hey we've all been in the same shoes! Hope I can help!

The training that an ER tech needs (at least in my hospital) was simply an EMT-basic and IV and EKG certfications. I got my EMT through the military, and took about 3 weeks to finish the IV and EKG requirements. Typically EMTs work on ambulances, but emergency rooms can use them in the nursing aid role. We did blood draws, orthopedic splinting, wound/burn care, and the little things that help an ER run. I started as a volunteer in my local ER. That was a good chance to show that I could contribute and when the charge nurses found out I had certifications, they fast-tracked me to a paid position when something opened up.

A great aspect of working in the ER is the scope of practice we were exposed to as well as patient volume. I loved every minute of it (even on my hands and knees cleaning up poop) This is just my story and there are many great clinical experiences out there that Omar and the others can point you to.

I would definitely find other resources and talk to Omar since it sounds like you are starting with much much more medical experience than I did!

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Summer of George in Washington, District of Columbia

18 months ago

bluesurf said: I do apologize Sir,

I want your opinion as far as quality health care experience. Currently, I have 6+ years experience as a certified nurse. Do you think I should gather more experience in say another field, like I was thinking on doing Medical assistance. Or should I get a masters degree in healthcare because I got a full scholarship and it pays for everything.

I appreciate all your feedback
Thanks Bluesurf

Oh by the way, if I had gotten rejected this 2nd cycle, I would have supplemented my clinical experience with being an ER scribe. Our scribes were all pre-PA and pre-Med. It's essentially shadowing a physician for an entire shift. They are hip and hip watch and recording the patient assessment, diagnostic process, and treatments. Do well and some great letters of rec can happen! But it sounds like you already have a strong clinical foundation, which I really didn't have.

Hope this helps!

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jennifer in Orlando, Florida

18 months ago

Do you think experience as a cosmetologist and facialist would be good clinical experience for applying to a physician assistant program?

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jen in Orlando, Florida

18 months ago

Do you think working as a cosmetologist and an esthetician would be good clinical experience to apply to a physician assistant program? Thanks.

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Summer of George in Washington, District of Columbia

18 months ago

jen in Orlando, Florida said: Do you think working as a cosmetologist and an esthetician would be good clinical experience to apply to a physician assistant program? Thanks.

Hi Jen,
Maybe someone else can provide their perspective, but I would check in with the specific schools you are interested in. I personally cherish everything that people bring to medicine, but schools may be more specific! Good luck

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Miss Ukraine in McLean, Virginia

17 months ago

Hi everyone!
I'm glad to find such useful forum and would like to ask some advise from gurus.
Here's my story... I hold a Master's degree in Biology from my country (graduated 12 years ago), evaluated and equivalent to Master's Degree in USA. My GPA was 3.82. I'm almost done with my prerequisites for the PA program (hopefully I will have only one B). Since English is my second language, I took a Toefl exam and score even higher than was asked. All Universities that I checked accept my degree, so I don't need to take a GRE exam (fuuuuuh). I just started part time job as a CNA with home health care agency a month ago and won't have enough hours of direct patient care experience. I do have 12 years of experience in customer service and sales (mostly from my country), but I'm afraid it won't count. Even though, I have to deal with real "patients" sometimes trough my carrier in sales;-).
I might have 600 hours by the application deadline. I'm planning to apply to GWU, Howard, Ann Arundel College and Towson.
Here are my questions:
1) Am I competitive applicant? What should I improve?
2) How can I find a PA for shadowing experience? Does anybody need a shadow? ;-) How long do I have to do this?
3) Does it matter when you send your application to CASPA? I was hopping to get as much working hours before applying...

I would appreciate any advice or word of wisdom.
Thank you in advance.

Miss Ukraine.

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Howezer in Fitchburg, Massachusetts

17 months ago

Just wanted to say Thank you to Lucas. Feel like a lot of people posting are giving him a hard time for posting his honest opinion. I had thought I wanted to be a PA, but after reading your posts I see that medical school is the right choice for me. I graduate with my BS in Exercise and Sport Science in May, and will still need to take organic chem and physics before the MCAT and applying. This and 4-years of medical school (even with all the debt) seems like a worthwhile sacrifice to practice medicine. True, there is 3-5 years of residency; but it is done in the hospital and you get to be around experienced MDs and patients. I'm doing an internship in Cardiac Rehab at the moment, and know there is nothing I want more to work in medicine. I would rather make the ~7 commitment to medical school/residency now at 22yo, then to go through PA school for 2 yrs and practice for whatever amount; just to find out I'm too limited by regulations

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Che in Petersburg, Virginia

15 months ago

I am a new college graduate with a B.S. in Biology. I have been accepted to Life University's school of Chiropractic. However, I am interested in being a PA. I don't personally know any PA's or Chiropractors and go by what I read on the internet. I have to make a decision soon on whether to attend Life University or apply to a PA program and go from there. I've considered M.D. but I can't afford the school costs. I've been told a career in Chiropractic is not rewarding or guaranteed. Another concern I have is managing either program and continue to work to pay for my living expenses. Opinions, insight, experience with either field would be helpful. My goal in the end is to just help others and have a rewarding career. Please help!

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