Since many of us have pondered becoming PA’s…I thought I’d post this here, if this is the wrong place then I apologize profusely! Last night I went to an information seminar on the PA program at a university that shall remain unnamed (although I urge everyone to bear in mind that I live in Oklahoma, near Norman!). There were 2 professors heading up this information session and they were extremely informative and let us know straightaway that the PA program is very difficult in its own right. At the end they answered everyones question and let us know that they expect alot of things as well. I asked 1 of the gentleman (I use this term loosely) if they thought if I chose to be a PA I could come to resent it because I would be working next to a doctor and would come to hate my limitations rather than love my chosen profession, he then proceeded to tell me that after reviewing my transcripts that I would never become a doctor and that if I hoped to be anywhere in the medical profession I better fall in love with being a PA or a Nurse! I was outraged. I have heard time and again on this board and elsewhere that if I want to be a doctor that I shouldn’t settle and that if I choose to be a PA it should be because I feel that I love that profession not because I can’t become a doctor. I was appalled and now I feel more determined than ever.
Honestly, if you dig down and look at the cirriculum of the PA programs, you’ll be glad you decided to stick with shooting for med school anyway.
I looked at the UCD PA program just out of curiosity and was horrified to find out that PAs only have about 2-3 years of education, and at least this program only prefers but does not even explicitly require any prior health care experience, and then they’re thrust out into the world treating patients at the advanced level.
Granted, most medic programs are 1-2 years but what we do pales in comparison to PAs…I liken it to being told how to do a bunch of advanced procedures without ever receiving an adequate explanation as to why. Sure, you don’t necessarily need the background knowledge, but if “just cause” isn’t a good enough explanation as to why you’re doing something, I would see how PA programs have the potential (not guarantee of course, just potential) to fall short.
I was a little shocked to find that PA’s can be left with no supervision after the 2.5 years of schooling to treat…the supervising physician doesn’t even have to be in the same town all the time, in this state at least it’s only required that they be at the clinic one half day per week! I find that insane!
- RAdamson Said:
Right. I was shocked myself to find out how little training PAs have as a result of showing my girlfriend info on RN, PA, NP, CRNA, etc. since she's considering a career switch to health care. After finding that out, I'm going to do everything I can to steer her towards an option other than PA because that's basically like telling someone "you can do this, this and this" and when the person asks "what if this goes wrong or why" then the answer is "don't worry about it." I wouldn't exactly call that smart medicine.
I'm not familiar with the NP curriculum but you need to be a RN first in order to do NP school so there's at least the guarantee that you've had 2-4 years of clinical training prior to NP as well as experience. For training an advanced level provider, that makes a hell of a lot more sense to me.
I think there are some people who are happy to be a PA, there are some who are not. While some will regret the limitations, others will be content. So, while you were treated rudely, I think Physician Assistant is a respectable profession for those who desire it. Also, the freedom to work unsupervised as a PA is based on the ability to work independently. You do not graduate as a PA with the right to work on your own while the Dr is out of town. You have the right to work within your scope and under the supervision of a Dr.
While the site is “olderpremeds” I still think its ok to support someone here who might choose PA.
Just like the pre-meds seem to focus on DO vs MD, there also seems to be that ongoing debate about DR vs PA.
I am just trying to focus on getting A’s in my pre-reqs. Then I am going to stress over paying for medical school.