PA vs MD vs who knows?

I’m sure I’m not alone here in looking at all possible career choices…so I 'm hoping to be able to pick everyone’s brain!

I have been looking at the idea of going to PA school instead of med school. Here’s my list of reasons:

  1. I have 5 children and…that makes me pretty busy with family obligations. I feel very torn about the commitment that I would feel I would need to make to medicine in order to be a good physician…and I feel that it may exclude me being able to be a good mom to my kids. I have that “you can have it all, just not all at once” mentality…

  2. My dh is a doc and has obligations to his practice that make if very difficult to contemplate moving. I would have to be accepted to the only med school in our state, drive 1.5 hours each way and get a residency nearby (not as difficult, actually). Then there is of course the issue of his call schedule etc. It would be very tough to manage.

    Logic dictates PA school.

    BUT…my heart just isn’t all the way there yet.

    I’m not a glass ceiling friendly gal. My dh has already offered to hire me if I would just go the PA route…the hospital administration would also go for it…but I don’t know that working for my dh would be a good thing…I could work side-by-side with him as his partner, but not…for him. As a PA, I would never be his equal and…that is important to me. Then the question arises of just becoming a PA and working in a completely different field. I think…I’d really struggle with not being the expert, not being the problem-solver…of always being the…person who chose PA school even though they really wanted to go to med school.

    I like to research, analyze and investigate. I would want to do more than the follow-up visits for a busy specialist.

    Life isn’t all or nothing though and PA school is really that middle ground between med school and not being in the medical field. I don’t feel a calling to go into nursing etc.

    I’ve considered some other options that are still on the table…including finishing a science PhD in a medical research field or a psych phd. Both are also huge commitments that would require many years…and the PhD route would likely leave me empty-handed in the jobs dept…the Psych Phd would be as time-consuming and demanding likely as med school…and also requires a residency and the ‘match’.

    I know that all of my other suggetions are my “back-ups”…and that’s why I have so much trouble committing to any of them.

    I feel like I need to either go for it with med school or mourn the loss and pick something else and move forward in that directon. I’m 36…time’s a tickin’

    How have you all solved the career dilemna for yourselves as non-traditional students? If I was 15 years younger with no family obligations, this would be a no brainer. Bummer that I didn’t know what I wanted the first time around.


I am not sure if it was on this forum or if a friend relayed this to me but here is a possible two stage solution.

I have heard of somebody that went through school to become a PA first. Once reaching that level, she worked for a hospital that payed for the following years of medical school to become a MD.

She would not have to do the whole residency thing at slave labor wages because she would already have the experience and have made descent money in the process.

I am sure there is some kind of arrangement to work for that hospital for a period of time but it sounded to me like a great option.

From what I understand, there really are no PA to MD bridge programs right now…any PA who wants to become an MD has to do it the old-fashioned way…