I have a PhD in psychology but have always wanted to be a physician (no, not a psychiatrist but a pediatrician or family practitioner). I feel like I have the confidence now that I didn't have straight out of undergrad (I'm 30 now). My husband is supportive but also can't understand how I could think about med school after all of my years of grad school. Are there others out there who have attended or are considering medical school after a PhD or other extensive training? Have you considered PA or other health-related careers? I'm just looking into my options at this point. Any feedback would be great.
I think there are several on this board that I can think of that pursued the MD after various graduate studies (myself included - PhD). There is no doubt that going after the MD adds many years more training to your life but if you are up for the challenge and your husband is supportive I can see nothing that should get in your way!
That being said, I think many of us that go this route are people who fundamentally enjoy learning and I know when I made the decision I had to some serious soul searching to try and make sure this wasn't just 'trying to relive earlier days of graduate school'. Also I do not know how many years it has been since you finished your PhD as they vary so much in length. You may have had a couple of years in the work force as a psychologist (?) but if not med schools may ask you (and you should ask yourself) are you sure without having yet tried it you won't be fully satisfied if you try your current job. Of course if you have been working as a psychologist that point is moot. The message however is to know yourself well, and to understand your motivations, including the ones that might be there but are not as noble (we all have some!) or visible. If you decide you are making the choice for sufficiently good reasons then - welcome to the club!
As far as PA school is concerned, yes I considered it. My advice to people is always the same - go shadow a PA! The truth is people put so much effort into deciding to be MDs shadowing etc, but then some jump ship or decide not to jump ship to PA based on preconceived notions, not actual experience. I say put just as much effort into investigating PA as you do MD. It will all be health care experience and can go on your resume either way. For me the PA route was not right. If I had wanted to live in a rural area where the PA was the sole provider and only worked remotely under an MD it could have worked, but I am more of a city person where PA rights and priviledges are often much more proscribed (although it varies by office). Also at the end of the day, I did the PhD because I was looking for a challenging and thorough education. Given that personality type I felt more comfortable going MD. Not that PA education is not thorough - just that it is taken in a very very different direction.
I have been out of school and working as a psychologist for about two years. I basically like what I do and am not unhappy with my career. However, I still have such a strong interest in medicine (and do not want to feel for the rest of my life that I went with my “second choice” professsion) that I owe it to myself to at least investigate my options.