Wednesday, September 8, 2010

MiM Mailbag: PA student thinking about med school

Hi Ladies,

I am currently a physician assistant student and needing some advice.  I would like to remain annoymous and would appreciate you putting up my post!  While I am not married yet and don't have kids but chose PA school so that I could have a good family life.  I also worked very hard in undergrad and was worried I would greatly struggle through med school (which was a big thing that pushed me to PA school).  Now that I am in PA school (second semester of didactic year), I love what I am learning and want to learn more and have started to re-think med school.  I would like to finish this program and work a couple years and would be around 27 yo when starting med school if I chose to go back.  I was wondering if I could get some advice from former pa/np's who went back to med school at a slightly older age and from the other women if it is able to still have a good life when in med school, residency, and of course after.  Thank you for your help! Please don't post my name, I would hate for someone at school to see this.

Thank you!


  1. Just a thought from a PA, I went through PA school and had the exact same feelings the last year of school. However, my husband and I discussed the possibility (he was very supportive of whatever I wanted) and decided to wait for a few years. Now that I've been a PA for 1 year now, I actually don't regret the decision at all. I LOVE being a PA and am very satisfied with my career choice, especially with Baby #1 on the way! I truly believe a lot of the satisfaction with being a PA is having a great job with a supportive supervising physician, so that is important for you to consider. Just think about the flexibility you'll have as a PA along with the drastically lower about of student loans to repay!

  2. I started med school at 24, met my husband in second year and was 28 and 39 weeks pregnant at graduation.
    It wasn't easy, and during internship I couldn't ever bring myself to recommend it to people. Then I became a resident, (In Australia so a bit different) and things have started to improve. Now I hesitantly tell people they need to follow their dreams. I was a registered nurse before and in the worst of times with a small baby and trying to do crazy intern hours I got counselling and told her I felt as though I was stupid for going back, If I were a nurse I would've had a good job, flexibility, probably a house....
    She counselled many healthcare professionals and shook her head and said...if you were a nurse you'd be frustrated. Remember why you went back to med school..

    She was right!
    Its not easy...
    But if its what you really want...

  3. i agree w/ Kara...definitely don't make any major decisions about going to medical school until you get out and see what being a PA is really like. You may love it.

    If it's additional learning opportunities you are looking for, there are a lot of ways to keep learning and increase your skill set while on the job.

    That said, if your heart is set on being an MD, 27 is definitely still very young to start school and you'll definitely have a leg up on other students!

  4. I was a PA who went back to med school at age 32. I loved being a PA, but decided I wanted to make my own decisions. I was single at the time and decided I could do it. I started my orthopedic residency at age 36, got married during my internship year, and now have 2 wonderful girls. Residency has been very hectic, but now that I am close to completing my 5 years, I am so glad I made the decision to go back. I think I would have ended up regretting it later in life. That being said, I also enjoyed my time as a PA and probably wouldn't have gone back if I would have been married with a family. Both are great career paths. If medical school is something you want to do, don't hesitate and just do it!


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