Med student quiting to be PA

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    Hello! :wave:

    Just wondering if any med students changed their mind about medicine and changed to other profession like PA, physical therapy, pharmacy?

    And if so what made you make that choice?

    Med student in turmoil :banghead:


    What’s causing you to change your mind?


    Well I am trying to schoose between PA and medicine. I have a friend in med school. When I look at the :twocents: time committment, it seems like it is a poor quality of life. I mean it seems like your family suffers with you trying to find a place for both medicine and family.

    I don’t know if you can have both without sacrificing something, your family, school or your well being. :confused:

    It seems as though both are practicing medicine.


    I’m a practicing family doctor, and I’ve wrestled with this question a lot since leaving med school. Now that I’m here, I can’t go back, but I have thought through a lot of the differences. First, everything depends on your choice of specialty. Once you get through residency, the life of a dermatologist is extremely different than an OB/Gyn. If you’re going to pursue something that is more family-friendly, you’re not going to have as many problems. Also, there are a lot of new options for women, like job-sharing, and part-time work is more accepted, unlike 20 years ago, when women were really expected to be as obsessed with their practice as men were. Even men now are more interested in family.
    Second, as a physician, you are often the bottom-line, the final decision maker, and the responsibility taker. As a PA/NP, you’re more likely to have someone looking over your shoulder, giving input and/or advice. Maybe you’d like that (I sure would sometimes ), or maybe you’d find it intrusive.
    I think those are some of the major differences. Hope that helps! :boggled:
    Also, don’t go into med school half-hearted. You won’t make it. You have to really want it and be willing to sacrifice the years of training to make it through, in my experience.


    Any job will make you juggle career and family. I don’t think THAT aspect will be any easier as PA. The question, as previously stated, is if you are willing to put the time & money into it. I think you have to ask yourself if it will bother you to always have to answer to someone else (with decreased liability as the plus) and if it bothers you to have a limit/ceiling on your career. The family issue will be there either way. Medicine is very broad and it is becoming easier to find some balance, I think, as more women enter medicine


    Thanks for you input!

    The major question is quality of life. I realize that with any profession that there is a sacrifice as a working mother. And finding that balance is a challenge, but do PA’s have a better quality of life. I mean I think about residency and the thought of working 7 days a week, 80 hrs a week seems so extreme.

    Do MD’s get that balance of work and family later in life or is it always so intense?


    I have to say, I have plenty of friends in medicine I don’t think have acheived that balance. But, they were probably never very good at drawing limits and at their use of time. If you want to make your family first, you have to really make it happen, it won’t happen accidentally. And it won’t be simple. But that’s true with any job that isn’t just shift work.
    And it’s going to be difficult in most residencies. Worse if you go to surgical fields, and probably a lot better if you pick a family-friendly primary care program. But residency isn’t forever.


    I agree…

    Any job you have can consume you, if you let it. PAs work quite a bit too…some as much or more than doctors.

    Residency can be very time consuming. But choosing a family friendly residency/specialty can allieviate some of that. I am in emergency medicine…and I like it. (There’s lots of information on the emergency medicine threads if you’re interested.) Typically ER docs only work 10-12 shifts a month. That leaves plenty of time for family and life. I’m not so sure that Family medicine is very family friendly (despite popular belief amoung med students). In my experience, primary care (including IM, Peds and OB/Gyn) is *very* time intensive. With call, and rounds, and clinic…

    But, the bottom line is, I wouldn’t write of medicine (especially if you’re already a med student) based on the fear of not having a life. You can have a life if that’s your priority. Especially now that more women are entering medicine…the attitude is changing…and will continue to do so.


    Thanks for the input.

    I think that is true. I just believe that I am having such a hard time now adjusting. It is very disheartening. I mean going to class and not having a family life just doesn’t fulfill me.

    Maybe I am doing a lousy job at the balance thing!

    I just know that residency is hard and if I am struggling now with lack of motivation now, how will I make it then?

    I still have the dream. I go to the hospital and see the physcians working with patient giving them that information and making a difference in their lives, but the high doesn’t last long enough.

    I mean don’t get me wrong I have good days, but the bad days are beginning to out weigh the good ones.


    Yeah, that happens.

    There’s a lot of frustration with medicine nowadays. Did you see that “would you do it again” thread? Lots of folks expressing their frustrations…and many people saying they wouldn’t “do it again if they had the chance.” Check it out if you have time…very interesting posts.

    I think the trick is…to (1) not expect your life to be perfect as a doctor. You won’t be rich…and even $150,000 isn’t *that* much money. Enjoy yourself but always (2) keep the job in perspective…being a doctor is only a job. Some people get caught up in this “superhero” impression of what a doctor is suppossed to be.

    It’s only a job. Treat it as more than that, you’ll more likely be disappointed.

    If you’re a med student…I say keep going. Make this medicine thing work for you.


    I appreciate everything you have to say, Mya, but I have to disagree on one point. When I have viewed medicine as just my “job”, I felt very bitter at how it was separating me from my family. When I have been able to view it as my “calling,” it is easier to do my best and stay focused on my work and not just the money.
    Of course, it’s not my most important calling, like my kids. It’s just a different facet of my life.
    “med student” you said

    “I just know that residency is hard and if I am struggling now with lack of motivation now, how will I make it then?”

    The best part of medical training is that every year you get closer to your goal. When you are in residency, you’ll be actually doing (much of the time) what your life will be. Sitting in Biochem and pathology lectures may not be very close to your life if you end up in… certain fields. If you don’t get thrilled by surgery, don’t worry, you won’t have to do it as a pediatrician, or vice-versa. Just because school doesn’t thrill you, doesn’t mean medicine won’t have some joys in it.

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