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palebluehuh

I wanna be a physician's assistant: advice, anyone?

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I originally wanted to be a full-scale doctor, but eventually, other life plans began to creep in (that, and I loathe the thought of being up to my shoulders in debt). Additionally, as someone who's spent most of his life hovering precariously above the poverty line, with terrifying dips deep into the realm of Being Really Really Poor, I am disgusted with the high cost of medicine these days.

 

Despite that, I still want to join the medical field. A year or two ago, in reading up on the topic, I hit upon this wonderful idea called 'becoming a physician's assistant'. People like them. They can ask a PA questions they'd be afraid to ask a full doctor. The demand for physician's assistants is enormous, and the training seems to be just as strenuous, but over a shorter period of time. PA's are cheaper than doctors, and for a lot of tasks, they're just as handy. They get to wear those nifty white coats, too.

 

Naturally, I want in on this deal. I like the idea a lot. I want to help people, and I want a job I'll like. Medicine appeals to me a lot. So, I ask you guys: anyone have anything to tell me before I decide for sure? I'm a freshman in college, so I'm particularly suceptible to advice at this moment :). It'd be great if I could hear from actual PA's, as well, but I'd be happy with anything, really. I've read up tons about this, and it only looks better and better for me; but is it really as nice as it looks in the career guides? What steps should I take now to improve my chances of being accepted to a PA school? Should I get a specific degree, or can I take just about anything, so long as I meet all the entry requirements of a PA school?

 

Thanks.

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I'm not sure of the competitiveness. I'd suggest two things:

 

1. Decent grades (over a 3.0 at least)

2. What I feel is just as important (if not more): Experience. Experience will look very good on a resume. Volunteer at a hospital for at least a year.

 

I'd select a major in a science field, bio, chemistry etc. although it's not absolutely essential to have a bus-load of science. I always remember the story of the "Film studies major" who got accepted to medical school here at my university. Good luck!

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I figured. I'm going tomorrow to the nearby hospital to ask about volunteering and I'm studious enough that I don't think a measly 3.0 would be a big problem. Another question: I would like to interview a PA or two, just to see what their job's really like. What would be the protocol for doing that? I assume it'd be incredibly rude to just barge into a hospital and start asking away, right? How would I (politely) ask to talk to a PA for this sort of thing?

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Do not underestimate the difficulty of getting into physician assistant's programs. The vast majority (if not all) of the people who apply and are accepted to these programs have been working in health for several years, if not more. Most programs REQUIRE that you have a year or more(at least 250+ hours) of work in one of the allied health fields (EMT, nursing, etc). Its nearly impossible to get into a PA program straight out of college with only limited volunteer experience, and I think that its a waste. The basic premise of the PA program is to build on significant past medical experience. Yes, there are programs that don't require it, but those programs are sketchy. Shadowing a PA is definitely a good idea, and perhaps s/he can give you some advice on what path to take.

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Hey guys. I am 32 years old and deaf woman. I wanted to become a physician assistant to help deaf clients to understand more clearly about their health, or would like to help deaf/hard of hearing clients when having a baby, etc....

 

I am trying to find more information. I want to study at home to take the course to be a physician assistant than going to college because I have family at home.. I am gettng married this year of December. His son is 2 and half years till may.. That would be more easily for me but I can go on training at hospital while im studying...

 

Any advice? You know I have the rights to be physician assistant to help people to communicate better to save their time, etc...I have watched a lot of people there are ver frustracted and need more understanding and communication and i have seen doctors having hard time with their deaf clients which arent understanding their doctors.. I have asked some physician assistants and physicians at the hospital, emergency room when I was sick or something happened to me that I got hurt somehow. I asked and learned a lot and they have supported my idea and they wanted to help me to get this going asap...

 

I have researched online school at home to be a physician assistant.. but having hard time to find right one that would let me to take the course at home.. I havent got any degree yet but havin the strong goal to receive..

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I have had a lot of experience with PA's and considered being one for a short while. If you really want to do this you should understand that it is often times just as difficult if not more difficult to get into PA school than medical school. There is a surge of students who do not want to jump through all the hoops that are required for medical school and see PA school as an easier alternative. This is sadly not the case. At the school that I was looking at (OU) the requirements were essentially the same, and there were less PA spots. Also, as stated above, they really want you to have a ton of experience in the medical field. Also, PA's have limited abilities as practitioners. I would suggest that you look at becoming a nurse practitioner. It is, in my opinion much easier to become an NP over a PA. They have more autonomy and don't have to report directly to a physician. They can, in Oklahoma, operate their own clinic as I understand it also. To become a NP you need a BS in nursing, which is available at most colleges (many schools have an LPN to BSN in only a year so you can get it in about three years total!) After that, their are a lot of schools that offer distance NP programs (their is a big one in Texas) that you only have to attend a few days a week. I am not completely sure of all of the details and I know that they also like you to have considerable clinical experience, but you can work as a nurse through much of this process rather that living off of student loans...

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