Real Versus Ideal? The Truth About Being a PA

Real Versus Ideal? The Truth About Being a PA

Get Started Today Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com 20 Minutes Free Consultation     How much of your vision of being a PA matches reality? By Alyson Rockhold PA-C, MPH When I was a PA school student imagining my future career, there was a lot that I got wrong. I had no idea about insurance battles or the mountain of paperwork I would be facing. On the other hand, I also never imagined that I would have patients tell me that I had changed their lives or bring me homemade cupcakes to thank me.  It’s so hard to separate the real from the ideal as you peer into the future. So, I decided to interview one recent PA graduate and one current PA to get a wider perspective on the PA career. And, to make it even more fun, they just so happen to be related to each other! Dani Cross just completed PA school at Midwestern University. Right now she is dreaming about and applying for her first PA job. Her sister-in-law’s sister-in-law (yes, you read that correctly) is Amanda Chibaka, a PA at a children’s hospital in Colorado. I had the pleasure of speaking with both of these women about their real and idealized versions of a PA career: 1. What is (or will be) the best part of working as a PA? Dani Cross (recent PA graduate): “I went into healthcare because I wanted to help people, and I think the biggest reward is going to be making a difference.” Amanda Chibaka (current PA): “There are so many great parts of my job! I love my colleagues...
The Difference Between PAs and Physicians

The Difference Between PAs and Physicians

Get Started Today Call: 888-839-9997 e-mail: info@admissionshelpers.com 20 Minutes Free Consultation   What distinguishes PAs from the medical doctors they work with?  By Alyson Rockhold PA-C, MPH “So, when will you become a doctor?”  The first time a patient asked me this, I sputtered in confusion. I was so proud of my newly minted PA license. How dare he insinuate it was merely a stop-over on the way to bigger and better things!   Then I paused and looked at the patient, an elderly gentleman wearing overalls. He had probably never heard of a PA. His comment wasn’t meant disrespectfully. I forced a smile, mumbled “Not sure,” and completed his visit.  After a decade as a PA, I’m more likely to face the opposite problem. Many patients call me “Dr. Alyson” even after I repeatedly explain that I’m a PA.  Here’s what I wish I could share with anyone confused about the difference between a PA and a doctor: Doctors and PAs are both qualified medical professionals who examine, diagnose, and treat patients. In their day-to-day work, there is a lot of overlap in their tasks. However, PAs and doctors differ in their length of education, level of autonomy, scope of practice, and the financial costs and rewards of their profession. Length of education Both PAs and doctors start with a 4-year undergraduate degree. Then most PAs will attend a 27-month PA program, bringing their grand total of higher education to about 6 years. After college, doctors will go to medical school for 4 years followed by 3 to 7 years of residency and possibly a fellowship. So, it will...