Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Journey

Now you know what a PA is and does, perhaps I'll share my story of why I chose to become one.  Many of you know that I grew up saying I was going to be a doctor, a pediatrician to be more specific.  I loved all this blood and guts and was so fascinated by medicine.  So, what changed my mind? 

Well, in college I was on the pre-med track and majoring in Biology.  I had some slip-ups along the way and my grades were going to have to improve before applying to med school, specifically in Organic Chemistry and one biology course.  I had also met a boy on whom I could blame those slipping grades.  That boy and I started to become more serious and I started to wonder if I was willing to put our relationship through the rigors and stresses of medical school.  I also started to wonder if I personally was willing to spend 4 more years in school, plus at least 3 years in a residency.  

The summer after my sophomore year I had the opportunity to work at a local Emergency Room at the side of a physician, learning what it was really like to see and treat patients.  I cannot exaggerate the importance of this job in regards to my future.  While there, I learned I really did love medicine as much as I had thought, but I still wasn't sure I was willing to put my life on hold for 8 more years. I also had an inside look of the lifestyle of a physician and wasn't sure I was willing to have that same schedule and stress.  Having a family was really important to me and with the boy and I getting more serious it was more important than ever.

I had the opportunity to work with ER physicians, nurses, techs, and secretaries as well as medical and PA students.  I spoke with the PA students about what it was they did, what PA school was like, etc.  It got me thinking about this as a really good idea.  I did my research, talked with that boy and made a decision, I was going to pursue it.   After that decision, my grades improved dramatically, I graduated just 3/100ths of a point off from honors status and got accepted to one of the best rated PA programs in the nation.  

It was the perfect solution for me - I could have my cake and eat it too.  I would be able to practice medicine, treat patients, and have a family without waiting or compromising on anything.  I made a decision and never looked back.  

That boy is now my wonderful husband and is so supportive of me and my career.  After 2 years of the most intense, stressful and jam-packed PA program I could've imagined, I still believe it is the perfect profession for me.  And while I don't like to say never, I don't see me going back to become a physician, the appeal just isn't there.  So when patients, family, or friends ask if I'm going to become a doctor, I politely smile, and tell them no, I'm happy where I am.  

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