What's So Hot About Being a Physician's Assistant?

It looks like the "cache" thing to do when you're a nurse is to work your butt off to become a Physician's Assistant, but what are the reasons you'd want to do all of that extra work for a fancy new title?

Isn't being a nurse enough? Let's find out.

If you're hungry to get "in the trenches" more then perhaps moving into work as a Physician's Assistant would be a good step. You get to do a lot of work with patients that some other medical professionals (besides Doctors) don't get to do, but what if you want more?

Remember, there is extra training involved in becoming a Physician's Assistant because you work so closely with a Doctor and do so much of what they do, but what if you want to be a Doctor yourself? Is it worth it to go to school to become a Physician's Assistant and then turn right around and go back to Med School?

If you like new challenges and don't mind moving around a lot then that's probably a good option for you. You could work as a Physician's Assistant and go to school. Once you graduate Med School you could get an internship (possibly where you're already working) but you'd be doing a completely different job. THEN, you might have to move somewhere else to get a fellowship or do your residency. It would certainly help to know the people where you're working (because you were already working there)!

If you're looking to become a Doctor but you don't want to take an "indirect" route then you may not want to get ensconced in a job as a Physician's Assistant because it may be hard to get out of while you're trying to go to school.

Sometimes we get wrapped up in the romanticized fantasy world of television where Hospital personnel just "decide" one day that they want to be Doctors. (Much like in Soap Operas is happens overnight.) While you may be able to get through Med School quickly it's still tough to juggle your life, work and school.

If you feel as though being a Doctor might be a little too much then staying at the level of a Physician's Assistant is smart. You do, as I said, get to do a lot of work with patients (and not always with the Doctor standing over your shoulder). You get to increase your responsibilities at work and work with many different people in many different fields, and you can learn almost as much as a Doctor without going to Med School.

In the end, if you want to improve your "career path" then being a PA is a good move because you'll do a lot of what Doctors do, get paid a little more than a nurse, and have the chance to get "inroads" into being a Doctor (if that's what you want) or becoming an administrator (because "Chief Nurses" tend to be Physician's Assistants.) It's the perfect opportunity to make a nice career for yourself OR take one more step towards becoming a full-fledged M.D.

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Medical Careers Mentioned

  • Physician Assistants
    Salary: $81,230
    Job Prospects: B
    Education After HS: 5 years
    # Employed: 71,950
    Part Time: 14%
  • Registered Nurses
    Salary: $62,450
    Job Prospects: A+
    Education After HS: 2 years
    # Employed: 2,542,760
    Part Time: 21%

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