“Why did you decide to go to physician assistant school rather than medical school?”
This seems to be one of the most commonly asked questions I get from friends, family, and future healthcare professionals. There isn’t one specific reason why I chose the PA path, but rather a myriad of reasons that drew me to the profession. Let’s quickly talk about my journey to understand my reasons for choosing to become a PA over other healthcare professions.
I originally wanted to be a nurse because my mother went to nursing school. After my first semester of nursing prerequisites, I randomly discovered what a PA is and began to do research on this new profession. Naturally, I became an expert overnight (that’s how it works, right?). I became obsessed with this profession and started to do whatever it takes to work toward my goal. Two years later, I switched from wanting to attend medical school and became a typical gunner.
In December of 2017, I developed multiple DVT’s and a very significant bilateral pulmonary embolism. I was hospitalized for 8 days, 4 hours away from home and 1 clot away from death. That was the longest and scariest week of my life, but it forced me to think about life and what I truly wanted the most. The only thing I could think of was…I just wanted to be happy. I began to analyze every goal and aspiration I ever had. This lead me to switch from medical school to PA school, which was one of the toughest choices I’ve ever made. The moment I committed to becoming a PA, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.
I believe that my personality is what draws me to the PA profession. I have the ability to choose the life that I want to live more effectively than I could as a physician and still practice medicine. I am in school for significantly less time, no residency, lateral mobility between specialties, come out with less debt, and will still be able to make a great living. The downfall is not having the prestige of being called “doctor” or enjoy a ‘doctor’s salary,’ but neither of these is the reason I am drawn to medicine in the first place. Every individual will have a different reason for choosing their path, but I want to live a life that I can be proud of sooner rather than later.