From doctor to physician assistant?

Incredible, and a sad commentary on the state of physician practice today:

I’m a resident physician but would like to be a PA. Does anyone know if my med school would count for PA training? Can I sit for the PA licensing exam?

Physician assistants don’t have to take call, have better hours, and generally encounter less reimbursement headaches than doctors.

Still, I find it hard to believe that someone who has already completed medical school would consider applying to PA school.

Comments are moderated before they are published. Please read the comment policy.

  • Anonymous

    can’t imagine why someone would want to do this although I have seen a couple examples of it. Finish enough of the residency to get a license, then work in an urgent care clinic. I work alongside (or instead of) docs; we both work alone from time to time, both of us can call the hospitalists for admissions and the consultants for consultations, but I get paid about $20 less per hour. So take the extra $20. There are many jobs that do not involve call, etc. Although probably the best advice I can give is to get boarded in some specialty, especially if you are young, because eventually it will be mandatory.

    Old-time PA

  • Anonymous

    Frankly, I think it is a stupid idea for you to go to PA school. No matter what the hassels are with being a physician, no one can take away those credentials. Why be a PA or even an NP when you are already an MD or a DO? makes no sense. While there are headaches with being a physician it is still the best job that one can have. You can always be employed by the hospital (in a clinic setting if you like that way there is no call or an urgent care clinic) and who cares about billing? Your salary comes from the hospital and no matter how “productive” you are you still get a guaranteed salary…and it will be substantially larger then mid level providers.

    I just completed a 4 year residency (Med/Peds) and now am pursuing fellowship training in ID and would do it all over again in a heart beat…without question.

    One proud physician (despite the many hassels that come with that awesome responsibility)

  • Anonymous

    Some PAs in my hospital make more than attendings and work less hours and have way less responsibility. (several senior PAs make over 110K working about 40 hours a week; new attendings start at 105K; new PAs start at 80K for 3 12-hour shifts a week). Sometimes that sounds good to me when I’m at the clinic until 10PM trying to take care of all the administrative stuff I have to do. I would never do it, but it’s occasionally tempting.

  • Anonymous

    A number of specialtist’s PAs in our area make more per hour than the primary care physicians.

    That is having an impact on the growing primary care shortage. The midlevels don’t want to work in primary care either and they can change from primary care to the specialties more easily than docs (especially family docs who can’t specialize).

    I’m not certain it’d be easy for a board certified physician to shake off the liability of being a physician by getting a PA license. It’d be worth trying for a beleaguered family doc: better pay, better hours, less liability and you’d gain the ability to change specialties as the market changes.

  • Anonymous

    PAs are making more per hour than most physicians where I work. better pay, less hassle. specialist PAs in any sub-specialty and specialty for more than three years – base pay, 150K. I believe PAs switch subspecialties

  • Anonymous

    The training and quality of PAs I have seen is incredibly variable, and likely to become more so as the training programs expand to community colleges, etc which brings in an academically more variable group. Give me an RN as an assistant any day.

  • Anonymous

    most p.a. programs are now taught at the graduate level 4 yrs of undergrad pre-med coursework bio, chem, biochem, etc most pa’s also have prior medical experience before entering pa school.
    p.a. programs have over 2000 hrs of clinical training same as what is done by third yr medical students at the same facilities and taught to the same standards. i am a typical p.a. i attended phlebotomy school and worked for 5 yrs before becoming a p.a. attended p.a. school and earned a masters in pa studies with an emphasis in general internal medicine. i have worked as a p.a. with coverage of a small 11 bed unit and caring for patients which came in the door. i value teamwork and consult colleagues as needed.

    I’ve been trained in adv cardiac life support, pediatric emergencies, critical care, general internal medicine, burn care, airway management, and teach pa/md/do students and residents as part of my professional duties.

    there is room at the table for all of us in medicine. physicians can’t do this on their own anymore. there are too many population groups for quality health care providers to address the need.

  • Anonymous

    The term “assistant” is somewhat erroneous. P.A.’s work with physicians and they know their boundaries of knowledge, as with any clinician/physician. The P.A. profession though has them associated with a physician to assist their managment when they reach their boundaries of knowledge. Most P.A.’s worked in medicine before training. I would not have a problem seeing a P.A. who knows their limits or with some experience. The medical profession is about competency and knowing ones limits.

  • Donna A. Williams, MMS, PA-C

    I am a physician assistant who opened a practice a year and a half ago. I need a physician who would take over the practice and keep me on. They will then be my supervising physician. The practice is beautiful and relaxing. It is located in the center of Inverrary (a beautiful golf community with a diverse population) in Lauderhill, (Fort Lauderdale), FL. We are at a prime location.

    The office was opened with the intention of a retired doctor being the medical director/supervisor. An unfortunate event took place and so we now need that position filled.

    Any suggestion as to how I can find a candidate?

    Much thanks.

    Donna W.