Post # 16
I was a RN for about 5 years in the ICU. Loved my job and coworkers but wanted to do something more. After weighing many options I went to PA school and I couldn’t be happier. A PA is trained in the medical model whereas a NP is nursing theory based. I work with good and not so good of both but I will honestly tell you that as a PA I am more respected by my physician colleagues than my NP counterparts are. It is nice to shake that “just a nurse” label that some docs will place. The “practice independently” part is lovely if you want to go into private practice (I work in a hospital) but there is huge benefit to sharing a practice with a doc. They have more education and knowledge and can be great to bounce a difficult case off of. Whereas I am comfortable with a NP or a PA providing my care I would feel even better knowing they has backup if things fell out of their wheelhouse and therefore would never see a single NP in practice. In an outpatient setting a PA will still practice independently- it is not required that you are even in the same place as your supervising physician. As a PA it is easier to get a job in the OR (if that’s what you want to do).
Bottom line is there are pros and cons to all of these careers. I encourage you to shadow people in all aspects of health care and find what is the best fit for you.
Post # 17
PA student, here!!! I can’t comment on how I like my job, obviously, but I LOVE my program. It is pretty intense, as we go through a lot of information very quickly. However, I enjoy every. single. day of it. The PA career is growing and the job is in high demand, so future job outlook is phenomenal.
Any other questions, please feel free to ask!
Post # 18
- Wedding: October 2015 - Ruby Princess
hospital-based nursing is a tough gig. i did L&D for 11 years and then moved into clinical informatics. basically i work in the hospital educating MDs, RNs, PT, OT, SLP, Pharms etc how to work the computer charting system. i always caught onto computerized charting quickly, and i really needed out of the staff nurse role. i got bored, and was starting to have back problems. i do miss it sometimes, but my job now has better hours, better pay, the whole nine. it just is not as emotionally rewarding as delivering babies was. it’s easy to forget the bad parts.
what are the bad parts?: i think pps listed them pretty well. hospitals are driven to operate with the least number of nurses possible. short/dangerous staffing situations happen a lot. nurses have tons of responsibility, high stress, and not much power/clout. doctors can be grumpy and disrespectful. (sometimes not, it’s a surprise!) working nights is a whole different mindfuck. ever lose a whole day? it happens a lot. anyway……
good parts: making an actual difference in someone’s life. this is huge, and is why i stayed in as long as i did. the money is the shit, too. good money in nursing, even in an entry-level role. another reason i was wary to change to something else. i took a lower-paying deal for a while while i was learning informatics supporting an emr build and really just learning the ropes. then i became an educator and that led me to where I am now. pretty darn happy. i have to deal with some boredom, and still the grumpy doctor or nurse now and then. all in all, it’s a good gig, and i get to have a regular daytime 9-5 life. and weekends!!!! oh the weekends!!! and holidays. omg love having all the holidays off.
Post # 19
HelloBlondie: said it pretty well. I just thought I would give another PA perspective. In my former career, I wasn’t a nurse but a respiratory therapist. Ended up going back to school due to knowing in probably 5-10 years I would’ve started feeling burnt out and frankly bored. So I went to PA school. Hardest 27 months of my school life, but very glad I did it. NPs and PAs are definitely trained differently. So, up to you how you want to learn medicine. I currently work as a primary care PA, which I love. I have a lot of autonomy and independence where I work now. I have my own panel of patients I see, see all ages , and see a widevariety of medical issues from physicals to managing someone with multiple issues.
If you have any questions feel free to ask!
Post # 20
nixietink: I’m applying to PA school in 2015 I heard the PA schools are harder to get into (NJ/NY/PA) than the medical schools! They definitely have a lot more prereqs but I’m excited.
OP, I would shadow both NP and PA. My primary care is a NP in a large practice. She’s great and I wouldn’t trade her for anything but I know some people don’t take them seriously. Find what’s best for you.
Post # 21
Not personal experience but thought I would chime in:
One of my besties is a PA outside of Baltimore – she works 30 hours a week at her hospital emergency room, and had so much free time, she ended up taking a part time job somewhere else! She loves it and makes over 100k at her primary job and closer to 150 all together. To me, she is the perfect example of how hard work pays off. She is gorgeous, just bought a stunning new home by herself, drives a BMW, dates hotties.
She also has the BEST stories for girls night! I love hearing her gross tales.
Post # 22
I’m an RN going into a FNP program in May. PAs in the MA/NH area get paid similar to NPs. There is a huge push for both. I debated between the two but chose FNP because I want to be a practitioner with stable hours. In pain management, both practitioners work the same in the office but NPs have more autonomy (this will likely change in the future). PAs have an advantage in MA though as they are allowed to take imaging for injections with radiology certification from the state, where FNPs cannot. PA’s in the hospital setting are more hands on in procedures, where FNPs are more for managing overall patient care.
Post # 23
RN here too. I am an Operating Room RN. I can’t imagine doing anything else! I think when most people picture nursing they see the burnt out, miserable nurses that work on hospital floors and that is it. There is so much more you can do with a nursing degree. I also have a Bachelors in Biology and decided to go back to school for nursing. I went into a BSN program and was able to finish in 2 years because I had all the other classes covered with my Bio degree….so I only had to take the nursing courses which took about 2 years. I love working in the OR because you only have one patient to care for at a time, which is unlike the floors when you sometimes can have up to 10 patients at a time. You can dedicate all your time and energy towards that one patient. Sure the OR can get stressful at times, but most of the time it is not. I think once you start going through your clinicals at school, you will find what your true passion is. Good luck!
Post # 24
another RN here! I work OB-Labor and Delivery and LOVE IT!! just wanting to add of course hospitals are busy and there are lots of people that get burnt out. This has definately happened to me numerous times. But what gets me up every morning are the people I work with and the fact that I LOVE taking care of moms and babies. The political stuff, staffing etc that others have mentioned can bring you down. But in the end I feel like I’ve made a difference. The hours of course are not always that greatest but I’ve been at this hospital now for 3 years and have somehow made it to almost the top of the senority list. so I mainly work days and mainly 12hr shifts. which for some may not be ideal but means I only work 3 days a week. I love having days off during the week I can make appointments/run errands etc. I will say working holidays isn’t always fun but we take turns so atleast I know I don’t always have to work every christmas. once you start clinicals you’ll find your niche, and if not thats what great about nursing…always other areas to try and chances to advance. good luck!
Post # 25
I’m a CRNA. I didn’t much care for working as a staff RN (ICU). I do love what I’m doing now. You still get to care for people, but you also get to work with a lot of independence. It takes a lot of time to go this route, but I think it was worth it. Most of the PAs I work with (in surgery) wish they had become CRNAs.
*Just editing this because it looks like a put down on PAs. That’s not what I was getting at. At my particular place of employment, the PAs have a heavy workload and get dumped on a lot by the docs. They say it’s like being a resident since the docs expect them to handle everything… only it’s permanent instead of only being a temporary part of training as it is with residents. On the other hand, my job is pretty cushy in comparison. Pays better too
Post # 26
Thanks so much everybody! Do you PAs that have commented/are in school. How did you get your experience hours to get into school? This is the only thing that is holding me back. I have 3 pre-req classes I would have to take, no big deal, but as a teacher I just don’t find it feasible to leave that full time job to be a CNA or something for experience hours. Any advice on this??
Post # 27
adomke: Neonatal RN here! I started there as a new grad, and I have now been caring for these sweet premature babies for 22 years. I can’t imagine doing anything else. The burnout never happened for me. I still get emotional for the families whose little ones don’t make it, and celebrate the victories when those that we (as medical “authorities”) just knew were never going to make it (or never make it intact, i.e., can see, hear, and function) surprise us and go home to thrive!
Post # 28
uncltredpearl: How exciting! I’m in California, and it’s more difficult to get into than med school out here as well. I believe the acceptance rate for my program was 2%. Don’t let that scare you, though! With the dedication, anybody can do it. 🙂
i second your recommendation on shadowing the two careers to see what’s right. I shadowed both NPs and PAs.
adomke: I was a physical therapy aide (part time) for a few years. But I also volunteered at a community free clinic as a medical assistant. It was an invaluable experience. However, some programs do require paid experience.
Post # 29
adomke: I’m a part time PT Aide for experience (~30-35 hrs per week); Some programs only require 200 hrs, others 500 or 1,000. With a full time job, I’m not sure how you could do it since most therapy is 9-5, M-F but if you find a hospital inpatient rehab they usually have weekend hours.
Post # 30
- Wedding: May 2015 - backyard wedding!!
Im a nurse- I do high risk OB case managment. It’s great. work from home..I did L&D for 12 years before which I loved but got kind of burnt out on it.. CM is nice, and pretty easy once you get the hang of it.. its been 5 years now of it! Great thing of nursing is there is always a job! I’ve been a nurse for 20 years! LPN for 2 and RN for 18!