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MD versus PA versus NP versus CRNA!


Replies to: MD versus PA versus NP versus CRNA!

  • BooajoBooajo Registered User Posts: 819 Member
    Agree with @wis75 on most of what she wrote. Have to comment on what @Magnetron wrote about the roles and responsibilities of APNP (pa and np for non-medical folks).

    I am a rural family medicine doctor. I work with NPs and PAs daily. They are awesome--I love mine--but they don't do what I do. We all see patients in clinic, true. But anything really complicated, they come talk with me about. They are understandably uncomfortable providing care to some of the people I see (too medically complex). They don't take call (I do). They don't admit or round or deliver babies in the hospital (I do). They can't legally sign a lot of paperwork, so I do that. I do earn more money than them, and my training did take longer. No regrets. In some areas of the country, especially in the northeast where family medicine doctors have stopped doing as much inpatient and obstetrical work, there is less distinction between roles I think.

    Your child is a junior. I think nursing vs medicine vs allied health (pt, ot, slp, athletic trainer, social worker etc) vs something else entirely is first decision. EMT experience is an awesome way to start. I'd also keep looking into ways to shadow.
  • twinsmamatwinsmama Registered User Posts: 1,294 Senior Member
    If a person has the brain and personality to be a physician, he or she will not be satisfied in one of the other roles.
  • toledotoledo Registered User Posts: 4,795 Senior Member
    My son is a PA and graduated from one of the direct-admit 5 year programs. He had a 3.5 GPA in high school, but never did well on standardized tests. I think that would have ruled out med school. He was able to shadow in a small town hospital and knew that he loved medicine. A physician talked to him about becoming a PA due to time/money trade-off. We had never even heard of a PA before this conversation after his junior year of high school.

    After his first year of college, his advisor suggested he consider med school, but he declined, saying he wanted to continue in the program. (In the meantime, another local university started a PA to DO bridge program, so he knew that was an option.) He graduated from his 5 year PA program with a 3.9 GPA and opted to spend the next year in Yale's PA surgical residency, where he got to participate in several surgical specialties. He decided on neurosurgery and now assists with surgery, sees patients in the office, makes rounds at the hospital and takes call. He LOVES his job and makes well over $100k, but is still much less than his $700k boss.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,483 Senior Member
    Your HS junior should be able to get EMT certification. Do that.

  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School Registered User Posts: 2,758 Senior Member
    @twinsmama outlines an important point. Physicians (MD & DO) run everything medical in a hospital environment, and they ar the only ones who can perform surgery. Many hospital based NP's get very frustrated with their lack of authority. There are also a lot more career paths (research, administration, teaching, etc. ) than for a PA or NP.
  • MomtofourkidsMomtofourkids Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
    Thanks I will check with his high school and community college for further testing/clarification on fields to pursue and focus on the differences between the nursing and MD field. He has a passion for the research end of it but also the personality where he really wants to interact and help people
    We really appreciate the comments/insights it really helps!
  • MissAliceMissAlice Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    Your S does not need to decide now. My D is a high school senior, and is at this time planning on being a PA. She will study either exercise science or kinesiology, depending on the college she decides on (if she ever decides!!). After that she will apply to PA school. She did not want any direct admit PA programs because while she is fairly sure, she would like to have the option of changing her mind.
    She likes PA rather than MD because, as others have said, the shorter training time, the lower financial investment, and the work/life balance the profession affords. We have a friend who is a PA in a DC emergency room who loves the challenge and excitement even if she is not the ultimate decision maker.
    Our high school has an internship program for seniors, and my D spends half of her day in an orthopedic group. She shadows doctors and the PA. She really enjoys it and it has helped confirm her plan.
  • blossomblossom Registered User Posts: 8,074 Senior Member
    OP- there are lots of different kinds of "research". I have a friend who is an RN who works for a big pharma company recruiting and supporting patients who participate in clinical trials. That's research. Then there's what most people think of-- a PhD in neuroscience or MD doing early stage research on drugs, cellular level stuff. There are clinical psychologists who work with teams of people developing robotic limbs (that's research) and speech therapists working in hospitals with patients recovering from maxilofacial surgery developing better protocols for swallowing and avoiding pneumonia (that's also research).

    So just liking research isn't going to help.... and frankly, I'm not sure that knowing exactly where he wants to land is helpful right now.

    He should take all the bio and chem that his HS offers (and statistics) and do as much math as your curriculum offers. That will build a base which will keep him in good shape regardless of whether he ends up in PT, OT, speech, nursing, med school, or something entirely different but life sciences related.
  • MissAliceMissAlice Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    I second statistics. He will have to take it in college and it is good to have some background in it.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,545 Senior Member
    My H and I just don't want him to spend a few years at college spending a lot of money without having a really good idea of what he should pursue.

    I don't think this should be your big concern. Taking the GenEd/Core and the prereqs for MD, PA, etc would certainly not be a waste of time or money.

    That said, professional school is expensive. My kids accepted large merit scholarships from their undergrad, and it hardly cost us anything. Younger son is graduating from med school in 4 weeks, so those four years have been the pricey ones. ;)
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 12,365 Senior Member
    Post #17 is so correct! Your kid will figure out his path with more years and experiences. College includes many breadth requirements and no learning should be considered a waste. Freshman year will take care of many degree requirements regardless of his final choice. Do not expect him to make up his mind now. Let him learn more about possibilities in college. Who knows- he may discover something totally nonmedical related is of more interest to him. Please do not limit his choices. Encourage him to explore all facets of himself.
  • cbreezecbreeze Registered User Posts: 4,522 Senior Member
    edited April 16
    In my DIL's pediatric group practice in Manhattan, the NP takes calls, but she has many years of experience.
    OP, your son will probably change his mind on his career many times before he graduates high school, let alone college. Just make sure he completes all the required classes and gets high scores.

    H is an MD, but none of our two kids were interested. They are earning much more than H with less years of education.
  • WISdad23WISdad23 Registered User Posts: 806 Member
    @cbreeze there is call and there is call. I doubt she is admitting patients to hospital while on call, but probably covering for an outpatient practice. If NP's could do call, they would do all of it!
  • kaupilimakoakaupilimakoa Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    @WISdad23 I am a certified nurse-midwife in DC and practice independently. I have admitting privileges. Many of our patients do not see an MD their entire pregnancy. Laws vary from state to state and even from mid level to mid level provider. Many ortho PA have hospital privileges for example.
  • cbreezecbreeze Registered User Posts: 4,522 Senior Member
    edited April 16
    @WISdad23, yes the NP takes outpatient calls as do the pediatricians in the group. Hardly any physicians admit patients to hospital anymore. They have hospitalists to do that now.
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