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* Should I go for PA program?
  tollashimeles - 12/22/14 13:37
  I am posting this message for those of you who are old IMGs, Fresh medical school graduates with low USMLE scores and who are not lucky to match/enter residency program. I am an old IMG, took my step I & II, but the results were not encouraging and I even couldn't wait to retake the steps. This is 7 years ago. I searched the PA programs and also compared Nursing and Nurse practitioner programs. All are competitive, especially, if your basic sciences are very old, the program recommends you should retake those courses. But if your basic science stuffs are in the last 5-10 years, you are ok. Mind you, this requirement varies from program to program. Mine was more than ten years, so I should have to retake all basic science courses, and it took me 4 years. Again, this depends on your work hours and how many courses you would register for/SEMESTER. Again, this is for the pre-requisites only to go to Nursing/NP/PA, etc. Make sure your basic science courses would match with what most PA program need as pre-requisites. After 4 years, I applied to one of the PA programs, which is in different state from where I live. My state has only one PA program, which is also far from where I live.

PA program is very competitive, almost, I can say more than 90% require GRE exam., competitive pre-requisites, almost all require BSc in USA, competitive grades. Very few give you options, either GRE/ MCAT exam. my GRE grade was low. The PA program also needs you shadowing of another PA most of them, but some of them also accept if you shadow Doctors, as part of clinical experience and three people recommendation letters, one must be a physician Assistant/Dr. whom you shadowed. The shadow hours requirement varies from program to program, but most need 100 hours as cut point. When you are accepted, the progrm sends you an interview invitation letter and again, depending on how active and well prepared you are, the program has different ways of interviews. Individualized/group interview. Some programs still ask you to write an essay on certain topic, which is health related, and yet others test you on basic sciences labelling anatomy structures, computer skills, etc during an interview date.

Yeah, don't ask me about the debt, project that would be more than 100k, but still the expenses, tuition, fees, etc depends on the program. Whether the program is a private/public. After you put your feet in to the program, then everything is fine. The course is almost the same as that we learnt at medical school, except we don't have histology, biochemistry, pharmacology, microbiology, and pathology labs. The first and second semster of didactic year starts with basic sciences, depending on the program, anatomy, physiology, pathology, clinical research (=just introduction to evidence based medicine), introduction to PA program, etc. Third semester more of HPI and PE, pharmacology, clinical medicine stuffs, OBGY, psychiatry, surgery, preventive, pediatrics, geriatrics, etc.

Having back ground medical experience, one can smoothly pass without difficulty.However, still needs reading and studying hard, for there are many paper work stuffs that consumes your time. Other than that the program is same to medical school courses though it is not as deep as that of medical school. For e.g. in pharmacology, they don't go deep to the mechanism of action of the drug, more interested in the indications and adverse/side effects of the drugs. during second and third semster of first didactic year, you would be exposed to cases, with Standardized Patients for each clinical cases. For e.g. when you your lecture is cardiology, then you SP will be about cardiac, etc for each system different SP.

N.B. Programs vary in the way they organize their curriculum, but overall the content of the courses are the same. References: Harrison's principle of internal medicine, Current Dx & Rx, etc. the courses are condensed and are planned to touch everything that medical school offers. For tuition and expenses you will get student loan...Staford. Mine is currently more than 100K. Do I reconsider residency after PA, depends.... that I left to God to decide, but stll I believe I would try once more and that depends on where I would land after graduation and the physicians I work with.
N.B. One important message I would like to share to either old or new IMGs, don't rush to take USMLE steps or step components, unless you know you are very smart/genius enough and 100% sure you would ace the exam. When I first take USMLE exam in 2007, just after I came to USA, I couldn't get enough information as to where to get and what the resources to read for USMLE preparation. But, I only know that the passing score/grade is 75 % and I was confident enough to get that. I don't even know as such getting in to the program is so competitive once I pass the exam. Now, when I think back to my situation, I thought I am the only one who was stupid and fooled on this planet.

With regard to comparing PA vs NP, the training/education of PA is based on Medical Model, where as that of NP is based on Nursing education model, otherwise during the training years, both are more or less the same. After graduation, NP may assume an independent practioner, but still PA can also work independently in most states, except few states. I am sure, in the near future PA would also work independently. Again, it depends whether you are active and smart enough with your hiring physician and once your hiring physician trusts your knowledge and decision making ability, then you are allowed to prescribe independently. PAs are also lucky in working different speciality areas, and depending on your interest and the state where you live, Urban or Inner City, the salary varies. More in Urban and surgery speciality areas and different states.

In general, for those of you who still want to be around medical and clinical stuffs, I think PA/NP is way to go. With regard to NP, I think most programs need you to have your BSC in Nursing and work in ICU, EMERGENCY MEDICINE OR TRAUMA unit as part of clinical experience for Certified Registerd Nurse Anesthetist. Anyway try to google programs, their requirements, state, expense in the states, etc. Finally, I pray for all of you who are really on the cross road and couldn't decide where to go from here
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* Re:Should I go for PA program?
  uusmle2012 - 12/23/14 11:31
  100 percent true. i know a person when he got an interview, he was rejected on the basis of not only USCE but they also asked him to have hands on experience in the fields of either PA or NP.


Hopeless TRIO

Very heart breaking. They are in the process of converting DO diploma into MD program so that they can have more USMG which will further cut down IMGs chances.

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* Re:Should I go for PA program?
  joyce_reed - 06/24/20 06:31
  I completely agree with you. It was interesting to read  
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