Tell my wife about being a Physician's Assistant

My wife has gone back to school, with the ultimate goal of becoming a Physician’s Assistant.

I don’t know how many PAs there could be on a board this size, but she is interested in knowing the following:

  • What was your motivation for becoming a PA?
  • What specialty do you practice?
  • What specialty would you recommend?

The question I want to know is what are the CONS of being a PA? The stuff they don’t tout on the websites and program brochures. Lots of job burnout? Glorified nurse (who don’t get nearly the amount of glory they deserve)?

Thanking you all in advance.

I can’t talk about being a PA, but I’ve worked closely with PAs for over 18 years, and I supervise them, and provide backup for them.

Pluses would be the opportunity to diagnose and to treat a wide range of illnesses, provide patient education, work with entire families, and be able to defer the more complex cases to the supervising physician when one gets out of one’s depth.

Minuses would be getting supervised by some real idiot physicians. Also patients who won’t see the PA, but demand to see “the doctor” for everything! I’ve had PAs tell me they wished they’d gone to medical school instead, as they discovered their own skills and abilities, and found that they really could thrive on that higher level. I’ve also known a couple of PAs who went on to medical school.

But I’ve had more PAs tell me they were more than happy with the duties, opportunities, and constraints that a PA license and certification afforded them.

I’ve known PAs that I’ve sent my family members to, PAs whom I consider better medical professionals than some of the MDs and DOs I’ve worked with.

Hope that helps.

Go to “” It’s mainly for medical students but the forums also have topics regarding being a physician assistant.

I am afraid to say that would be me. I guess I am old fashioned but I tell my boss I am taking the afternoon for a doctor’s appointment, not a PA appointment. I figure whenever I get the PA, I am entitled to a discount or a coupon for a free milkshake

I think they should. I am sure it pays better than PA work. Maybe the ones I get can learn some personality as well.

Really? I’ve got no problem at all seeing a PA. For an ear infection, rash, or whatever other minor weirdnesses take me in other than my once-a-year checkup, all I need is a trained professional to say “yup, minor weirdness.” I don’t really care what that training consisted of. And even on the big annual trip, I don’t mind the PA doing the weight/blood pressure/preliminary checklist, though I like seeing my doctor, so we can discuss big-picture stuff, like why I should get this test or that now that I’m 50, etc.

My wife thanks you for the responses, especially the link.