Deciding not to be a physician assistant anymore is not easy. So much sweat, tears, and sacrifice went into making this profession a reality just to realize that this may not be the right career choice for you. Before taking action, consider asking yourself these few questions to map out a clear plan about what to do next.
So you don’t want to be a PA-C anymore?
It’s okay. You’re not alone in this thought/feeling as many will experience this at some point of their career, especially as 1st-year PA-Cs, myself included. Some may even realize this while in pa school 🤷🏾♀️ – I met an ER doc who started med school interviews during the clinical year.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
For some, it is a fleeting thought as they find their confidence & provider identity. For others, it’s crystal clear that this isn’t the career for them. That’s fine. Many get into this young or with entirely different expectations. So it’s easy to question it & have 2nd thoughts. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Before you quit being a physician assistant, here are a few questions to ask yourself:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
1. Is it the career or place of employment?
If it’s the latter, then that’s an easy fix. New Job!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
2. Is it timing?
I’ve spoken to many health professionals who have taken time away to focus on their personal lives – A nurse took a 15yr gap, PA who took an 8yr gap, and MD took a few years off to raise children & care for elderly loved ones. They all came back to the right job/opportunity in their own time.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
3. What about the profession or healthcare in general, do you find unbearable?
Maybe it’s the abuse, demands & pressure, maybe your interest is in holistic care 😉 or maybe you’re just feeling under-prepared. There are ways to ease the pressure or incorporate a holistic approach. If the latter, seek trainings, residencies/fellowships, old notes, textbooks & other resources to help boost that confidence. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
4. What do you want to do?
I’ve noticed the medical field is crawling with artists/creatives, multi-talented business & marketing-savvy individuals. Maybe this is a calling to explore other talents 🤷🏾♀️⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
5. How will you do it?
Make a transition plan! Where do you want to be, what’s the plan to get there, and how will bills get paid during that time? Consider per diem or part-time work to keep the lights on & food on the table. Sign up for the newsletter and schedule a financial coaching discovery call to financially position yourself for the career pause/change.
First-year jitters aside, dreaming about being a provider vs. actually feeling the weight of that responsibility are two completely different experiences. It may not quite be what you expected and that’s okay. Don’t pull your hair out about all of the what-ifs, go into a quarter-life crisis, or beat yourself up for not having all of the answers right away. If you are certain that you want to make the shift then remember the following statements:
- You’re never too old to start over.
- You can change your mind about “what you want to be when you grow up” whenever you want, as many times as you want
Give yourself permission to figure it out in your time. Make a plan that works for you and as always, be smart and do you!
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