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TakiTaki

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I've been a PA for the past 3 years working in an urban city in Canada in paediatric surgery (2 days/week) and internal medicine (3 days/week). I have a good stable job with pension, benefits, etc, making 6 figures while working 5 days a week, usually 40 hours/week (1 weekend call/month) and 3.5 weeks vacation. Also, I have no spouse/kids. However, I feel like I could be making much more by being an MD. Based on my conversations with MDs that I work with and reading all these forum topics about IM doctors being paid 200-250K, FM docs being paid 200k+ with great pensions in hospital settings, I feel like I can be making much more. However, I'm not sure whether its worth going back to school for an MD. I'm in my late 20s, have a Masters degree, no issues with grades (~3.99 GPA), and have tons of ECs. I think I could be a good competitive applicant with my experience as a PA, especially when targeting UOttawa and McGill. 

At the same time, I sit here contemplating the opportunity cost of attending medical school. Spending ~150K to go to medical school plus the stress of residency, even though I'd only go for IM or FM. Plus I'd lose my income which at 7 years of schooling could add up to close to a million dollars. At times, I feel its worth it since I'd make that back quicker, have the "Dr." title and make more money at the end of the day while having more autonomy with my patients. Also, I could have my own clinic (small business) which is what I've always wanted. On the other hand, my parents keep telling me that I could be ahead both mentally and financially if I keep my current job and invest my money in a business locally. I keep going back and forth and I don't know what to do. I like my job as a PA but I feel like I could do so much more as an MD and be compensated more. What do others think about this situation and what would you do if you were in my situation right now?

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I think your parents are very right, lol 

You're already doing great financially and med school would suck out a lot of your time, money, and life especially when you're contemplating it only for the salary and prestige of being called "Dr." (not intended as a negative comment; but simply not worth imo to spend so much on tuition and another 6 years unless you have some sort of internal motivation)

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Agreed. Have a good job with pension and amazing hours, you're lucky. I have definitely missed my old life but things have changed and can't get back to it. Unless all the sacrifice is something you're willing to do, and completely changing your life. 

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Think long and hard about why you’d want to go to med school. 

Your income may not be equivalent now to an MD, but it sounds more than adequate—plus you have benefits and a pension and NORMAL work hours and minimal call. You have clinical exposure without having the full responsibility and liability as most responsible practitioner at the end of it all. 

Frankly, many MDs are seeking out ways to achieve your lifestyle because of burnout, health problems, other life commitments. 

Not sure what you are looking for to “do more” if you were a doctor—you are doing a LOT as a PA—and owning a “small business” of a clinic is no small task—and itself comes with a lot of grief of the balancing of overhead versus income generated. 

Your parents have some good instinct on this one...again, think twice...maybe apply and see if you want to go through this rigamarole...acceptance isn’t guaranteed on first try...and take it from there. 

 

Good luck!

LL

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13 hours ago, TakiTaki said:

I've been a PA for the past 3 years working in an urban city in Canada in paediatric surgery (2 days/week) and internal medicine (3 days/week). I have a good stable job with pension, benefits, etc, making 6 figures while working 5 days a week, usually 40 hours/week (1 weekend call/month) and 3.5 weeks vacation. Also, I have no spouse/kids. However, I feel like I could be making much more by being an MD. Based on my conversations with MDs that I work with and reading all these forum topics about IM doctors being paid 200-250K, FM docs being paid 200k+ with great pensions in hospital settings, I feel like I can be making much more. However, I'm not sure whether its worth going back to school for an MD. I'm in my late 20s, have a Masters degree, no issues with grades (~3.99 GPA), and have tons of ECs. I think I could be a good competitive applicant with my experience as a PA, especially when targeting UOttawa and McGill. 

At the same time, I sit here contemplating the opportunity cost of attending medical school. Spending ~150K to go to medical school plus the stress of residency, even though I'd only go for IM or FM. Plus I'd lose my income which at 7 years of schooling could add up to close to a million dollars. At times, I feel its worth it since I'd make that back quicker, have the "Dr." title and make more money at the end of the day while having more autonomy with my patients. Also, I could have my own clinic (small business) which is what I've always wanted. On the other hand, my parents keep telling me that I could be ahead both mentally and financially if I keep my current job and invest my money in a business locally. I keep going back and forth and I don't know what to do. I like my job as a PA but I feel like I could do so much more as an MD and be compensated more. What do others think about this situation and what would you do if you were in my situation right now?

I work in an inpatient setting and none of the PAs at the hospital where I work want to go to medical school seeing how hard the residents work (2-3x the hours they do for half the pay).

If you want to work similar hours to what you do now as an attending, you will probably never recuperate the financial opportunity cost of going to medical school and residency training if you become a family doctor (debt + lost earnings + lost of passive income investment + interest on debt). Even with working similar hours, the stress will be worse than what you do now. Sure, there will be methods to make bank as a family doctor that you probably can't do right now (e.g. flying up north and working like a dog in an isolated frozen wasteland for several weeks/months), but there's a reason that pays well and yet no one does it. If you do IM that opens more doors financially but the residency hours, stress, and lost income will be worse, much worse.

Some people grow bitter in your position because they resent not being "the doctor". If you're one of those people then sure go give it a try since you don't have any hard commitments. I think you'd be better off financially (at least for the next 15 years) and well ahead in your personal life/happiness if you stick with what you're doing.

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10 hours ago, TakiTaki said:

I've been a PA for the past 3 years working in an urban city in Canada in paediatric surgery (2 days/week) and internal medicine (3 days/week). I have a good stable job with pension, benefits, etc, making 6 figures while working 5 days a week, usually 40 hours/week (1 weekend call/month) and 3.5 weeks vacation. Also, I have no spouse/kids. However, I feel like I could be making much more by being an MD. Based on my conversations with MDs that I work with and reading all these forum topics about IM doctors being paid 200-250K, FM docs being paid 200k+ with great pensions in hospital settings, I feel like I can be making much more. However, I'm not sure whether its worth going back to school for an MD. I'm in my late 20s, have a Masters degree, no issues with grades (~3.99 GPA), and have tons of ECs. I think I could be a good competitive applicant with my experience as a PA, especially when targeting UOttawa and McGill. 

At the same time, I sit here contemplating the opportunity cost of attending medical school. Spending ~150K to go to medical school plus the stress of residency, even though I'd only go for IM or FM. Plus I'd lose my income which at 7 years of schooling could add up to close to a million dollars. At times, I feel its worth it since I'd make that back quicker, have the "Dr." title and make more money at the end of the day while having more autonomy with my patients. Also, I could have my own clinic (small business) which is what I've always wanted. On the other hand, my parents keep telling me that I could be ahead both mentally and financially if I keep my current job and invest my money in a business locally. I keep going back and forth and I don't know what to do. I like my job as a PA but I feel like I could do so much more as an MD and be compensated more. What do others think about this situation and what would you do if you were in my situation right now?

IM Residency is not easy.

You already make 6 figures with 40hrs/week, with much less responsibility and scut work...and benefits. You are doing better than many doctors when you factor in hours and opportunity cost.  Most doctors do not have benefits lol, not even many who work in the hospital. Most FM docs who work in a hospital setting are defintiely not getting pensions LOL.

As well, its a minimum of 6-7 years of schooling for FM(in case you need to do MCAT prep, extra coures), and then an extra 3 years if you do IM. 

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8 hours ago, JohnGrisham said:

You are doing better than many doctors when you factor in hours and opportunity cost.  Most doctors do not have benefits

+1. The common tendency is to just look at the salary number... without factoring in hours worked, and pensions which can be substantial. I wouldn't be surprised if you were already doing better on a per hour basis.

OP, you mentioned stress of residency, but not the stress of working as a staff physician. Often that is hard to appreciate from the outside; but imagine that with increased autonomy comes the increased responsibility and stress for being the person ultimately responsible for your patients' care, overseeing the work of residents and PAs, taking work home on a regular basis... How do you think you would deal with that?

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2 hours ago, YesIcan55 said:

OP is earning a very very good income and working in a good healthcare career but wants to go into medicine to make more money and to be called doctor....sad....at least lie and say you want something like a bigger scope of practice/roles etc

How is that sad? Is OP not allowed to want those things? Just because they didn't write a long paragraph about their calling/empathy does not mean they don't have these things - they're already a PA. 

Genuine question. Why is it that every time I see you posting anywhere, you never have anything constructive to say? It's always labeling, finger-pointing, and "sad"? That's a lot of bitterness and hatred (under some other topics).

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Lol a bit derailment but I wasn't referring to politics alone. Literally any time any premed asks anything in any post I would see you saying things like there's no point, why bother applying, your stats suck, waste of time, "is op a troll lmao" and the negativity just kind of stood out without needing any stalking 

it's a free forum you're free to say what you want I guess. This is going to be my last reply on this matter bc op did not ask for this. Get your last reply in because you clearly need it. 

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45 minutes ago, YesIcan55 said:

I don't try and discourage people and I have never said "anyone's stats suck"...go find anyone of my posts ever. I think its awesome that many people here will encourage people who have any sort of stats to go for this....I am simply saving some people from getting their hopes up....I have been in this process for far too long, and have seen many good people turned away several times. I have seen people who I think would be fantastic MDs get their dreams destroyed...so I provide the other perspective...of what are your true motivations/do you really want this for the right reasons/are you willing to face disappointment multiple times which is a reality etc. I'm glad you won't be replying anymore...no one needed your comment to derail the thread...

I agree, perpetual positivity about this career is not good and sets expectations that will not be met, and they won’t, and disappoint. There is a reason cynicism has been recorded to rise time and time again during medical achool, depression/suicide rates go up, and burnout are fairly common. People need to be aware of the positive AND negative things. Very important to consider when one has a good career and life that can completely change once they go into medicine, I know. 

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4 hours ago, YesIcan55 said:

I don't try and discourage people and I have never said "anyone's stats suck"...go find anyone of my posts ever. I think its awesome that many people here will encourage people who have any sort of stats to go for this....I am simply saving some people from getting their hopes up....I have been in this process for far too long, and have seen many good people turned away several times. I have seen people who I think would be fantastic MDs get their dreams destroyed...so I provide the other perspective...of what are your true motivations/do you really want this for the right reasons/are you willing to face disappointment multiple times which is a reality etc. I'm glad you won't be replying anymore...no one needed your comment to derail the thread...

I don't think the issue is that you were giving them a "dose of reality". Its how you did it. All the other posters told OP about the difficulties and hardships of pursuing this career, telling them to seriously think about this decision before committing as it seems they're in a good position as is. They provided constructive, true and helpful advice and didn't sugar coat anything. You just said OPs reasons are "sad" and that he should have "at least lied" instead. How does that help?

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If you're considering medicine for the "Dr." title and more money, I'd advise against it.
These things won't give you more job satisfaction.
Overhead and insurance premiums take a big chunk of that 250k average fam doc income.
Plus you'll be working longer hours and may even have to be on call depending on where you practice.
Not to mention at least 5 years before you can become an independent practicing doc.
And you may take several years just to apply to get into med school.  The opportunity cost is huge.
That's a lot of time that could be put towards something else that can make you happy.

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1 hour ago, Butterfly_ said:

If you're considering medicine for the "Dr." title and more money, I'd advise against it.
These things won't give you more job satisfaction.
Overhead and insurance premiums take a big chunk of that 250k average fam doc income.
Plus you'll be working longer hours and may even have to be on call depending on where you practice.
Not to mention at least 5 years before you can become an independent practicing doc.
And you may take several years just to apply to get into med school.  The opportunity cost is huge.
That's a lot of time that could be put towards something else that can make you happy.

Just a random question but occasionally I search for job postings in my field and see job opportunities for GPs with salaries ranging from 200-275K. It lists full-time work at 40 hours/week but no mention of call or benefits. These are either in hospitals or urgent care centres in Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Toronto. These jobs seem really good but I'm not sure if there are things that I'm not taking into account? For example, if GPs are employed in hospitals, they don't necessarily get benefit packages, vacations or insurance plan subsidies? Does that come out of there salary separately? From my perspective, I'd think GPs and medical doctors are making really good money based on the job postings I've seen but can someone clarify if I'm missing something here?

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So, it seems to me like you have achieved the stable job, and are now looking to infuse your life with some more meaning, such as through a greater scope of practice, the potential to own a business, and the prestige of having an MD (no shame in it--anyone on this board who denies being attracted to the prestige of an MD is a psychopath--human beings enjoy being the envy of others, for instance jewelry has existed for a bazillion years). 

If i were to weigh the pros and cons, I would say that you need to pursue this calling towards bringing more meaning to your life. You are not satisfied with what you have now, so you should do something about that. Whether the MD is the correct way to do this is another question entirely. My answer would be: Probably not. Seems like becoming an MD is an enormous sacrifice at the best of times, and one that seems like it is only going to bring you marginal returns. Let me frame it another way: "Would you be willing to go to school, loose a million dollars, and take on an extremely stressful lifestyle, all to end up in the same medical office but now be able to write out prescriptions?" Seems like a bad deal to me. 

Also, from what you have posted, it seems like the intrinsic enjoyment of learning about medicine is not one of your primary factors in decision making. Also fine, but if true, maybe something to be concerned about as it probably should be one of your primary factors. And if it is, then you could maybe justify going back to school based on that argumentation. 

Here is my final two-cents: I think you should say "fuck no" to becoming an MD, and instead start your own small business. Honestly it is an incredible way to bring a lot of meaning and purpose in your life, and will probably be a ton of fun. 

 

Best of luck. 

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1 hour ago, Compton said:

Just a random question but occasionally I search for job postings in my field and see job opportunities for GPs with salaries ranging from 200-275K. It lists full-time work at 40 hours/week but no mention of call or benefits. These are either in hospitals or urgent care centres in Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Toronto. These jobs seem really good but I'm not sure if there are things that I'm not taking into account? For example, if GPs are employed in hospitals, they don't necessarily get benefit packages, vacations or insurance plan subsidies? Does that come out of there salary separately? From my perspective, I'd think GPs and medical doctors are making really good money based on the job postings I've seen but can someone clarify if I'm missing something here?

Unlikely its a true salary but an estimate, since most are still fee for service. Don't believe the numbers off the shelf. Unlikely unless in a truly rural area to have a true-salaried job for a GP at 275k at only 40hrs. 

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2 hours ago, Compton said:

Just a random question but occasionally I search for job postings in my field and see job opportunities for GPs with salaries ranging from 200-275K. It lists full-time work at 40 hours/week but no mention of call or benefits. 

It could be that the default value for full-time work on a non-medical specific job posting website is 40 hours/week. What type of salaried, 40 hr/week position would be available to a GP in a hospital or urgent care centre? Unless it's administrative, nothing clinical comes to mind readily.

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12 hours ago, YesIcan55 said:

I don't try and discourage people and I have never said "anyone's stats suck"...go find anyone of my posts ever. I think its awesome that many people here will encourage people who have any sort of stats to go for this....I am simply saving some people from getting their hopes up....I have been in this process for far too long, and have seen many good people turned away several times. I have seen people who I think would be fantastic MDs get their dreams destroyed...so I provide the other perspective...of what are your true motivations/do you really want this for the right reasons/are you willing to face disappointment multiple times which is a reality etc. I'm glad you won't be replying anymore...no one needed your comment to derail the thread...

For what it’s worth I appreciate your no BS approach and calling people out for their clear stupidity and ignorance. OP is the last person who should go to medical school.  Viewing getting your MD as an opportunity to open a business and make over 200k. What a sick joke, people like OP are all that is wrong with this pathetic rat race. And before anyone says it, yes I am bitter. 

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On 9/26/2019 at 7:50 PM, Sickofitall said:

For what it’s worth I appreciate your no BS approach and calling people out for their clear stupidity and ignorance. OP is the last person who should go to medical school.  Viewing getting your MD as an opportunity to open a business and make over 200k. What a sick joke, people like OP are all that is wrong with this pathetic rat race. And before anyone says it, yes I am bitter. 

-

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On 9/25/2019 at 12:21 AM, TakiTaki said:

I've been a PA for the past 3 years working in an urban city in Canada in paediatric surgery (2 days/week) and internal medicine (3 days/week). I have a good stable job with pension, benefits, etc, making 6 figures while working 5 days a week, usually 40 hours/week (1 weekend call/month) and 3.5 weeks vacation. Also, I have no spouse/kids. However, I feel like I could be making much more by being an MD. Based on my conversations with MDs that I work with and reading all these forum topics about IM doctors being paid 200-250K, FM docs being paid 200k+ with great pensions in hospital settings, I feel like I can be making much more. However, I'm not sure whether its worth going back to school for an MD. I'm in my late 20s, have a Masters degree, no issues with grades (~3.99 GPA), and have tons of ECs. I think I could be a good competitive applicant with my experience as a PA, especially when targeting UOttawa and McGill. 

At the same time, I sit here contemplating the opportunity cost of attending medical school. Spending ~150K to go to medical school plus the stress of residency, even though I'd only go for IM or FM. Plus I'd lose my income which at 7 years of schooling could add up to close to a million dollars. At times, I feel its worth it since I'd make that back quicker, have the "Dr." title and make more money at the end of the day while having more autonomy with my patients. Also, I could have my own clinic (small business) which is what I've always wanted. On the other hand, my parents keep telling me that I could be ahead both mentally and financially if I keep my current job and invest my money in a business locally. I keep going back and forth and I don't know what to do. I like my job as a PA but I feel like I could do so much more as an MD and be compensated more. What do others think about this situation and what would you do if you were in my situation right now?

The issue is the 40 hours a week you are working right now. As a PA, you get to clock in and clock out, but once you are a physician it isn't just seeing the patient, there is endless paperwork, phone calls that add on to those hours. I don't think it is worth it in your situation from a financial and from a lifestyle point of view. The entire process of med school and residency could very well take 10 years or so and during that time you will be in the net negative income wise. These are crucial years in your life during which you may be trying to find a spouse, have kids etc. If you invest right now, you definitely will be better off financially. The only benefit of being a doctor is the autonomy and the title. Both will wear off faster than you can count to 10. If you have an idealistic wish to become a doctor, or a passion that involves doing some sort of work only a physician can do, it may be worth it, but if you are thinking from a practical point of view it isn't worth it. 

 

 

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