MSHQ 159 : Premed Q&A – PA vs MD or DO, What are my Chances and More

Session 159

Session 159

In today's episode, Ryan and Allison talk about the podcast three years later and how it has grown bigger than they’ve anticipated they would. The Premed Years is a product of their passion for producing great episodes three years in a row without even missing a week which is just phenomenal.

Here's a teaser: Ryan announces they will be doing medical student focused podcast. So stay tuned as to when it's going to be launched.

Today, Ryan and Allison are going to answer some premed questions. If you have some questions you answered here on the podcast, go to

Here are the answers to some questions raised by MSHQ listeners:

Ian from San Diego, CA

Q:  When should a person consider not to go into medical school and consider a Physician's Assistant instead? How competitive is this and what are some factors to be considered when making a choice especially for a nontraditional premed? What are the benefits for choosing a PA instead of MD?

A:  Allison says…

Figure out your goals. They are both similar in some ways but they are different roles. Ask yourself what your goal is. Being a physician means you're a leader of the team and you have to embrace the leadership role. Why are you considering being a PA? Consider the extent of knowledge base and training duration that you want.

Ryan says…

Consider your personality if it fits more with a PA or with an MD/DO as they have different personalities since being an MD holds the ultimate responsibility.Be careful what you're interested in.

The pro for being a PA for a certain personality is somebody who likes variety. Unlike a physician,  a PA can try out different specialties. As a PA, you don't have residency so you can basically switch careers and switch specialties.

Andrew from Kansas City, KS

Q:  Strongly considering applying for the HPSP scholarship program. What lies to applying for a specialty in your primary or secondary choice based on the number of available GMO residency physicians in the Air Force at that time?

A:  Ryan was one of those applicants placed in a GMO position. Ryan explains the HPSP route in applying to medical residencies. Don't look at a random list of numbers to determine what you want to be for the rest of your life. Choose what you're passionate about. You can't be paid enough to be miserable. Only look at the list to understand how competitive it's going to be that year.

Jerry from New York City

Q:  Is it worth attempting to make the medical journey if you have a terrible GPA and making the process to correct that in post-baccs? Is there any shot of being an MD or DO?

A:  If you really want to be a physician that you'll figure out a way to get there. Nobody can determine your chances. It's 0% if you're not applying to medical school. It's all about your ambition, your drive, your commitment and ability to show that you can improve. It can be done!

Listen to the rest of the episode as Ryan and Allison chats about some ideas for the medical school podcast.

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