I Messed Up As A PA Student. Is Med School Even Possible?

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OPM 312: I Messed Up As A PA Student. Is Med School Even Possible?

Session 312

This PA school grad wants to become a physician – but they had some bumps in the road. Can they fix them?

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from thePremed Hangout. Go ask your questions there and use #OPMquestion.

Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts onMeded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[00:58] The MCAT Minute

The MCAT Minute is brought to you byBlueprint MCAT. September means it’s time to start thinking about prepping for the MCAT if you’re planning to apply next year and matriculate in two years.

The ideal timeframe for taking the MCAT is around March to April of the year that you are going to apply. That means a year before you’re starting medical school. 

As you’re thinking about your study plan, go to Blueprint MCAT. Create a free account and use their amazing free study planner tool to figure out what that path looks like for you.

[02:08] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I love my work as a PA, and finally getting to the point where I’m feeling some level of competence in my practice but with my patients.However, I want to not just meet the standard of care, but I want to provide true excellence in care. I think the best way to take my practice to the next level would be through the rigorous and systematic education of medical school and residency.

Because of your experience with medical school admissions, I wanted to ask your thoughts on one aspect of my application. I have made a few mistakes in my career that may jeopardize this goal of going to medical school, but hopefully not to an insurmountable degree.

Disciplinary Action – Academic Dishonesty

Initially, in PA school I was reprimanded for taking a day off of a clinical rotation in order to attend a residency interview. 

I was cleared to go to the interview by the nurse practitioner with whom I was rotating, but I did not formally get the absence excused by my PA program director.For the unexcused absence I was charged with academic dishonesty.

Upon graduation, I was accepted to an emergency medicine residency. While applying for my state X medical license, my PA program director indicated that for this unexcused absenceI was on probation from the PA program rather than just charged with academic dishonesty. 

When the state X medical board reached out to me about this probation, I was shocked. I was in, somewhat, of a state of panic that my dream job was in jeopardy because of what seemed like an inaccuracy on the forms submitted by my PA program director. I emailed the dean of students who agreed to write a letter on my behalf explaining the situation. 

A Misrepresentation

After receiving his email, I made the mistake of asking for a copy of the documentation that was submitted to the state X medical board by my program director.I believed that I was misrepresented. 

My goal was to furnish this information to the dean of students that he could specifically address any inaccuracies. Unfortunately, when I made this request to the state X medical board, I indicated that the dean of students had requested that I obtain and furnish him a copy of the documentation provided by my PA school program director which was not true. 

PA License Denial

I believe, at some level, I was trying to establish credibility that the dean of students actually had my back, and agreed that I was not on probation as a result of this unexcused absence. The way I wrote my email indicated that he had specifically requested a copy of the information which was untrue. 

Subsequently, because of this untrue statement, as well as the disciplinary action while in PA school, I was denied a state X medical license. I also lost a dream job and a chance to live in the same state as my fiance who is a resident physician.

I was able to get a state Y medical license, on the condition that I complete a specific program of remediation for my actions which I have successfully completed. And I am in good standing with all regulatory bodies.

Shooting for Transparency

Because of this failure in my past I want to be completely transparent in a medical school application. 

I have learned some very hard lessons on communication as a result of these blunders. I know that this is somewhat of a difficult question to ask. But I was wondering if you have any specific suggestions aboutwhere in the application process I should address such a cumbersome topic. 

There is a point in the AMCAS application that asks about disciplinary action in school where I will be addressing the unexcused absence and resultant academic dishonesty obviously. But how do I bring up the license denial?”

[05:20] Just Own It and Talk About It

You’re not worried about applying for PA state licensure at this point so you don’t have to talk about your license getting denied.Ultimately, you’re going to have to talk about that academic issue. It sounds like your program director was power-tripping. But if what you’re saying is true, then it should not be an issue.

Just tell them that you cleared it with the person you were rotating with. But then you got in trouble because you forgot to or didn’t think about notifying your actual program. Just be honest and upfront about it.

The Potential Issue

Assuming you want to go back to that state as a physician, try to reach out to a lawyer or to the state medical board. Tell them that you’ve been practicing now as PA in another state and you’re in good standing.

Then ask them if you’re going to be viewed negatively once you apply for your medical license versus your PA license because of what happened in the past. If you want to practice in that same state, as a physician, start trying to have those conversations now so you’re not scrambling later on. That way, you won’t have any issues later on when you’re applying to residency.

'Just address the academic dishonesty issue.'Click To Tweet

​​If you want more information, reach out to some programs and ask for some feedback. But generally, they would probably just advise you to own it, talk about it, and that shouldn’t be a problem.


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