I graduated from PA school about two years ago as a career change from social work. I work in geriatrics, a specialty which will not be represented on a new exam and does not lend itself well to a family practice exam anymore then a pediatrics does.
When I was considering whether I wanted to apply to nursing or PA programs, I considered the strength of the nursing lobby. They have much greater political power than we do, as evidenced by their independent practice states, greater professional recognition in the public’s eye and areas of medicine that PAs cannot practice in (i.e. hospice). However, I chose PA school for the versatility of career path and because of the emphasis on life-long learning and development. I even discussed this as a strength in my interview as I believe anyone employed in medicine needs to be actively engaged in learning. I have well over 200 Category I credits right now. I did not anticipate a future of taking exams every two years along with continuing medical education, some of which may not be my choosing.
I am finishing my first two year cycle and I completed a 20 hour project of PI-CME which taught me nothing but how to collect data and input it to earn a certificate. I am wary of how much these frequent exams will cut into my CME allotment, though I am fortunate to even have a CME allotment. I am anxious about how much time these exams will take when I’m working 50+ hours a week and sometimes charting at home as many PAs who are actively engaged in clinical work do.
This is not quite the PA profession I thought I was joining. I would hope that if our PA profession is as organized as to take on changes to the PANRE, there could also be a national publicity campaign so I can stop explaining what a PA is to every patient or finally convince Congress to let PAs practice in hospice or remove the “apostrophe S” from every law. Perhaps I should have taken up that nursing school acceptance after all.