Welcome back to Asclepius! I’m ecstatic to share this interview with you. I was able to connect with someone who shares my passion for the medical field. I think of her as a great ambassador of the field, and the work she does has already inspired many people to pursue medical careers. Meet Andrea Benedict, “I’m a Physician Assistant in critical care medicine ie in Texas, curator of MEDtakeovers, and creator of the apparel brand, Medthusiast.”
After reading her interview head over to her sites. If you’re considering a career as a PA or other medical professional you may find the Takeover videos helpful and encouraging. Also, enjoy 10% off your first purchase at Medthusiast. You’ll find great things like this hoodie available for purchase!
Andrea talked first about the background of her choice to join the medical field: I was obsessed with science even as a young child. You know those super nerdy kids that get way too excited over a new science experience kit or microscope? Yea, that was me. Once I entered high school I realized my fascination was centered more on human physiology and anatomy which is when I shifted gears and focused solely on medicine.
Why Physician Assistant over other medical professions?
I have MAJOR commitment issues. I should probably see someone about that lol. Once I realized that the PA profession allowed me the ability to change specialties whenever I want throughout my career I was sold. I always had anxiety about committing to specific residency and this completely alleviated that angst.
In this -> Interview fellow physician assistant, Raquelle, also highlighted the topic of lateral mobility within a PA career opposed to that of a Nurse Practitioner. It’s a very popular reason people choose to pursue this career. If you’d like a more in depth explanation check out this video by James Kim (@freshprinceofhealthcare on IG), another PA/youtuber! I found this video a while back and it’s what helped me decide on going back to school to become a PA after nursing.
According to recent surveys by PracticeMatch (and others), PA’s report high job satisfaction and growing salaries . Statistics show that even as low as 6% of PA’s said they were unsatisfied with their careers. Why do you think this is?
Unfortunately, people sometimes choose to pursue the wrong career path for them. Maybe they prefer more bedside duties and would have been happier as a nurse. Maybe they don’t value the lateral mobility and instead would prefer more autonomy as a physician. Luckily, most students do a significant amount of shadowing hours so they learn about all of the various professions before committing an excessive amount of time and energy towards that degree.
Why do you think Physician Assistants are in high demand? Because it’s a career with high job satisfaction, a six figure salary, stellar work/life balance, and you truly get to make a difference in someone’s life.
What would your response be if someone said “I’d love to be a PA but I’m not smart enough?”
You may not be. Just because I love soccer does not mean I can play in the world cup. Each PA school has requirements for a reason. You know your strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else does. Just remember that medicine requires skill and passion. Not just one or the other.
What would your advice be to a nurse or other medical professional who was considering going back to school to become a Physician Assistant? Do it.
Some people would say going into a medical career because of a good salary is a “wrong” reason, but I disagree. I’m glad Andrea took time to answer whether she is in it for the money.
Of course. If I wasn’t then I would work as a PA for free. Monetary gain is not my primary goal but it is an important factor when pursuing a career that can leave you with a monstrous amount of student debt. If the profession paid $30,000 a year I bet there would be a lot less PA’s in the work force.
Hospice/Death with Dignity is the specialty that intrigues Andrea most: I’m very passionate about end-of-life care and feel we have significant room for improvement.
The aspect of school Andrea found most challenging was, “Forcing myself to study when I didn’t want to. Sometimes I would have rather watched paint dry than crack open a book.”
How do you cope with the pressures of work?
I bottle it up. I know it doesn’t work for most people but it works for me. I keep it to myself. I rationalize it, I pay tribute to that person, and I move on. I’ve never felt the need to say “Hey, that person’s diagnosis is horribly unfair.” I know its unfair just like my colleague knows its unfair. Why state the obvious. Instead, I like to remember all of these individual experiences so I never take for granted how short life truly is.
If you could influence any celebrity and convince them to become a PA who would you pick?
Kate Hudson because she’s intelligent, hilarious, outspoken, and articulate.
I agree. Someone call Kate and tell her to join the ranks of Women in Medicine please!
In Andrea’s view, the most pressing problem facing medicine today is, “The integration of business and medicine. If merged appropriately it can be a beautiful and fruitful synergy but most see it as a toxic collision of two unrelated industries. The truth is you can’t continue to help people unless you remain profitable and you can’t remain profitable unless you continue to help people.” She further discussed medical field issues that are most important to her.”The integration of social media and medicine is something that is near and dear to my heart. It’s a taboo topic, but if harnessed correctly social media can bring some amazing opportunities to students and clinicians. Take, for example, MEDtakeovers. By having clinicians “snap” their day it’s essentially allowing students to virtually shadow-learn about medicine in a much more valuable way than just reading about it in a curated and boring format.”
Andrea Benedict, PA-C
Life as a PA
Thank you for reading this interview, I hope it sparks an interest in someone to become a Physician Assistant! Please give this post a like and share with someone you think would appreciate it. Be sure to follow Andrea AND Asclepius if you aren’t already, and keep an eye out for more interviews!