Mother of 2, Onyi Azih is an Urgent Care Physician Assistant and Lifestyle blogger at sincerelyonyi.com. She loves to share how she balances her family life while practicing medicine and building her business. She is committed to helping busy women balance life beautifully. In this article she sheds some light on work life balance, explaining the PA career to her Nigerian family and her experience transitioning between specialties.
There are so many people here in the United States who don’t understand what a PA is. Being that your family is originally from Nigeria, do you ever encounter any difficulty when explaining to them what you do for a living? If so, how do you handle it?
It was difficult getting my parents to understand what I wanted to become and accepting my role in medicine, but it did not bother me on my road to becoming a Physician Assistant. I am the type of person that takes other’s opinions into consideration but still does her own thing. At the end of the day it’s about the life I want to build for myself.
Why did you decide to become a PA and has that changed over the years?
I knew I would not be happy practicing in only one specialty for the rest of my life so Physician Assistant is the perfect job for me.
What has been the most difficult part about transitioning between specialties?
Most difficult part was was reminding my self that I was capable. The first few weeks take some adjusting, which is why training is necessary. Along with the short training that employers provide; I would make sure to keep uptodate.com or another resource handy, shadowed other providers and reviewed on my free time. Eventually, everything from school came back to me.
So many prospective students enter the PA profession because of the work life balance, what are the flaws in that assumption?
I personally would not call it an assumption. I have been fortunate to have wonderful schedules in all of the positions that I’ve held. I know the story isn’t the same for all specialties, but of course, it is each persons choice what they go into.
What are some aspects of the PA career and motherhood that parents should take into consideration beforehand?
Motherhood is different for everybody. Some choose to leave the profession to raise their children. Others, like myself, decide to embrace the chaos. I recently wrote about why I think working outside the home makes me a better mother. As PAs we have several options when it comes to schedules so I would consider that, work through the mommy guilt and know that you’re doing an amazing job. Unlike PA school, there’s not much you can do to prepare for motherhood but to go with flow.
What obstacles have you encountered being a wife, mom and PA? How did you overcome them?
Battling mom guilt has been one of the obstacles that I’ve had as a mom, wife and PA. At times I want to go do something for myself but I feel guilty leaving my small kids. Especially now that I’m running a business, my time can easily be consumed on my phone which eats up alone time with hubby if I’m not paying attention.
What would you say is the key to balancing your family and career?
The key is outsourcing what I’m not good at. I need help with cleaning, meal prep, caring for my kids. I am now able to get so much done and enjoy the time I have with them. But I make sacrifices to accommodate for this like rarely getting my nails done, doing my own hair, etc.
What would be your advice to a PA-C ready to start a family? Suggestions on how to prepare?
Do not rush but don’t wait until the timing is “perfect”. I said this before kids and I’ll say it now. You can not give them back lol. But in all honesty, the timing will never be perfect. My children came when I least expected it but needed them most.
The only way I see preparing is work on your patience, remember that they are always learning and growing, and as long as Mom and Dad are ok, the children will be ok.