PA Week is October 6-12 this year. As PAs, we have a lot to be proud of in the 50 years of our existence but with our many advances, there still more we can do. This month, we are hosting PAs for our podcasts. However, to kick off the month, we are going to talk about the challenges that lay ahead. It is worth noting though that much of it is now possible thanks to those who came before us.
This is the 50th Anniversary of PAs and we should be proud. Over the years we have gained more recognition and autonomy. Although controversial, Optimal Team Practice (OTP) can help propel us forward in ways to help benefit our patients and the healthcare teams we work in. We continue to push for expansion and allow for the scope of practice to expand at the individual, organizational, state, and national levels. Some have made the journey to other countries to help us gain recognition.
Many of our colleagues recognize the value of our roles, and we should not forget them. This PA Week, thank your colleagues for their service and how they recognize you. Inspire and lead others to follow in your steps or at least support the role of PAs. There are many who are not PAs that listen to the podcast and read the blog. We appreciate you, too. Please show us your support this week and in general. Let us know that you stand beside us to help best care for our patients.
To the individuals not working in medicine but listen for their own enjoyment, you can also get involved. Let us know that PAs are providing valuable care and that you appreciate our role in the healthcare team. Many patients do not look at the title so much as the care they receive.
With all of the good, there is also the long road. Sadly, there are still those individuals who push against PAs and other non-physician colleagues. Although disheartening, we must not let them bring us down. We must demonstrate our abilities and receive the support of fellow staff.
Recently, a listener emailed about an experience they had with an attending. The listener, a fellow PA, called for an emergent consult on a very sick patient. The consultant attending on the other side refused to talk to the PA as they “were not good enough” and only wanted to speak with another attending physician. Luckily, the EM attending stepped right in and made sure to tell the consultant two things. The first was that the individual who best knew this patient was the PA and that he as the attending could not give all the pertinent details. Secondly, the attending informed the consultant that for any cases in the future, the consultant should speak directly with the provider caring for this patient. If the consultant had an issue with this, he should learn to adjust as this would not change. That EM attending was also the medical director for the department and there were no issues thereafter.
Another listener further back shared a similar story, but with the roles reversed. The EM attending refused to speak with the consultant PA saying that the patient was “too sick” to be handled by a PA versus the specialist attending. In a calm and appropriate manner, the PA was able to redirect the attending in order to get the much needed information for a proper consult. However, this behavior on both sides has created unnecessary barriers and friction between fields.
None of us are perfect, and as PAs we are reminded of this regularly. One aspect of training that is made abundantly clear is that we need to know our limits. This changes with time and most PAs are very good recognizing their limits. We know how to ask for help and where to go to get information.
The future of PAs is very bright. Our profession is young but growing. We address many of the barriers to healthcare and continue to make a positive impact. Although we have only been around for 50 years, we will be around for much longer. Let us acknowledge this and continue to push forward. Let nothing be too small or great for us to achieve.
There are many changes in the PA world, and some even for the podcast. Our bandwidth sponsorship is ending, but we have new plans. If you are interested in being a sponsor, please let us know. Also, we are investigating the possibility of CMEs. If this is something you are interested in us offering (hopefully for free), tell us! We also need your feedback in general. Every little bit helps.
Let us know what you think by giving us feedback here in the comments section or contacting us on Twitter or Facebook. Remember to look us up on Libsyn and on iTunes. If you have any questions you can also comment below, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a message from the page. We hope to talk to everyone again soon. Until then, continue to provide total care everywhere.
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