Being founded by a female Physician Assistant, Lara Francisco PA-C, every year from October 6-12, we celebrate National PA Week, which recognizes the PA profession and its contributions to the nation’s health. This year, we are featuring many of our esteemed PA Ambassadors who prove that PAs are essential.
During the COVID-19 response, PAs have stepped up like never before, showing how flexible, adaptable, and collaborative they can be. They have been testing, diagnosing, and treating COVID-19 patients, conducting telemedicine visits, redeploying to different specialties, or continuing to provide healthcare for those who need it most.
So in honor of those PAs who are a part of this special medical community, we’ve asked some of our Ambassadors from around the country to help raise awareness of their profession by sharing with us their inspirations and insights into being a physician assistant. Be sure to tune in to their features on our social media, and show your support by posting with today’s theme: PA Giving Day #PAWeek
Savanna Perry, PA-C
Savanna always knew she wanted to be in healthcare, and once her dad mentioned the PA profession, the seed was planted. After shadowing an awesome PA and physician team, she saw the value of a team-based approach to patient care and wanted to get out there and start practicing. PA was the perfect option. Today, she helps patients gain more confidence and relief from unruly symptoms which is rewarding for her to see the visible results and improvement in quality of life. She is also the founder of The PA Platform, a popular website for Pre-PA and current PA students.
//Wearing the IONIC Scrub Jacket
Demi Soulet, PA-C
The flexibility that being a PA is known for and the work- life balance it allows for was what drew Demi to the profession. Her favorite thing about being a PA is the opportunity to make an impact in other's lives every day. She believes medicine is not only about saving lives, but helping others achieve a full, and healthy life. Today she continues to be an advocate of health and fitness for her patients as a means of preventative medicine.
//Wearing the REBECCA Slim it Lab Coat
Leslie Schlachter, PA-C
Having a love of complex science and medicine, mixed with a perfectionism personality, Leslie felt that a daily, constant challenge with a group of likeminded people would be a great fit for her. Today she is passionate about PA's and NP's using social media authentically for raising awareness of appropriate patient engagement, professional networking and educational content of her profession.
//Wearing the REBECCA Slim Fit Lab Coat
WHY ARE PAs ESSENTIAL?
SP: Treating skin may not seem essential, but helping patients gain more confidence and relief from symptoms like itching can be life-changing. It’s rewarding to see visible results and improvement in patients.
DS: Even though dermatology is mostly an outpatient specialty, even during a pandemic, patients still need dermatologic care.
LS: I am essential as a PA as I allow faster access to critical neurosurgery consults and provide added value with necessary communication with the patient and referring provider.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A PA?
SP: I always knew I wanted to be in healthcare, and once my dad mentioned the PA profession, the seed was planted. After shadowing an awesome PA and physician team, I saw the value of a team-based approach to patient care and wanted to get out there and start practicing. PA was the perfect option.
DS: The flexibility that being a PA is known for and work, life balance it allows for made it the right choice for me.
LS: I enjoy complex situations and critical thinking to solve issues. I have always been fascinated with the body's anatomy and physiology.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING A PA?
SP: The flexibility of the profession and ability to impact so many patients are my favorite parts of being a PA.
DS: Collaborating with other great clinicians. We are known to be a collaborative profession.
LS: I love being able to communicate with my patients and their families in a way that is easy for them to understand and provide healthcare based support for them through the most difficult time in their life.
WHAT PA FOUNDATION/ CAUSES DO YOU SUPPORT AND WANT TO SPREAD AWARENESS FOR?
SP: The PA Foundation has some amazing scholarship options for PA students that I’ve been able to support. Hands of Esperanza and Sacramento Street Med are both PA-founded non-profits I’ve been able to support this year.
DS: Optimal team practice would allow for more access to jobs for our profession. This is something I would love to see the PA profession accomplish.
LS: I support PA students and Pre-PAs as a mentor and teacher. I believe in educating the next generation to be professional and research based.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE MOST COMMON MISCONCEPTIONSURROUNDING YOUR PROFESSION YOU’D LIKE TO DEBUNK?
SP: There is still a lot of education needed about the PA profession, but sometimes there’s a misconception that PAs chose the profession as a back-up and wish they were doctors. For the majority of us, that isn’t true! I love getting to work closely with doctors and appreciate their education and knowledge, but I’m happy in my role.
DS: Although we are known for collaborating, we still have autonomy. Many of us practice completely independent lot daily.
LS: PA's do not assist the physician. We are licensed providers that provide high quality specialized care in the scope of our practice which allows patients to get the care they need and for me, the surgeons I work with the ability to stay focused on their routines.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR PARTNERSHIP WITH YOUR SUPERVISING PHYSICIAN?
SP: My physician is amazing. I love learning from her, and appreciate her support and encouragement in my practice. I couldn’t ask for a more welcoming office, and I even get to bring my daughter to work sometimes!
DS: The support she gives me toward growth in my profession.
LS: My attending neurologic surgeon never stopped teaching me and respects me 100 percent. He values my opinion and always includes me as a partner, not an assistant.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PA STUDENTS?
SP: PA school will fly by! Figure out what works for you and stick to it, but don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling. It’s easy to let your studies take priority over your own health, but that will catch up to you if you aren’t leaning on your support systems.
DS: Work hard but don’t lose yourself in the process. It is okay to take study breaks, it’s okay if you don’t ace every test. Do your best but don’t beat yourself over it.
LS: Never stop learning, always challenge yourself. Medicine does not end, it evolves, evolve with it.