Below I’ve included an article from the most recent PA Professional regarding the interest in changing the name of the ‘Physician Assistant’ profession and renaming us to just “PA/PA’s”. I’m incredibly interested to receive feedback from others on this article.
For myself, I have to say overall, I’m not excited about this and I do not think it will have the positive effect the powers to be anticipate. However, it has also made me think about how I can contribute to helping the public and my patients understand who PA’s are and our scope of practice (because that is what really matters, right)? Perhaps it doesn’t really matter what we are called, it matters how we treat out patients and how well we perform our jobs. I do want patients to have a better understandinfg of who we are and what we do, overall I feel as though the AAPA should be working on promoting awareness for “who are Physician Assistant’s/PA’s?” As opposed to just changing our name.
So, I decided to focus on what I directly–meaning with patients–have the capacity to affect. Tonight, at work prior to interviewing my first admission I asked myself how I could incorporate a short (30 seconds or less) dialogue in my introduction that would bolster patients understanding of who we are and our role in the health care system.
I will preface this story with the fact that this probably was not the best patient to try this out on for two reasons: 1. She was in obvious distress (chest/abdominal pain/lactic acidosis) 2. She was a retired RN–so she wasn’t exactly your baseline audience.
Regardless, I entered the room introduced myself starting with my usual sphiel “My name is Danielle, I’m a Physician Assistant and I work with the medical service here at the hospital”. Instead of stopping there I proceeded with “I work with the medicine team here and collaborate with a Physician to determine a plan of care and treatment”. I wish I could say I had feedback, but it was pretty brushed over. In her defense I would have brushed me over and demanded some pain meds too–she looked uncomfortable.
However, I think it is something worth continuing to do in my daily practice and to think about. I hope that I get some opinions back on what this article means to other PA students and practicing PA’s out there!