A Day in the Life
How did you become interested in the field of health care?
When I was 14, my mother became seriously ill. I watched the medical team take care of her when I accompanied her to the hospital and doctor visits. They were passionate about providing her with the best possible care. It was at that moment I decided I wanted a career in health care. I wanted to help people like they helped my mother and make a positive impact in their lives.
What’s your current job and what does it require?
Today, I’m a physician assistant (PA). I’m in a busy emergency department, so I see between 20-30 patients a day. I am trained to diagnose and treat illnesses, as well as prescribe medication for patients. I also order laboratory tests, X-rays, CAT scans, ultrasounds and other tests as needed.
How did you become interested in your current health job?
Although I wanted a career in health care, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. I was at a university, but left to enroll in a one-year radiologic (X-ray) technician program. After graduating, I worked in a fast-paced urgent care center taking X-rays, but soon realized I wanted more responsibility for patients. I decided to work part-time as an X-ray tech while finishing college, then enrolled in a PA program.
Do you like being a physician assistant?
I love my job. The emergency room is exciting, but challenging at the same time. I get an adrenaline rush when I’m confronted with a patient that needs immediate care. I have to quickly make the correct diagnosis and give appropriate treatment.
I rely on my PA training to make accurate assessments because there usually isn’t a lot of time to refer to a book in an emergency situation. I also work closely with my supervising physicians who are always there to support and guide me when needed.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
As a PA, I also learn something new every day. Part of my job is to keep up with the latest research and advances, such as new medicines and treatments. This helps me provide better care for my patients.
The best part of my job is counseling patients on preventive health care and helping them manage their own health to live longer, healthier lives. It’s the whole reason I wanted to work in health care.
What’s your best advice for anyone considering becoming a physician assistant?
I recommend you shadow a PA or volunteer at a hospital or clinic to get a feel for the environment and the role of a PA. There are internships and volunteer programs to help you get that experience. If you have a desire to really make a difference in people’s lives, becoming a PA can fulfill that passion.