Most of us, when asked, “Any regrets about going into the PA medical profession?” Would give a resounding, “No!” But sometimes we don’t realize directly why that is. Sometimes it’s important to take a second look at just exactly why we continue to do what we do. In other words, What gives your work significance? Here are a few of my own responses.
Making a difference in my patients’ lives.
Do you “save lives” in orthopedics? Of course you do! Sometimes the life you save is simply the person who is now able to resume their daily walks, or is now able to pick up and cuddle their grandchildren. Someone who is able to continue training for that Iron Man. Someone who can return to their professional level butterfly hunting in Ecuador because now they can use the net again. Someone whose bony malignancy is identified, biopsied and treated because you took the time to consult the tumor specialist. You do save lives, and don’t ever forget that.
Making a difference in my supervising physician’s life.
Don’t get goofy on this one. What I’m talking about is filling the gaps, identifying the problems, dealing with crises before they become bigger. Taking call, switching my days to provide clinic provider coverage, identifying and diverting patients with case-canceling health conditions before they ever get to the OR, suggesting that there may be other ways to better utilize new therapies, learning the new technique so that I am the backup resource when knowedge is needed on the spot, learning my provider’s idioscyncracies and making the most productive use out of them possible. In other words: Teamwork.
Making a difference in my profession.
Sometimes my work gets so “personal” that I forget to look at the forest. The PA profession is in such an incredible phase of expansion in all fields. At the same time, there are threats to the continued growth and medical capacity of PAs nationwide, whether due to ignorance or ignorant legislation. Making it a point to really clarify what a true Physician Assistant can do for an orthopedic or other practice has become critical to maintaining the integrity and qualification of our medical profession. It’s not enough to just say, “They’ll figure it out.” What if they don’t? I value being a part of my profession, and influencing it for the better benefits not just me but also others, and on a much greater scale.
Making a difference in my community.
How many times have you heard, “I’m so glad you could see me today!” Or, “We’re so glad you’re in town.” Being a qualified Physician Assistant in a team-oriented practice is a benefit to the entire community. We can provide more medical care, on a more immediate basis, without having the patient wait until someone “more qualified” has the time to see them. We are qualified, we do provide quality medical care, and we are an important part of the delivery of healthcare in our communities.
Now it’s your turn. Whether in conversation, in written form, or in simple ruminations, take a few moments to think about the answers to this question for yourself: What gives your work significance?
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