As I peruse the PA profession's furor about the Women's Health article on PAForum as well as on Facebook - and perhaps other blogs that I don't frequent, I'm struck by a few key things. It is important to hold publications and entities responsible when they misrepresent the PA profession - like the plethora of letters to the editor flying into the Inbox of firstname.lastname@example.org by those of use that are inclined. I'm glad about that and I encourage every colleague who has taken the time to respond on this forum expressing dismay about the article to take the time - 5 minutes tops - to write a letter to Women's Health magazine. It matters when the collective large voice speaks, so my fellow PAs, keep writing those letters!!!
I'd also like to reflect on the collective PA Profession's responsibility to what leads to inaccuracies like the article in Women's Health magazine. I personally believe the primary source of such inaccuracies largely stem from the language that OUR OWN profession uses to describe what we do. If you haven't ever taken the time to peruse your own state's PA website, do so now. Look with a discerning eye for the language used to describe PAs. I found all of these on the AAPA and various state PA organization sites TODAY.
ASSISTANT - We hand other people stuff all day
SUPERVISED - someone looks over our shoulder all day
DEPENDENT - we don't do anything without someone helping us out
MD-LED - sounds like we're tagging along all day
MIDLEVEL - we must not be good enough to be top level
I did the same for a few NP Association websites. NONE, ZERO, ZIPPO, NADA of those words exist anywhere in the NP lexicon.
As any journalist with lay medical knowledge will do, they head straight to a handful of websites to extrapolate basic information about a given topic. They also read the "tone" with which the information is presented.
So my question is....where is the responsibility of the collective PA profession in all this? How can we expect journalists, lay people, patients and even other medical professionals to reinterpret language descriptors when these still inhabit how we decribe our own profession?