Good afternoon everyone. My name is Daniel. I am an EKG Technician. I've been in college earning credits towards a Registered Nursing program which I'm planning on attending this August. This program has a lot to offer especially in the fact that it is taking place at a teaching hospital. My true ambition, however, is becoming a Physician's Assistant. I have been very conflicted regarding this decision because I've read in certain articles that there are some PA programs out there which prefer applicants have an RN lisence. While others say they do not require it. Apart from that aspect, I understand that as an RN I'll be learning valuable bedside clinical experience. But yet I think to myself, why wouldn't I spend my time doing online courses necessary to enrolling into a PA program until I earn a Bachelor's Degree in Applied Science? While working part time getting my clinical hours as an EKG Technician or a Medical Assistant which I am also certified in. I would like to know some of your expeirences as new PA students. How many of you were nursing students before you made the decision to transition into a PA program as a career? Would you recommend a prospective student become a nurse before even considering becoming a PA? Or would it be better to comfortably go to school while working part time? I am thinking about this logically.
What’s In A Name?
Robert M. Blumm, PA, DFAAPA, PA-C Emeritus
The title of this article is an echo of Shakespeare, but let me assure you that today’s theme is not about Romeo and Juliet. The title question put forth has a very significant meaning to all people regardless of nationality, culture, ethnicity, or religion. A person’s name - any person - is the greatest connection to their identity and their individuality. Its importance cannot be underestimated if we are speaking of a profession, a practice, a company, a corporation, or of an individual itself. Think of names such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, or presidents such as Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Washington. Their names speak immediately to their contributions and historical significance to our society. Over the last twenty-five years, we have been either delighted with the name of our profession or have despised it for its misinterpretation by patients, administrators, and physicians. PAs are very opinionated, and, regardless of what we call ourselves, we will never reach a consensus.
We have agonized over the issue of our name. Perhaps we should, rather, have joined the group that will legislatively assist us in finding a compromise that makes us all satisfied, if not happy. AAPA commissioned a marketing/branding national group to investigate this issue and their input was based on speaking to all of the stakeholders in the medical profession as well as the general public and the name chosen was Medical Care Practitioner. They asked America and America voted but nothing will be official until the next meeting of the AAPA. I mourn the loss of associates but realize that it was not the best description of what we do as professionals.
A PA-Student, Mr. Scott Burns, commented on Ten Arguments for MCP and had this to say: “More PAs want to be called physician associates right now. That's a fair point, but PAs already know what we do, the purpose of a professional title isn't meant for those in the field, it's meant for those outside of the field to understand what that profession is. Patients, physicians, and employers all thought Medical Care Practitioners made more sense and made them more likely to recommend us. We have to put our patients, lawmakers, and employers ahead of our personal preferences to have the most effective title to move forward as a profession.”
This young man will probably be a leader in the PA profession in the next ten years because he is a thoughtful and patient person who has the power of reason and not the emotional baggage that some of us have after being PAs for ten, twenty, and thirty years or more.
So, returning to our question: “What’s in a name?” We spent months deliberating on this as we named our children. I received an email from the Golden Doodles Facebook member begging for input on naming a new puppy! What’s in a name when you are choosing your medical malpractice insurance or making the decision to purchase personal insurance coverage? Astute PAs and NPs will need to observe malpractice weather conditions. Who is being included or excluded from legal action and are they dependent or independent practitioners? What is their experience, their training, their certifications, and their malpractice history with NPI? When concerned with treating COVID 19 patients, have they been trained in this through past experience, or are they being “floated” to the area that is most needy without prior exposure to the care and treatment of this special patient? Do these patients deserve more than hospitals are presently providing? Do we have PPE? Are we bringing this virus home to our families and friends? Are we reporting to duty when we are sick or not fully recovered because it is expected of us? Do we have an obligation to the patient to give the newest treatment modalities? If questioned by an attorney on malpractice litigation two or three years from now, would we look ill-prepared? Do we have a quality, comprehensive policy that will be able to defend us based on years of healthcare experience and previous cases litigated?
Who is the best in the malpractice landscape? IMHO is a company with the highest A.M. Best rating which can easily be found online. It is a company that can underwrite coverage in all fifty states and has a long history of protecting its valued customers. It is a company that does not “cherry-pick” their clients by profession or time in the field and has no restrictions on their specialty. Did you know that some of the “new” companies do not cover every specialty? Did you know that some of these companies will not cover a surgical PA in NY? You need a company that does not look for the most profitable practitioners or the practitioner with the lowest risk. You also need to be aware of the types of policies that they provide and why one might be preferable to another for your situation.
I write every article with the same focus and purpose; I try to discuss new issues or talk about a treatment that we need to be familiar with - and then consider its liability potential and risk exposure for PAs. Then, naturally, the very real need for malpractice protection. I’m being upfront about this because I am concerned about the careers and financial safety of all PA and NP providers. This is not a gimmick that I am paid to do, but a call or concern for all of us who are or have been on the frontlines of medical care.
Please help me make a complete list of Pros and Cons of being a PA vs Physician.
Shorter School Less expensive Work Life Balance Lateral movement in career Doctor:
Greater Pay More Autonomy Cons__________________________________
Lower Pay Less Autonomy Doctor:
Longer Training (residency) Limited to one medical specialty