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Physician Assistants Are Creative, Too!

Now that physician assistants (PAs) have been around for more than 50 years you probably know that PAs in their daily jobs obtain medical histories, conduct physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, perform procedures, assist in surgery and perform minor surgeries, and write prescriptions.

But did you know that PAs are also creative?

In honor of PA Week 2017 and the 50 year anniversary of the field, I hope to highlight this unique group of individuals and explain the multiple ways in which PAs are creative beings.

Physician assistants come from many different backgrounds. Some have had an entirely different career before becoming a PA. Almost all PAs have some sort of medical background, including those who have made a complete career change. PAs come from military background, nursing background, emergency medical technician services, or radiology technician backgrounds just to name a few. Some were previously engineers. Some worked in finance. The list goes on and on!

With such a broad array of backgrounds and experiences PAs are an extraordinary group that exhibits openness to change and innovation.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “creative” as having or showing an ability to make new things or think of new ideas. Not only is this the foundation on which the profession was built - as a solution to the shortage of physicians in the community - but many PAs find themselves in a situation where they must be creative about how they are going to pave the way for the profession.

For example, it's not uncommon to start a job as the first PA a practice has ever had. In that case, he or she then needs to be vocal in creating and shaping that specific role, and in the meantime they must be able to convince the patients of his or her capabilities to perform all of the necessary responsibilities of the role. 

Creativity inside and out of the PA workplace

A highly appealing feature of the PA profession is the fact that PAs have lateral mobility. This means that PAs can change specialties.  Many PAs will tell you that this was an important factor in their ultimate decision to become a PA. If PAs feel stifled in one particular specialty then they can change it! That leaves plenty of room for creativity if you ask me.

In addition to the fact that PAs are a creative force in the workplace, PAs are generally creative outside as well. I recall having classmates who were free-lance photographers, singers, and writers. And have you checked out social media lately? The PA community curates a lot of really cool material, from blogs to youtube channels to really nice cosmetic work (hello botox/fillers!).

Another example of a creative PA is Medelita, which was founded by an Emergency Medicine PA with over a decade of experience in medicine. The company philosophy involves serving the medical community through a commitment to constant innovation. They also have a pretty awesome blog, which you’re reading right now.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that the PA profession will continue to grow exponentially, and I expect that we will see more and more creative souls and exciting advancements in days to come. The next time you see your PA, find out his or her creative interests, you may be surprised!  

About the author:

Stephanie Gebara, MPAS, PA-C is a family medicine physician assistant who graduated Cum Laude from the University of Florida. Outside of work, Stephanie describes herself as a skincare junkie, and she loves to try new products and DIY procedures while displaying her white coat style. Follow Stephanie on Instagram!