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My Thoughts as a PA and a Woman in Medicine

Everyday, but especially this week, I am proud to call myself a PA, and even prouder to be a woman in medicine. Each year things are changing for us. We are capable and competent providers and legislation is taking notice. We are actively taking part in solving a healthcare crisis. In recent years, there are far more patients than there are providers, compromising patient care. As the demand has risen and risen, the Physician Assistant has answered the call.

It takes a humble, driven, knowledgeable individual to fill this gap. As a PA pushing through the intense training process is only be the beginning. Our job is never done, and we will never be finished learning. Each day (or night) when we wake up and head to work, we know a challenge lies ahead. And as a woman, that “challenge” is even greater. It means that we will be scrutinized and our patience will be tested. It means we may be looked down upon or thought of as less competent than our male, or MD, counterparts. It means we will have to work twice as hard to gain the same respect. But, we are up for the challenge.

We stay late and rise early. We spend the extra time with our patients to make sure the job is done thoroughly and the patient is comfortable. Then we smile and apologize for being late for the next one, knowing they wouldn’t have complained had they known the sadness in the next room.

Most importantly we challenge ourselves everyday to be the best provider that we can, often spending our free time with continuing education and research. But practicing medicine is more than a challenge it is a privilege, and not recognizing this is a poor quality in any provider. Thousands of people have entrusted us with their health, their life, their loved one. We know we cannot take this lightly. The very thought keeps us up at night. And every morning when our feet hit the floor we put our fears, our worries, our children, ourselves on the backburner. And we charge forward ready for the next challenge, the next patient.

We treat each patient like our only one, and we give them our very best. We fight for their rights and their wishes, and with them for their lives. We know we cannot always win the fight, and when we lose, we mourn, too. We leave the hospital emotionally and physically exhausted, but we go home to our families and hug them a little tighter. We can’t make every game, wedding, birthday; but that is the life we chose. We know that our time is of greater importance to those who need it most.

Today and always I am proud to be a PA. As a profession we continue to grow and gain numbers and respect. We know that with it comes great responsibility to our patients. But, as a profession we rise to the occasion. We continue to devote our lives to patient care and it is a privilege to do so.

About the author:

Amy Michaels, PA-C is a certified critical care PA living and working in South Florida, though she is originally from the Midwest. In her free time, Amy runs a fashion and lifestyle blog to showcase her creativity and personal style. Follow Amy on Instagram!