"Physician Assistants (PA) are academically prepared and highly skilled health care professionals who provide a broad range of medical services. PAs are physician extenders and they work with a degree of autonomy, negotiated and agreed on by the supervising physician(s) and the PA. Activities may include conducting patient interviews, histories and physical examinations; performing selected diagnostic and therapeutic interventions or procedures; and counseling patients on preventive health care." - CAPA
If you are in the Hamilton area, the McMaster PA Class of 2016 will be setting up booths in the following areas on November 27, 2014 between 9:30AM-4:00PM. Please come see us if you are interested about who Physician Assistants are.
If you're interested in the program itself, the PA Program information night is on November 26, 2014 at McMaster HSC 1A1 7PM.
Join us on social media by following the hashtag #PADayCA !
Longitudinal Placements (LP) are clinical observerships organized by the student in domain of his/her choice to gain relevant clinical knowledge in that area of medicine
1. What LP did you do?
I did an LP with Hamilton EMS.
2. How did you go about contacting and arranging the LP?
LPs with Hamilton EMS require a request from the Physician Assistant office, therefore, individual students cannot email the paramedics themselves and arrange an LP. I e-mailed Nancy Weller (PA program Manager) with three days I was available for 12 consecutive hours and we went from there.
3. What were the two main things you learned from the LP?
I learned that paramedics have a wide range of responsibilities, and their scope of practice is also very broad. Not only do they provide life saving care but they can also give certain medications and take pertinent histories at the scene. Most importantly, contrary to the common misconception, paramedics are not "taxi drivers"! They provide a lot of life saving care at the scene before stabilizing the patient and bringing him/her to the hospital.
I had the opportunity to listen to a murmur, learn how to interpret several EKGs, and I witnessed the protocol for a patient found with "absent vital signs" and in cardiac arrest.
4. What did you wish you knew beforehand to help you in your LP?
I wish I had a better understanding of how to interpret EKGs. Every patient that we saw was put on an EKG machine, some of which had abnormal EKGs. However, the paramedics took time out (when possible) to teach me how to interpret EKGs.
5. How has this experience helped you clinically, in class and/or in career decision making?
This experience has helped me understand EKGs better because I now have a real life situation to think about when learning about ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. In addition, I also saw an angiogram in the emergency department and that experience has helped me understand the reasoning behind the need for an angiogram.
In terms of career decision making, I learned that the emergency department is a very fast paced environment, one is always on their feet and ready to deliver optimal healthcare- this is of interest to me.
6. Any other comments?
I strongly recommend that everyone go out for an EMS ride-out to gain a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of paramedics. This is especially important if you want to work in the ER because you will be interacting with these health care professionals on a day to day basis. A firm understanding and appreciation for all their hard work will help foster a good relationship between the two professions.
EMS service is NOT FREE. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) covers the majority of that fee, so patients are only billed $45.00. However, if the hospital/doctors determines that the patient could have made their way to the hospital by another means or the trip was not "medically essential", the patient will be billed for the full amount of the ambulance bill ($240.00).
This is necessary in order to ensure that the system is not abused, and that the service is available to those who really need it!
Took us a while to settle into the program but the Class of 2016 is now ready to share with you our experience in the PA program! We really want to show you what we are learning in the PA program and share our clinical experiences from our Longitudinal Placements (LP). This will allow you to get a glimpse of how the PA program is training us to become competent and compassionate Physician Assistants. We will also share information regarding who Physician Assistants are and how they fit in a health care team (National PA Day is coming up! #PADayCA)
One of the classes we have is Interviewing, Examining, and Reasoning. In this class, we learn how to do the above three things. We started off with learning how to take vitals (eg. Blood Pressure, Respiratory Rate, etc). Then we practiced the Respiratory and Cardio exam.
One of the best ways to practice our clinical skills is on Standardized Patients (SP). SPs are actors who come in presenting us with a case. We approach and interact with each SP as if they are real patients. We were a bit nervous at first but getting the opportunity to practice our clinical skills on SPs really helped us!
Two weeks ago, we had our Operating Room Orientation at Juravinski Hospital. This consisted of a tour around the OR and being taught how to get our scrubs (via the ScrubEx Machine).
On Halloween this year, a few of us had the amazing opportunity to hand out candy to kids staying at the McMaster University Medical Centre during the Halloween Parade. No pictures of the kids are allowed but we can assure you they are so cute in their costumes.
This concludes the summary of what we have been up to the last two months! Follow us on our social media to stay connected (click the pictures to be redirected)! If you have any questions regarding the program or the profession, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through our Facebook page.
Don't forget, National PA Day in Canada is happening on November 27th, follow our hashtag #PADayCA!