A Day In The Life of a Physician Assistant

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ADITL of a Physician Assistant

Name: Rachel Patton
Title:
Physician Assistant
Company:
Mount Sinai Hospital
Location: New York, NY

Biography

Rachel attended Middle Tennessee State University, entering as Undecided, but had a hunch the end career path would be something medical. Freshman year, she contemplated careers as a nurse or a doctor. Nursing wasn’t a fit because she wanted a position “with a little more clout in decision-making.” She also was wary of spending so much time and money in medical school to become a doctor. By sophomore year, she declared her major in biochemistry.

Senior year, she volunteered in a NICU and was an executive of the Pre-Scripts club, a pre-professional organization for students pursuing careers in the Health Sciences. This was on top of working her research role, school work AND a job at Kay Jewelers.

After being placed in the top 10 on the waiting list, Rachel was eventually accepted to Pace University in Downtown Manhattan. Ready to move to NYC, Rachel immediately put down the deposit to her number one choice and marked the beginning of her career as a Physician Assistant.

After competing her rotations, Rachel had an abundance of job offers. It took her seven months to choose the best and current job at a hospital in New York City as a Physician Assistant.

Job Description

Physician Assistants are trained medical professionals who can examine, diagnose and treat patients. PA’s can wear many hats throughout a day, even in a career. For Rachel, that’s three hats to be exact! Rachel is in the hospital, three days per week and 12 hours per day. Of those three days, she rotates between three different roles: Medical Admitting Physician Assistant (MAPA), Pre-op Clinic and Admissions.

MAPA consist of triaging incoming emergency room patients (i.e. sorting and coordinating ER patients according to medical needs). The job is to receive the information necessary on each patient, allocate treatment options, and contact the appropriate departments to begin treatment. Multiply this process by 16 to 30 patients and you’ve got yourself a state of the art, 12-hour MAPA shift.

Pre-op Clinic, or “Clinic” is her favorite. Those days, she meets with patients who are having surgery within the next two months. She performs medical exams to determine if they are healthy enough and ready for surgery. This includes checking vitals, medications and medical history. Depending on the outcome, patients will either be cleared or referred to various specialists.

Admissions work is last but not least. This role makes Rachel the first point of contact for E.R. patients. Rachel will assess and attend to the patient as the first medical professional with the authority to prescribe and perform treatment. Today, you’ll read about ADITL of an Admissions Physician Assistant.

ADITL: Monday

Wake up at 7:15 AM

Rachel wakes up and gets ready for the day. She’s a night showerer, so most of her morning routine consists of doing her hair and makeup and picking out her outfit. She wears business casual clothes under her white coat! Rachel’s out the door by 7:45 AM and walks to work, unbothered by the NYC morning commute struggle.

Leave for work at 7:45 AM

Commute:

Rachel walks to work, unbothered by the NYC morning commute struggle. It’s only a few blocks away!

Arrive to work at 8:00 AM

Work Environment:

You can probably imagine what a standard American hospital and emergency room looks and sounds like—the waiting room, the beeping machines, patients’ beds rolling pass you as doctors rush into surgery… But you may be wondering what kind of “personal space,” a Physician Assistant has within a hospital. To all the aspiring, yet claustrophobic, PAs out there, we’re hate to break it to ya… but the PAs share an office no larger than 300 sqft. In the office, there are three computers (where MAPA days are spent), some desks, lockers and even a bunk bed!

8:15 AM

She picks up her pager and patients’ charts from the PA before her and checks her emails. It takes her a half hour to get everything in order for the work day ahead of her.

It’s time to meet with her boss and fellow PAs to discuss changes or updates to hospital policies and PA expectations. This meeting usually takes an hour to ensure everyone is on the same page and has no questions going forward. It’s very important to have these meetings as medical malpractice lawsuits and insurance claims are a thing!

8:30 AM

It’s time to meet with her boss and fellow PAs to discuss changes or updates to hospital policies and PA expectations. This meeting usually takes an hour to ensure everyone is on the same page and has no questions going forward. It’s very important to have these meetings as medical malpractice lawsuits and insurance claims are a thing!

9:30 AM

Rachel is assigned her first E.R. Admissions patient. This patient, in particular, was showing signs of infection post-surgery, according to his chart. Rachel spends time reviewing the patient’s medical history and information before she administers an exam on the patient. PA’s—or any medical professional for that matter—should never go in completely blind when it comes to a patient!

After she looks over his chart, she administers an exam on the patient to gather more information about the patient’s needs for treatment. The results and findings from that exam turn into treatment steps, which she consults with the Attending Doctor first before she gives the treatment a green light.

The Attending Doctor approves of Rachel’s treatment suggestion and she puts in the order with the nurses.

10:30 AM

Rachel’s paged with three more patients. Their ailments in question include headaches and more infections! Rinse and repeat the study, exam and prescribe treatment process with each patient to figure out why they’re sick and how to treat them. This is where things get hectic because her attention is divided by however many patients she has at once. But she’s a pro, she’s go

1:30 PM

It’s time for lunch, so Rachel grabs a turkey wrap and tater tots from the hospital’s yummy cafeteria and ears lunch in her office. While she’s eating, she’s completing paperwork on her past patients, multi-tasking is key to stay ahead of work!

2:00 PM

Rachel’s assigned another patient with Osteomyelitis, a painful infection of the bone. After looking over his chart and examining him, a question she asked herself and her boss was, “do we give his antibiotics or do we have to cut off his toe?” They decided the on former—tough decisions like that are made every day here.

2:30 PM

Rachel’s assigned more patients, while still fielding pages and tending to previous patients. It’s following the same protocol: study medical history, administer an exam, consult attending doctor, order treatment, fill out paperwork and multiply this process by the number of patients she’s assigned.

8:00 PM

It’s time to head home! Rachel transfers her patients to the PA taking over, organizes her paperwork and leaves the hospital.

8:30 PM

Rachel’s home by 8:30 PM, which means its time to decompress and vent to Myles about the stresses of a good day’s work! She hops in the shower, has dinner with Myles and gets ready for a girls’ night out in the city… TGIF!

Asleep by 11:00 PM

Physician Assistant in Scrubs

Tools and Resources for the Job

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