There is more to healthcare than just medicine and dentistry. Don’t get me wrong, medicine and dentistry are two lovely professions, however, that path isn’t the path for everyone. Those with the desire to “help people” in a healthcare setting can do so as a physician assistant, optometrist, pharmacist, chiropractor. Check out the interview below from Oakwood’s own Shonet Brown – PA, who works as a physician assistant. To learn more about the road to becoming a PA, check out this website.
HO:What was your career goal when you started at Oakwood?
SB: My plan was to be a medical technologist (lab rat) to work my way through medical school and eventually become a pediatrician.
HO: What was your major?
SB: Pre-Physician Assistant (Associate of Science), Pre-Physical Therapy (Associate of Science), Biology (Bachelor of Science)
HO:How did you decide to become a physician assistant?
SB: First day of freshman registration I was waiting in line to see my advisor and saw a pamphlet about the Physician Assistant career. It gave me the option to do all I wanted in less than half the time just without the title of “MD” so I jumped on the opportunity!
HO: Can you describe your professional journey post Oakwood?
SB: After Oakwood I attended Nova Southeastern University where I earned a Bachelors in Physician Assistant Studies and a Masters of Medical Science degree. I was hired by a preceptor upon completion of my training. (make a good impression during clinicals!) I worked in Florida for a few years doing hospital admissions and rounding as well as in the out patient setting.
HO: Where do you currently work?
SB: Currently on Sabbatical but worked for years in Internal Medicine, inpatient (hospitalist) and out-patient (private practice) facilities.
HO: What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
SB: Movies and TV, Reading, Zumba, Quality time with family and friends
HO: What are good resources for students interested in learning more about becoming a physician assistant?
SB: American Academy of Physician Assistants www.aapa.org, National Commission for the Certification of Physician Assistants www.nccpa.net
HO: What exactly does a physician assistant do?
SB: A Physician Assistant (US) or Physician Associate (UK) is a healthcare professional who is licensed to practice medicine as part of a team with physicians.
PAs are concerned with preventing and treating human illness and injury by providing a broad range of health care services under the supervision of physician or surgeon. They conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, develop treatment plans, perform procedures, prescribe medications, counsel on preventive health care and may assist in surgery.
HO: Can a physician assistant prescribe medications?
HO: What’s the path to becoming a physician assistant?
SB: Most PA programs offer Masters Degrees, usually less than 3 years to complete. So, obtain a Bachelors Degree in your field of choice as long as you have the pre-requisites for PA school like Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, etc. A period of extensive clinical training precedes obtaining a license to practice as a physician assistant, and similar to physician training but shorter in duration, includes all systems of the human body. Renewal of licensure is necessary every few years, varying by jurisdiction. Physician assistants may also complete residency training, similar to physicians’ residencies but significantly shorter, in fields such as OB/GYN, emergency medicine, critical care, orthopedics, neurology, surgery, and other medical disciplines.
HO: What are some of the pros and cons to life as a physician assistant?
SB: The biggest PRO of being a PA is flexibility. Not only are you not limited to a field of medicine to practice but you can choose the setting as well. Whether you like night shifts, 9-5, holidays and weekends off or want to work around the clock you can find the right fit. You can practice pediatrics for a few years then switch to orthopedics or dermatology if you’d like. You’re never locked down.
The only CON I can think of besides paperwork is getting stuck with a supervising physician you don’t get along with or whose view of the PA role is limited. If you and your supervising physician are in the same room you’re not being properly utilized. We are best effective and efficient when working with autonomy.
HO: Can interested students contact you with questions?
SB: Email questions to Sbrownpac80@gmail.com and I will try to respond quickly.