“That presumption [that PAs are more communicative with families and patients] may have come about simply because as the demands on hospitalists continue to grow and the workload increases, adding the PA to the team means there are more people to do things like that [handle family communications],” he says. “Certainly, in our group, the PAs do lots of patient education, and we talk to patients about end-of-life issues and other difficult matters as well. But that is not delegated to them; in our group, both the PAs and the physicians participate equally in patient and family communication.”
Hospitalists and PAs also complement each other in the interdisciplinary care team because, “as a general rule, hospitalists love to teach,” says Kislingbury. “They don’t forget that just because you have your PA degree your learning does not stop there. The PA profession is almost like on-the-job training. You are allowed to choose the specialty that you want, and you gain your experience when you enter that [arena], as opposed to an internship or residency, where you first gain experience and then enter the specialty. We so appreciate the ability of the hospitalist to teach because we are learning while doing, on a day-to-day basis. It’s invaluable to have their teaching.” TH
Gretchen Henkel also writes about dealing with difficult families in this issue.
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- Nineteenth Annual Report on Physician Assistant Educational Programs in the United States, 2002-2203. Alexandria, Va. Association of Physician Assistant Programs.
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