Being a physician assistant in today’s day and age means adapting, learning, and being in a constantly changing environment that can be overwhelming at times. There are many traits that a physician assistant needs to have, and it is important to always keep growing these traits and evolving.
Together, we’ll be looking at 7 of the most important characteristics of an awesome physician assistant in 2023:
Being compassionate means recognizing that the patient or the family’s patient is human, having patience for them, and recognizing that they may be in pain or have a loved one who is in pain. Patients and families will need to know they have someone who understands their pain and sympathizes with it.
Understandably, hectic medical schedules don’t always allow the space and time for medical staff to emotionally support patients.
People skills is a broad term that ranges from simple communication skills to more complex ones like negotiating, mediating, etc. In the context of physician assistants, however, having people skills means relating well to others, whether it be fellow staff members, patients, or the patient’s family. Because you will be in contact with many patients per day, you must learn how to listen and interact properly with patients. This means finding the right approach for a patient according to their personality so that you can discuss the problems in the best way possible.
Many people go into the medical field because of its dynamic nature. It is unlikely that a job will get boring, precisely because of patients’ unpredictability, changing needs, and demands. This requires you to be flexible because an emergency might require you to be on call. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the work schedules of a physician assistant may vary, with many physician assistants working nights, weekends, or holidays. You have to learn and cope with the ever-changing and demanding work in the medical field.
Willingness to Learn
The medical field is a constantly evolving one, with new information constantly coming out. This information is crucial in helping us do our jobs well, and our patients’ well-being depends on us being updated on new knowledge. For physician assistants, rigorous medical exams are an integral part of their professional journey. Exams such as the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination) and PANRE (Physician Assistant National Recertifying Examination) require a strong willingness to learn combined with resources specifically tailored for these exams. These exams encompass a broad range of medical topics and demand a solid foundation in clinical knowledge and skills.
To excel in these challenging exams, aspiring and practicing physician assistants must be dedicated to continuous learning and professional growth. They can utilize various resources, including online learning platforms that offer PANRE or PANCE resources specialized in providing comprehensive study materials and practice exams designed specifically for these exams. Embracing a mindset of lifelong learning and leveraging dedicated resources for medical exams like the PANCE and PANRE is crucial to ensure the highest level of care and competency in the field of physician assistant practice.
Remember, there is no shame in learning, but there is shame in not being willing to learn for the betterment of your patients.
Emotional Intelligence and Stability
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to maneuver your emotions to communicate with and relate to others effectively. Cultivating emotional intelligence can make your life as a physician assistant much easier, as you will be able more easily identify what the patient is feeling, and how and to what extent you can help.
Likewise, emotional stability, which is itself strengthened by emotional intelligence, can help you recognize when you’re taking on too much emotional weight, step back, set boundaries, and take care of yourself.
Attention To Detail
The devil is in the details, and a good physician assistant needs to pay close attention to small details, as the slightest mistake is a bigger one in the field of medicine. For example, you need to make sure that the client data you will be handling for the physician is accurate, and in this way, you can avoid any misunderstandings which will end up costing time or even money.
When we empathize with our patients, we are more equipped to give them the help they need. Recalling our previous experiences, when we were uncertain and afraid, for example, will ensure that we empathize with our patients in their moments of uncertainty. A comforting face that recognizes the emotional state they’re in is a small but important weight lifted off their shoulders.
Being a physician assistant is no easy task, as it requires us to be willing to adapt and learn in an already challenging and oftentimes stressful environment. Because of this, it is crucial that we focus on our existing strengths, and cultivate the characteristics mentioned above so that we can be our best selves at work.