A few quick facts about physician assistants:
- They are licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision in physicians’ offices, hospitals and other health care settings.
- They are formally trained to examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses, provide treatment and prescribe medications.
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, job opportunities for physician assistants (PAs) are growing at a rate of 30 percent – “much faster” than the average among various professions.
PAs, in my opinion, are also some of the hardest-working and highest-serving people in health care and in our communities. They’re great people to be around, too. Sure, I’m biased (I could say the same thing about students in all DMU programs – yes, I’m that biased). The photos in this post, however, shared by student Katrina Enderle, vice president of our PA Class of 2013, show PA students in action as friends and volunteers.
Wow, do they volunteer: Over the past academic year, class members contributed more than 1,416 volunteer hours, an average of 27.8 hours of community service per student. That number beat students in Iowa’s other PA program, at the University of Iowa, who had 20.34 volunteer hours per student. As a reward, our PA students will receive $1,000 from the Iowa Physician Assistant Society to defray travel costs to the American Academy of Physician Assistants’ IMPACT 2012 conference this May in Toronto. Kudos to the class!
DMU’s PA program curriculum can be intense; students spend a lot of time together. That’s why members of each class, like the Class of 2013 above, become close friends pretty quickly.
Our PA students volunteer at DMU’s annual Senior Health Fair, a popular event held every fall where senior citizens can get free health screenings, medication reviews, balance/gait analysis and general health information. At the most recent fair, 18 PA students ran 150 dexa scans to test bone density of attendees.
DMU’s PA students are active community volunteers. They participate in teams that raise funds for worthy causes and provide support at numerous local events.
As they do annually to honor Pam Harrison Chambers, PA-C, M.P.H., associate professor in the PA program and a leukemia survivor, DMU’s PA students below participated last fall in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk and also raised $900 for the cause.
For as altruistic as they are, DMU’s PA students are also competitive – physically and mentally. Last November, these tough PA students competed in the biggest cross country race in North America, a seven-mile trek up and down hills, through muddy streams and across the terrain of Living History Farms. PA students also volunteered at the race’s first aid tent.
This PA team below will compete in the 2012 National Medical Challenge Bowl on May 27 during the American Academy of Physician Assistants IMPACT Conference in Toronto. They’ll tackle questions in a variety of subjects including physical diagnosis, microbiology, anatomy, OB/GYN, pulmonary, cardiology, primary care, emergency medicine, and surgery. Good luck to the team!
In addition to being caring, highly competent and competitive, DMU’s PA students are very collegial. Almost every week, you’ll find them enjoying group activities and outings around Des Moines. Below, the PA Class of 2013 relaxes at a picnic near the city’s lovely Gray’s Lake before heading off to an Iowa Cubs baseball game, an event sponsored by the PA Club.
Hard-working, compassionate, companionable and just plain fun: DMU’s physician assistant students are a super group! Learn more about them and the PA program here.