Weatherford Democrat

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October 5, 2013

How physician assistants help you and your doctor


Dr. Zeigler and Brackett have worked emergencies together for three years and have achieved a balance of trust and mutual respect.

“Neal has tremendous medical skills, and I have no problem asking him for guidance,” Brackett said. “I feel welcomed and encouraged to approach him with anything.”

“We discuss symptoms for the benefit of the patient,” said Dr. Zeigler. “Ben is a professional who asks to watch, learn and do.  He stays current with the latest research.”

Certified PAs are highly educated medical providers who graduate from accredited, masters-degree level PA programs, pass a rigorous national certification exam, and maintain certification through ongoing education and re-certification exams. They are also licensed by state medical boards.

Certified PAs practice medicine with the supervision of a physician. They routinely obtain medical histories; examine, diagnose and treat patients; order and interpret diagnostic tests; and develop and implement treatment plans. They can perform minor surgery and assist in major surgery, instruct and counsel patients, order or carry out therapy and prescribe medications. 

According to self-reported data collected by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, every week certified PAs work 3.8 million hours enabling them to increase health care access by seeing 7 million patients. Approximately 6,300 of the nation’s 92,000 certified PAs practice in Texas.

PAs Practice in Primary Care and Specialties

Brackett became interested in a medical career after joining a volunteer fire department at 16.  He was an Army combat medic and a paramedic, and received a master’s degree in Public Health before also graduating with a master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas-Southwestern.

Brackett is still a full-time firefighter, another adrenaline-filled career, in addition to working in emergency rooms. He enjoys being a PA because it allows him the flexibility to work as a firefighter and the ability to educate patients.

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