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October 5, 2013

How physician assistants help you and your doctor


“It is exciting and rewarding to see a cardiac arrest or insulin shock patient come back to consciousness,” he says. “However we also see abscesses and flu. So much of what we do in the ER is primary care, and I help patients understand their own health and how to avoid recurring problems. I feel as though I treat not only their physical ailments but sometimes their psyche as well.”

Brackett also appreciates a PA’s ability to move laterally between specialties. “We are trained as generalists, although we do clinical rotations in various specialties.”

Most of Brackett’s career has been spent in emergency care. He was among the first PAs in Texas to receive a Certificate of Added Qualification in Emergency Medicine from NCCPA. The CAQ has rigorous requirements that include specialty-focused experience, continuing education, and knowledge of procedures, in addition to passing a national exam.

For Brackett, it is about the challenge to be better at everything he does.

“Ben is one of the most current people I know in emergency medicine,” Zeigler said. “In fact, he taught me a technique to reduce a shoulder without pain or anesthesia. He is always looking to expand his knowledge base.”

This new environment calls for a team-based approach to delivering coordinated health care, and the physician-PA team concept is working and growing in every state, specialty and medical setting. 

Certified PAs must pass rigorous standards to earn the PA-C designation after their name.  

This designation validates their clinical knowledge and cognitive skills, because it is only granted after they have graduated from an accredited PA program and passed the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam, administered by the NCCPA.

To maintain NCCPA certification and retain the right to use the PA-C designation, PAs must complete continuing medical education credits every two years and successfully pass a recertification exam every six to 10 years.

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