When your child has a fever, you’re dealing with an injury, or maybe
you’re just feeling under the weather, a physician assistant (PA)
may be the one to see you on your way to good health. During National
PA Week (Oct. 6 to 12), Iredell Health System is taking the opportunity
to recognize the highly trained PAs who make it possible for more of our
patients to receive excellent care.
PAs are in high demand across the healthcare industry as the country faces
a shortage of doctors. According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics,
the number of employed PAs is expected to grow by 30 percent by the year
2024. That is much faster than the average for all fields of work. Patients
can rely on PAs for expert treatment; many have earned a graduate medical
degree and all must be licensed by the state in order to practice.
Iredell Health System is privileged to have 35 PAs from the Iredell Physician
Network (IPN), Piedmont HealthCare, and other organizations who work closely
with our caregivers in a variety of areas. Carla Johnson, Director of
Operations for the IPN in Statesville, Harmony, Taylorsville and Mocksville,
says PAs enhance the availability and the quality of service patients receive.
"Patients know they can trust our PAs to give good medical advice
and give them the best treatment possible," said Johnson. "Our
PAs are also an important part of our team, working alongside physicians
and nurses to provide comprehensive care."
PAs are able to take patents’ medical histories, examine patients
and order and interpret diagnostic tests, like blood tests or x-rays.
PAs can also diagnose a patient’s injury or illness, give treatment,
prescribe medication, perform physicals, provide immunizations and educate
patients and their families. While complex treatment and procedures require
oversight by a physician or a referral to an advanced healthcare provider,
in many cases PAs are able to work independently.
Patients have learned to depend on PAs to help meet their healthcare needs.
"Our PAs, much like our physicians, build special relationships with
their patients," said Kim Holland, Director of Operations for IPN
offices in Mooresville and Troutman. "We are proud of their professionalism,
their dedication and the commitment they have to improving the health
of our community."