Many people are unaware that there are levels of medical professional between nurses and doctors. Physician assistants are able to perform more complex procedures and do some things – like prescribe medications – that many nurses cannot, but without the many years required in medical school. Kim Brey talks about her career at Houston Female Urology.
What degree program did you study?
“I earned a Masters of Medical Science from Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, to become a physician assistant.”
What does your current job entail?
“I perform histories and physicals, order and interpret labs and imaging studies, devise treatment plans, prescribe medications, perform office procedures and assist in surgeries.”
What is your favorite part of your daily duties?
“I really enjoy patient education. I believe that by spending a little more time with my patients explaining the issues and rationale for treatment that it helps them to understand the basis for our recommendations. This also helps our patients take ownership with adherence to our treatment plans.”
Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?
“I do, however, physician assistant training is broad spectrum. Whenever a PA goes into any practice, but in particular, a specialty practice, there is a certain amount of additional learning that occurs as part of that specific job.”
Have you participated in any form of continuing education?
“Yes. Physician assistants must complete 100 hours of continuing education every two years; 50 of these hours must be category I credits, which have been approved. Also, we must take a recertification exam periodically to keep our credentials.”
Do you have any advice for people wanting to pursue a similar career?
“You need to work very hard in college and earn good grades. Almost all PA programs now require a master’s degree. They are quite competitive, and many also require some sort of medical experience, such as volunteering in a hospital. Also, shadowing a PA will give you a good idea of whether the career is right for you. But, above and beyond anything else, you really need an internal desire to make a difference in someone’s life.”
Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.