NCCPA is dedicated to serving the interest of the public.

We do so with a passionate belief that certified PAs are essential members of the health care delivery team who provide millions access to more affordable, high quality health care.


Making a Difference...

Read these 9 profiles about PAs who have been nominated by their peers as representative of the great work performed by Certified PAs. Then click here to read about 9 more spotlighted PAs.


Amy Davisson, PA-C

May 8, 2017

FernCare Free Clinic
Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C)

How Certified PA Amy Davisson makes a difference…

When Certified PA Amy Davisson moved to Ferndale, Michigan, she saw a newspaper article inviting people to come to an organizational meeting of a free clinic. She began volunteering at the clinic’s inception in 2010, helping to design patient services and clinic operations.

FernCare Free Clinic, provides no-cost medical care to the medically uninsured and under-insured residents of Ferndale and surrounding communities. Davisson, who also works part-time in another primary care practice, became the clinic manager in 2013. She is paid 20 hours a week but is the person with total responsibility for following up with calls of test results, reviewing patient charts, often in consultation with the medical director, arranging for medication refills needed between visits and handing communication with referral partners. Additionally, Amy makes the decisions regarding allocation of limited funds for expensive labs, dental care or radiologic studies.

“This is medicine I enjoy because you have to work with patients who don’t understand the healthcare system or cannot afford insurance.” says Davisson. Some do not realize that in Michigan they must provide a letter every year to re-qualify for Medicaid. Many fall in the gap between being eligible for Medicaid and making enough money to purchase insurance.

She says: “Trust is an issue as some have had negative experiences in the past. There may be language barriers; they may have incorrect paperwork. My job is to be creative in figuring out strategies to get volunteers, referrals, screenings and care.”

The clinic offers a holistic model including on-site diagnostics, nutrition services, benefits information and mental health counseling and tries to find resources for everything from eyeglasses to mammograms and other preventive screenings.

Davisson sees her job as making patients feel comfortable, saying: “We try not to be intimidating. Our patients are motivated because they know they have a problem and want help. I tell them you are in the right spot; I am glad you here; and I am going to get you the help you need.”


Under Davisson’s direction, clinic patients can stay out of the ER and the hospital, which benefits the patients and the community.

According to Suzanne York, PA-C, “Amy sets the tone and is the model for patient respect, making no judgment about any patient's circumstances. Her leadership is part of the reason the overwhelming majority of patients return to the clinic and try so hard to follow their suggested course of treatment. Amy's diligent care ensures that patients get the education and support they need, and any medication changes indicated.”

Ann Heler, clinic board president, said "We consider ourselves fortunate that Amy has a passion for the work we do and that she makes time to do this work with us. It is absolutely true that FernCare would not be what it is without her and that great big compassionate heart of hers."

Davisson also feels fortunate to do the work she does, saying, “I am incredibly proud to be a Certified PA because it allows me to provide high quality care to people who desperately need it. My children see me treating and helping people, and my eight-year-old wants to grow up and be a PA.”

NCCPA salutes Amy Davisson, PA-C, for welcoming those in need with compassionate care!


Lisa Fields, PhD, PA-C

May 15, 2017

Intervention Arms Medical Center
Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C)

How Certified PA Lisa Fields makes a difference…

Lisa Fields, PA-C, has a Ph.D. in Public Health and a Masters in Physician Assistant Medicine, and she uses both in her day-to-day responsibilities at the Intervention Arms Medical Center (IAMC). IAMC is a clinic Fields established in 2008 with two colleagues, James Joseph, DO, and Thomas Singel, DO. IAMC provides primary medical care to the underserved who are predominantly Medicaid and uninsured patients in Lake County, Illinois.

Fields works a full-time schedule seeing patients as well as operating the office. The center is also a National Health Service Corp site (NHSC), which offers financial and other support to primary care providers who work in underserved communities like this one. This support allows the center to hire primary care providers, many who choose to stay and work in the community once their loans are repaid.

Fields teaches many students, as she is also an assistant professor and preceptor at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine. She has hired more than 10 new graduate PAs over the past 9 years in her clinic, where she spends time mentoring them as they begin their career. She finds herself working 70-80 hours a week, seeing patients ranging from 6 days old to 99 years “young.”

“The appreciation shown by my patients keeps me going,” says Fields.

A non-profit arm was later added to IAMC, the North Chicago Health Center. The non-profit provides free services four times a year. Every spring they provide safe-sex counseling at no cost where they educate the community and provide free condoms. One day every July they provide free physicals, backpacks and school supplies to kids going back to school. Every November they collect food for families and in December they also give coats and hats to kids in need. During the rest of the year, the center partners with other organizations, such as Head Start and the City of North Chicago, to provide care in the community.


In addition to the medical care she provides, Fields is the organizer behind the donations for holiday meals, coat drives, and free school physicals to families in need. When she volunteers her time at the local PA program, she demonstrates how PAs can be utilized to their maximum potential.

“I have seen few who work as hard as Lisa does. She is a tremendous advocate for the medically underserved and is one of the unsung heroes of Lake County,” says former colleague Allison Corro, PA-C, MS.

For championing the next generation of PAs and the care she provides to the medically underserved in Lake County, IL, NCCPA celebrates Lisa Fields, PA-C!


Amy Klingler PA-C

May 22, 2017

Salmon River Clinic
Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C)

How Certified PA Amy Klingler makes a difference…

Amy Klingler, PA-C, is the sole provider at the Salmon River Clinic in Stanley, a rural town located within the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. With the nearest healthcare facility over an hour away, this clinic is the only accessible source for healthcare for residents and tourists in the area.

With no clinical assistance, she is responsible for everything during the patient’s visit, from taking vitals, conducting the exam, drawing blood, making the diagnosis, implementing treatment, and even cleaning all the instruments. Although this means each appointment lasts longer, Klingler makes it a priority to spend as much time as each patient needs going over their questions and concerns. From June to August, when the clinic sees more urgent care visits from tourists, Klingler receives assistance from two pre-med students from the College of Idaho as part of an internship program. She teaches them how to take vitals and perform other tasks to increase her efficiency while providing them with hands-on medical experience.

“Being the only provider in such a remote area is an enormous responsibility,” says Klingler. When she started working at the clinic in 2006, she had to get comfortable with her own abilities and limitations recognizing when she can handle patient cases herself and when she needs to consult with her supervising physician or transfer them to the hospital for further examination and treatment.

“A good history and physical exam are critical for me. We can perform basic in-office labs, but we can’t run every diagnostic test and we don’t have any medical imaging onsite,” says Klingler. “We are equipped to handle primary care and urgent care visits, but because of our limited resources, true medical emergencies and trauma can be very challenging. Local volunteer EMTs provide support and transfer patients either by ground or air ambulance to the nearest hospital.”


With the constraints of the winter months when travel can become impossible and the demand during summer months when tourism spikes, having Klingler available to provide care is a blessing to this remote area. “People with acute illnesses or emergencies would not be able to obtain care if Amy wasn’t there,” says Dave Martin, PA-C, an instructor at the University of Idaho PA program and fellow PA who fills in for Klingler at the clinic one week every summer. For her work, Klingler was recognized as the Idaho Academy of Physician Assistants Outstanding PA in 2012.

Dave Kimpton, the president of the clinic’s board of directors, also recognizes the invaluable service Klingler provides. "Medically, she treats the whole person, including mental, physical and emotional aspects - not just the individual symptoms. She is appreciated and an asset in this remote central Idaho area, which receives over 1.5 million visitors a year. Amy is also a mother and is involved in many different organizations in the community and the surrounding valley.”

Being a part of a small, close-knit community and being able to contribute and make a difference is something Klingler always wanted. In fact, she visited this very clinic in 1999 while on vacation, before she decided to become a PA. She met the PA on staff, and after talking with him, she decided that’s what she wanted to do. So, she enrolled in PA school with every intent of working at the same clinic. “Stanley is a place where people wave at you driving down the street,” says Klingler. “I love being a part of this community. I know my patients well, and I try to provide them with the best care I can. I’m honored to get to be a part of their lives in that way.”

NCCPA salutes Amy Klingler, PA-C, for answering the call to serve in rural medicine!


Bob McMullen, EdD,   PA-C

May 29, 2017

A.T. Still University/Phoenix Allies for Community Health
Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C)

How Certified PA Bob McMullen makes a difference…

Bob McMullen, PA-C, was a paramedic when he decided to go back to school to become a PA with a desire to one day teach paramedic and PA students. He taught in the EMS training division at UT Southwestern Medical Center for four years before going into clinical practice for the next 20 years. His passion led him back to teaching in 2007. McMullen is a tireless, dedicated educator to the next generation of PAs at A.T. Still University in Mesa, AZ, where he is director of assessment. During his “spare time,” McMullen and his wife co- founded the non-profit Phoenix Allies for Community Health (PACH) Clinic, opened in 2013. PACH provides free healthcare to the community’s uninsured.

McMullen and his wife felt the calling to open the clinic due to a bill that was passed in Arizona in 2010 mandating police check immigration status with any traffic stops. During public protests of that controversial bill, he and his wife helped protestors with their medical needs (mostly heat injuries and the aftereffects of pepper spray). While assisting the protestors – many of whom were immigrants themselves -- they began developing relationships with them individually. As the protestors became comfortable with them, they began asking questions about their health, so McMullen and others started helping them “off the grid.” These patients couldn’t afford health care and feared they would be questioned by the police if they sought care at local hospitals. McMullen and PACH began providing safe healthcare at no cost to these underserved people who had none. They saw a need and stepped up and filled it.

Partnering with physician Gary Smith to form PACH, McMullen and his wife bought a house in downtown Phoenix to renovate into the clinic. They quickly outgrew it because of the large population of undocumented people and people that don’t qualify for Medicare and moved to another site two years later. McMullen recruits students, primarily PA students from A.T. Still University and pre-PA students from Arizona State University, to work in the all-volunteer clinic in return for college credit, shadowing time, and the chance to help the underserved. The clinic doesn’t use any controlled substances and has naturopathic doctors who volunteer their time using massage, acupuncture and holistic medicines to control pain.

McMullen says, “With first year PA students, I give them a chart and say go in and figure it out. Students will come out in tears after listening to patients tell their story. It teaches them to listen to the patient and ask questions. It’s often the first patient encounter of their careers, and it’s such an honor for me to be a part of this.”

PACH is funded mostly by the community, and a one-time grant of $35,000 from CVS pharmacy used to hire one employee for one year. The person they hired secured a state license allowing them to partner with Americares to receive top-tier (versus generic) prescriptions at no cost She also secured deeming for all providers with the Federal Tort Claims Act, which provides liability coverage for their volunteers.


McMullen’s passion for teaching is apparent not only at A.T. Still but also at the clinic where he encourages students to watch, participate and learn. Most of the clinic walls are white boards so they can teach both students and patients. He spends time training students in chart review with diagnosis and labs and then working through to an assessment and plan. McMullen fondly recalls the day a radiologist, who didn’t see patients and just did ultrasounds for the clinic, came to a chart review and a pre-PA student taught him how to treat diabetics and write a SOAP note.

Clinic volunteers call themselves the PACHistas. “It’s rewarding to be a part of their life-cycle of pre-PA, first-year student, graduate and then full circle to volunteer again,” says McMullen.

“He is the genuine representative of what the PA profession is by its own history: serving the underserved, extending the services of medical reach, and always doing more with less”, says colleague Josef Burwell, PA-C, himself a previous Humanitarian PA of the Year Award recipient.

Because both students and patients learn through his tireless dedication, NCCPA celebrates Bob McMullen, PA-C!


Abby Jacobson, PA-C

June 5, 2017

Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C)

How Certified PA Abby Jacobson makes a difference…

When physicians prepare for a pharmaceutical presentation or gather information to initiate a research study, they look to Abby Jacobson, PA-C, for her expertise. As the only Certified PA on a team of three physicians and two pharmacists, Jacobson exemplifies why PAs are critical components in today’s team-based healthcare model.

Jacobson showcases that “PAs know their stuff” in her role as a medical science liaison (MSL), a position typically occupied by physicians, PhDs or pharmacists. She works in the medical affairs department of a pharmaceutical company where she provides medical expertise to physician thought leaders, presents scientific data on drug study design and results to physicians, PAs and NPs, and facilitates investigator-initiated research.

Before pivoting to medical research, Jacobson spent 15 years working in dermatology at a private practice. “There’s so much of my job I could not do without the clinical background,” she said. “Without the experience I wouldn’t be able to advise world-renowned physician leaders, prepare speakers at conferences to make sure they understand all content of presentations or teach information to experts.”

She currently co-chairs a committee for the National Eczema Association and has past leadership experience serving on medical boards. She was the first PA on the medical board of the National Psoriasis Foundation, president of the Society of Dermatology PAs, and a director and House of Delegates representative for the Pennsylvania Society of PAs.

While engaged in leadership roles shaping PA practice, she’s also been deeply committed to nurturing the next generation of PAs. For about 13 years, she’s served as a guest lecturer and preceptor for multiple PA programs including her most recent appointment at the Thomas Jefferson University PA program in Philadelphia. There, she encourages students to think beyond the classroom and fill roles that showcase what PAs can do with their advanced education.

“The best promotion of the profession is to take care of patients and encourage leadership,” she said. “Seeing PAs in leadership roles made an impact on me as a student and early on in my career. I want to do the same for students and encourage them to broaden their skill sets. They can serve on university committees, medical boards and write grant proposals. I want to make them think outside their profession.”

Her career trajectory underscores the elasticity of the profession. Now, as an MSL, she’s demonstrating that PAs can bring advanced scientific and academic credentials to physicians and researchers working to ensure medications are safe and utilized effectively.

“Every day she shows that PAs have roles in all aspects of healthcare and fosters their leadership ambition,” said colleague Archana M. Sangha, MMS, PA-C. “Abby believes deeply in helping create future leaders. She is so enthusiastic about the PA profession that it’s contagious. She is the reason I am in PA leadership today.”

For her accomplishments, Jacobson received a 2015 Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Dermatology PAs, which recognizes leadership and significant contributions to strengthen the PA dermatology profession. But there are a few more ambitious items to tackle on her bucket list. She’s currently pursuing a PhD in health services with a leadership focus and plans to expand her involvement in patient advocacy groups. And every new leap gets more satisfying, she said.

“I really love being a Certified PA and our profession,” Jacobson said. “I’m proud of the role PAs can fill that aren’t related to direct patient care and want to see those opportunities continue to grow.”

NCCPA salutes Abby Jacobson, PA-C, for championing PA leadership.


Donald Clark, PA-C

June 12, 2017

Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C)

How Certified PA Donald Clark makes a difference…

Donald Clark, PA-C, makes access to comprehensive medical care convenient for his aging patients and extends care to underserved communities in metro Detroit and in Central and South America. In 2004, after working for several years in cardiology, urgent care and in primary care practices, he established his own internal medicine clinic in Garden City, Michigan, a state where Certified PAs can own their practice. There, he provides centralized access to care to patients, most of whom he’s treated for almost three decades.

Clark, who partners with two collaborating physicians, manages patients holistically. Treatment plans tap into patients’ emotional, physical and spiritual well-being as well as social determinants such as access to transportation, mobility, finances and housing. He even likes to involve family members to take a team approach to solving patients’ medical issues. Since most of his patients have complex, debilitating medical problems and are over the age of 50, he has expanded from onsite primary care to offering extended services. This includes ongoing homecare, hospital, nursing home and sub-acute rehabilitation center rounds. He follows patients from outpatient to inpatient admission and coordinates access to physical and occupational therapists, dieticians, mental health providers and social workers. He also offers some diagnostic imaging to ensure patients have easier access to testing, specialists and comprehensive healthcare. Beyond interfacing with patients, Clark devotes time and resources to research emerging standards of care to remain professionally adept and administer evidence-based medicine.

“I love assisting patients and their families as they maintain health in their good times and comfort them when they face their most difficult health problems,” he said. “Finding feasible and compassionate medical options is why I love being a Certified PA.”

Throughout several medical missions to Costa Rica and Ecuador, the fluent Spanish-speaker has brought patient-centered care to people with little to no access to health services. During these one- to two-week missions, he may treat indigenous people sequestered in the mountains or convent-bound Catholic nuns suffering from diabetes, hypertension or other chronic medical conditions.


Providing medical care to vulnerable communities outside the United States has influenced Clark’s approach to treating patients stateside. “There are parallels in underserved and aging patient populations. They both need a compassionate and loving touch as well as convenient, affordable access to care,” he said.

Clark began engraving his legacy as the first PA to work at two Beaumont Hospitals in the greater Detroit area and passes gems of wisdom to future PAs and nurse practitioners working under his wing. As a clinical preceptor, he encourages students to work in multiple clinical settings, under different preceptors and to learn a variety of specialties.

Kristen Gittins, PA-C, a former student, said: “From a short six-week rotation I had with him I observed that he quickly gains patients’ trust through his caring nature and patience. He’s made a terrific impact on me to provide the best possible care to patients and strive to be a constant learner. I think that’s the best gift a preceptor could give.”

NCCPA salutes Donald Clark, PA-C, for being an inspiring preceptor, and exemplifying how far PAs can spread value-based, quality healthcare to people of all backgrounds, ages and socioeconomic statuses.


Roberta “Berta” Garvey, PA-C

June 19, 2017

Shasta Family Care
Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C)

How Certified PA Berta Garvey makes a difference

When Berta Garvey, PA-C relocated in February, she left part of her heart and a legacy of healthier living behind in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Her former colleagues there say Garvey’s brand of medicine extended beyond the walls of the Cascades East Family Medicine Clinic. As an advocate for “wellcare,” a locally-coined reference to healthcare, she promoted healthier living strategies for the rural, medically underserved town of Klamath Falls. The small timber community, home to less than 25,000 people, has a fair number of primary care providers but faces shortages of specialty providers.

With only a small network of specialty medical professionals, those working in primary care render care within their expertise and use alternative methods, such as telemedicine, to connect patients with other providers when needed. A North Dakota native, Garvey had seen primary care practitioners “go above and beyond for their patients” and wanted to provide that type of patient experience herself. She broke barriers as the first PA to become involved in the clinic’s residency program and followed it up by becoming the resident expert on the treatment of Hepatitis C. During her tenure, she also worked as one of four daily medical providers in the practice while residents and faculty doctors rotated in and out of the clinic.

“I wanted to work in primary care in a rural area, and Klamath Falls was a great fit for me,” she said. “The scope of practice is broader in a rural setting, which I find more exciting. As a PA, I was a big part of a small community.”


As a family medicine PA, she promoted preventative care and treated patients with life threatening medical issues ranging from the acute to the chronic. After work, she traded her white coat for wheels in weekly bicycle rides, an initiative she led in support of the Blue Zones Project, a movement dedicated to promoting a citywide cultural shift to healthier living. She’s also been involved in the residency programs’ campaigns to support community well-being, including a dog-walking initiative to encourage fun physical activity.

Garvey also sowed seeds to replenish primary care providers in the area. She hosted and interviewed residency candidates and worked alongside residents showcasing a Certified PA’s range of capabilities. She is credited for creating a warm, social environment for residents, which encouraged many graduates to remain and work in the community. As a result, more people are getting the care they need.

“Berta worked with residents daily, which helped them understand, by experience, the capabilities of a PA and fully appreciate the integrative team approach to medicine even after graduation,” said friend and former colleague Brooke Smith, PA-C. “She has been an asset to our community and the PA profession.”

In February, Garvey moved to Mount Shasta, California to be closer to family. That area – with an even greater need for medical providers than Klamath Falls – allows her to continue practicing in rural health. At the Shasta Family Clinic, she said she’ll continue to bring her brand of “wellcare” to the clinic, which serves a city of less than 5,000 people.

Beyond Garvey’s medical qualifications, Smith said she thinks her former colleague’s welcoming personality will aid in her transition. “If you got the chance to meet her, you’d like her,” she said.

NCCPA salutes Berta Garvey, PA-C, for fostering a sense of community and promoting healthier living in underserved areas.


David Parsons, PA-C

June 26, 2017

Medina Memorial Hospital and Niagara County Jail
Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C)

How Certified PA David Parsons makes a difference

Between working full-time in a local emergency department and part-time at the Niagara County Jail, David Parsons, PA-C, finds time to provide free medical care to people of poverty stricken areas in Haiti.

As founder and president of the non-profit organization S.I.G.N. (Serving in God’s Name), Parsons coordinates medical missions to Haiti up to two times per year. The faith-based organization promotes essential healthcare services to include preventative, urgent, primary, pediatric, and maternal care accessible to patients in urban and rural communities.

Founded shortly after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Parsons has treated a range of simple and complex cases for hundreds of patients, some who travel overnight by foot to visit the clinic. Parsons and his team typically treat patients with infectious diseases, diabetes, hypertension and secondary illnesses due to HIV and AIDS; they make house calls for the elderly and incapacitated.

In a country where the leading cause of death for women is pregnancy and the cost of antibiotics is too expensive for the average patient, Parsons’ mobile clinic applies direct pressure to a country hemorrhaging from a massive shortage of medical providers and barriers to quality healthcare.

“Many don’t have access to simple needs like immunizations or medications and typically don’t have the means to attend follow-up appointments,” he said. “In some areas they don’t have access to healthcare at all.”

The medical missions last 7 to 12 days with a cast of medical professionals based on mission needs and availability of volunteers. Teams have included physicians, PAs, NPs, nurses, pharmacists, massage therapists, chiropractors and even medical students.

Though he’s faced challenging cases in Haiti, some of his toughest cases are stateside, where he provides medical care to inmates at the Niagara County Jail.

“A lot of them have significant medical histories,” Parsons said. “Many don’t take care of themselves when they’re not incarcerated or are non-compliant with their medication. Once they leave, they tend not to follow up with local medical providers, and it becomes a revolving door. It takes a while to correct that behavior.”

Parsons also works overnights as the sole medical provider in Medina Memorial Hospital's emergency department. Atop these professional commitments, he captures time with his wife and four kids – a balancing act many working parents can relate to.


With a complex schedule, he juggles it all in the name of service, and his decision to become a PA is one where he can live out his faith through his actions.

“When I come to work every day I pray I can be a blessing to the people I treat and people I work with,” he said. “Sometimes patient populations can be difficult to work with, but sometimes I make a difference. I rejoice in seeing people turn their lives around and move towards healthier lifestyles.”

Friend Virginia Kaufman, PA-C, adds: “David is an excellent PA who saves and changes the lives of underserved people. His dedication to the PA profession is evident through his actions to help those in need.”

Even though he admits the tempo can be strenuous, he’s fueled by selfless service. Through his work he searches for opportunities to humble himself, foster relationships and address medical needs. These are commitments he never gets tired of fulfilling.

NCCPA salutes David Parsons, PA-C, for leading medical missions to Haiti and serving populations with the most urgent medical needs.


Donna Seton, PA-C

July 3, 2017

Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center
Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C)

How Certified PA Donna Seton makes a difference

Donna Seton, PA-C, is the chief PA in hospice and palliative medicine at Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona where she provides critical end-of-life and advance care planning and also engages in strategic interdisciplinary planning. She is the only PA on the palliative care team at the Phoenix VA and has taken on a leadership role in education as a palliative and end-of-life care certified trainer, responsible for training other team members.

Since 2009, Seton has practiced palliative medicine – an area with a projected provider shortage of nearly 18,000 vacancies due to America’s aging population. Seton educates medical students, residents, and PA students about palliative care, both as a preceptor and a guest lecturer at several universities in the Greater Phoenix area. She previously served a three-year term as chair of all PAs in the Phoenix VA Healthcare System and served as a PA representative to the PA Professional Standards Board, which is responsible for appointments, promotions, and advancements as well as preliminary scope of practice approvals. She holds a leadership role in PAs in Hospice and Palliative Medicine (PAHPM) and has been active in promoting legislation related to PAs and palliative care.

“Donna exemplifies the PA leader,” said Danielle Kempton, PA-C, a friend and colleague. “She has carved out a role as a valuable member of the palliative care team, increasing the scope of practice for PAs in the VA system. She has demonstrated her expertise by becoming an educator, not just of PAs, but of physicians, nurses and other members of the care team. She has brought attention on a larger scale to the importance of end of life care and the ability of the PA to function in this capacity.”


Seton advocates for legislative change both locally and nationally in service to her commitment to patient advocacy and making a difference in the lives of her patients. One of the legislative efforts she’s supporting is the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), a federal bill calling for increased palliative care and hospice training for health care professionals, a national campaign to inform patients and families about the benefits of palliative care, and enhanced research on improving the delivery of palliative care.

“This bill aims to educate providers on how to have better end-of-life discussions with their patients,” said Seton. “As providers, it’s our role to ensure our patients have the best quality of time with whatever time they have. We need to talk with patients about what they understand about the disease process, determine what is an acceptable quality of life for them based on their values and priorities, coordinate medical support they may need, and support their overall goals of care.”

Though the work can be emotionally draining at times, Seton said it’s tremendously rewarding. However, PAs looking to enter the specialty must understand that breaking bad news is a skill that must be learned and continuously honed. Patient stories will affect providers, and they should practice and maintain self-care to prevent burnout. She credits her own experience working in specialties such as urology, internal medicine (both outpatient and inpatient) and urgent care with providing additional invaluable experience she finds helpful for her work in palliative medicine.

“It’s a fantastic field growing every year,” she said. “We know PAs can work in palliative care, and as efforts continue to advocate for expanding the hiring and use of PAs in the specialty, more positions will become available. With the advanced education and experience afforded by the flexibility of the career field, PAs can bring their knowledge and skills to palliative care teams and be part of the solution to improving delivery of care for our patients throughout their lifespans.”

NCCPA salutes Donna Seton, PA-C, for leading in palliative medicine.

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