Steven Zurlinden, PA-C

When Certified PA Steven Zurlinden began PA school very little was known about this relatively new profession. He obtained his undergraduate degree in biology and his masters in physiology but felt his calling was in medicine. While working on his master’s degree, he met a PA for the first time, which set him on the path of becoming a PA himself.

Zurlinden chose to study at the University of Alabama because it was a surgical PA program —the area of medicine that interested him most. He has been a surgical PA since, always in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery.

Zurlinden works tirelessly for both his patients and surgeons, and nothing is more important than the well-being and care of his patients. He spends approximately 50% of his time in the operating room assisting in surgery. The rest of his time is spent in all aspects of clinical care, from admission through the period of outpatient follow up.

He now sees an average of 70 patients a week and performs 1-2 surgeries a day. Being in a smaller practice, he can spend more time honing his new-found passion of education. With his 37 years of experience, he enjoys passing on his knowledge to both his patients and peers.

His colleagues say that Zurlinden’s level of patient care is unmatched; he always makes himself available to his patients to make sure they are getting the best care. “Steve exemplifies what it is to be the best in the PA profession. His knowledge base and experience are unparalleled, and as a fellow PA he makes me strive to do better,” says colleague Lauren Clear, PA-C. Being available to staff, particularly new staff, and educating them on the job is an important part of his daily routine.

As a surgical PA, Zurlinden enjoys the technical challenges of cardiovascular surgery and finds it rewarding to see patients benefit so quickly from the team’s work. He loves the team effort that helps bring a patient through a serious problem, and he is quick to acknowledge that no one person can do it alone.

Zurlinden says: “Being a cardiac PA all these years has been a very demanding but an incredibly rewarding career. Like other PAs, I’ve had the privilege and responsibility to make a difference in so many lives in so many ways. I wouldn't trade it".