Kristin Perrine, PA(ASCP)CM
AAPA member since 2011
"As the only PA in a community hospital setting, I have many opportunities to promote the profession. This is easy for me, because I am passionate about what I do and love to share it with others! One of my favorite ways to do this is to provide job shadowing experiences to prospective PA students. I am grateful that my hospital is very supportive of student observations, and I have been able to share the profession with several students over the years. The hospital also hosts high school groups for tours. When these tours include pathology, it is a joy to tell them a bit about what PAs do, and show them around the lab.
Last year, I had the opportunity to present at career day for a local elementary school. I took in several teaching specimens and a gallstone collection to show them. I also made Rice Krispie treat 'specimens' that had gummy 'tumors' inside of them, so the students could have the chance to dissect (and then eat) their own specimen. They bisected the specimen, described the color of the tumor, measured the tumor and distance to the margin, and referred to a chart to find out the diagnosis.
Besides promoting the profession to students who might one day become a PA, I also spend a lot of time promoting the profession within my own hospital system. There are many people who do not know that we exist, let alone what we do. I am quick to explain what a PA does to anybody who will listen and does not already know, including once to the president of the hospital! I also keep in regular contact with the OR managers and provide in service education to OR staff. One of the best ways I have found to promote the profession internally is to regularly attend the Multidisciplinary Cancer Conferences. This gives me the chance to be seen by the surgeons as a part of the patient care team, learn more about upcoming surgeries, and chat with surgeons afterwards. I also invite surgeons to come to the gross room whenever they want, which is a great way to show them the care that we take with each specimen (as well as just how many dips it takes to stain a frozen section slide).
An advantage that I have, living and working in a small community, is that I often run into surgeons and other doctors socially. This gives me the opportunity to explain what we do, the required education, and how much responsibility we have for patient care. Whether I am talking with a doctor in the gross room, the conference room, the church lobby, or over nachos at a Super Bowl party, I never miss the opportunity to answer their questions and make sure they know what I, as a PA, do for their patients."
Are you a PA promoting the profession? Do you present at conferences to spread the word about PAs? Offer job shadowing opportunities? Educate students on what it takes to become a pathologists' assistant? We want to share your story! Send us a summary describing how you promote the PA profession and one or two high-resolution photos, and you may be our next featured member! Alternately, if you know a colleague who goes above and beyond to spread awareness of PAs and their role in the lab, submit a nomination for your fellow member to be featured next!