LMU Recognizes Physician Assistants as Essential to Health Care
The faculty, staff, and students at the Lincoln Memorial University-School of Medical Sciences (LMU-SMS) are proud to celebrate National Physician Assistant (PA) Week Oct. 6-12 with alumni and all PAs working to provide quality health care across the nation.
“Every year we celebrate National PA Week, but this year is unique in that it falls during a global pandemic,” said Mark Moran, DMS, PA-C, vice president and dean for LMU-SMS. “Our alumni have had to step up in significant ways and are battling COVID-19 on the front lines. PAs have been testing, treating and diagnosing patients throughout the pandemic and have demonstrated how flexible, adaptable, collaborative and how very essential they are.”
There are more than 140,000 PAs in the U.S., practicing in every state, and in every medical setting and specialty. PAs in every specialty or setting have put their health at risk every day to care for their patients during this challenging time.
PAS ARE ESSENTIAL in battling the pandemic.
Shreeda Sheth, PA-C, graduated from LMU with a Master of Medical Sciences in Physician Assistant Studies in 2012. Sheth is from Elmhurst, New York, and has been working in the emergency department at Harlem Hospital in New York City throughout the pandemic. New York City has been one of the hardest hit cities in the nation for COVID-19, and Harlem Hospital was no exception.
“These were some of the hardest days I’ve been through as a physician assistant,” said Sheth. “We were given autonomy by the governor to treat COVID patients. My fellow colleagues and I did everything in our power for every patient, including intubations, central lines, high flow oxygen administration, or just comfort care.”
As a physician assistant, Sheth is an essential part of the health care team. Through this experience she says she learned how important each person is on a health care team.
“I would not have been able to do this without the support of my team including nurses, PCAs, housekeeping and attendings,” said Sheth. “When I got home my PA colleagues from LMU were there to support me mentally on Zoom videos. I am thankful for the family I gained from PA school and for my family at Harlem Hospital.”
PAS ARE ESSENTIAL in the operating room.
Physician assistants are essential, not only during COVID-19 but every day in a variety of specialties. Drew Anders, PA-C, graduated from LMU’s physician assistant program in 2015 and works as in orthopedic trauma surgery.
“I assisted in nearly 1800 operating room cases in last year, numerous consults, numerous office patients and countless bedside procedures,” Anders said.” If you don’t like blood, bones, long hours, and lack of sleep, this job isn’t for you.”
Approximately 26% of certified PAs practice in surgery. Of these, approximately 3% practice in general surgery. PAs with training in surgical practice can improve patient access to safe, evidence-based and cost-effective surgical care. To meet the growing need for PAs practicing in surgery, LMU developed a second PA program with advanced training in surgical skills. The program welcomed its inaugural class to LMU-Knoxville Oct. 1, 2020.
PAS ARE ESSENTIAL in the classroom.
Sonia Rupani, PA-C, DMS has been a certified physician assistant for a little over a decade in family practice and urgent care. Rupani recalls hearing the phrase, “We are lifelong learners,” throughout her time as a PA student, and to her it made sense. She remembers her mother telling her, “Continue learning and educating yourself even when you are 100 years old. A person with good education, pure intentions, and a clean heart can benefit his/her family, community and the world.”
Rupani decided to further her medical education by entering the rigorous Doctor of Medical Science clinical track program at LMU.
“Joining the full-time program and working clinically and then in academia made me question my decision, as I had minimal time for my family,” said Rupani. “However, it was all worth my time and effort to see the positive changes in my patient care and medical knowledge.”
Rupani serves as the director of clinical education for LMU’s newest PA program at LMU-Knoxville. In August 2020, she passed the National Asthma Educator Certification Exam offered by the NAECB, becoming the second certified physician assistant Asthma Educator (AE-C) in the State of Tennessee. She has a passion for teaching has vested her interest in preparing the next generation of PAs.
For more information about the LMU-SMS PA programs, visit www.LMUnet.edu/SMS.
Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423.869.6280 or email at [email protected].