Physician assistants aid hospital, patients Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 February 2014
By Maj. Ethan Brooks
Special to GUIDON

General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital serves as a training facility by hosting Interservice Physician Assistant Program students, in addition to caring for enrolled active- duty, Family members and retirees.

The 13-month phase-two IPAP training on Fort Leonard Wood follows 16 months at the Army Medical Department Center and School in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where students complete more than 95 credit hours, leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in health science.

Upon graduation at Fort Leonard Wood, students receive a Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the University of Nebraska and are commissioned into the Army Medical Specialty Corps.

The program challenges students as they rotate through all major areas of medical care. Students are continually evaluated by hospital faculty, and must complete written exams for each specialty rotation.

“As a prior medic, I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge, and this program has been like drinking from a fire hose,” said Nathaniel Fielding, officer candidate and a physician assistant student.

In addition to required rotations, PA students must complete a four-component, directed study course which also includes the presentation of their master’s level thesis and professional and medical topic presentations, as well as a performance-based evaluation of their professional attributes.

“This is a great place to learn,” Fielding said. “At larger hospitals, we’re competing with other students. We get a lot more one-on-one time with our mentors here.”

Fort Leonard Wood’s hospital typically hosts seven to 10 physician assistant students per year. These students can be seen training with their physician mentors throughout the various hospital clinics here.

Certified Physician Assistants bring a breadth of knowledge and skills to patient care and are licensed health care professionals.

The role of the physician assistant in your patient-centered team is determined in consultation with the supervising physician.

Certified PAs can take histories, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret  tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, write prescriptions, and perform a variety of other procedures.

ImageThere is an ongoing need for medical doctors in both the military and civilian health care systems. Well-trained physician assistants extend our ability to provide quality, timely care to the patients we serve. Our physician assistant students learn and work in a team-based environment which compliments the Army’s new Patient-Centered Medical Home concept.

(Editor’s note: Brooks is an orthopedic physician assistant and IPAP Phase II clinical coordinator at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital.)
Last Updated ( Friday, 21 February 2014 )