One of the most common questions I get asked by people considering the PA profession is if I feel that I have enough "autonomy" as a PA. I take that to mean that they are seeking to better understand the relationship that exists between a PA and the Supervising Physician, so I wanted to share my experience and unique insight of the nitty-gritty of my physician relationships in surgery, so that there can be a better understanding of the kind of relationships PAs have and have had with physicians, as well as how our relationship is evolving, legislatively speaking.
When asked whether I believe I am satisfied with the amount of "autonomy", My answer is always an emphatic YES.
Personally, I am most happy providing exceptional patient care as being a part of a high-performance medical team with physician/surgeon leadership. I truly enjoy the permanent mentorship with my supervising docs, and over the years have come to really value the trust that my supervising docs place upon me. It's an honor to be one of the select few people they trust to handle delicate patient care scenarios on their behalf, as a part of their team.
Because I'm a PA, I have the freedom and flexibility to practice across all specialties. In my case, I have the unique opportunity to operate with multiple surgeons, across several surgical subspecialties, which not even many surgeons get to do after they graduate from residency and/or fellowship! I think this is one of the coolest things for me.
This freedom has given me the unique opportunity to work with multiple surgeons across many specialties. Because of that, I've had the privilege of learning how things get done at the programs where they trained, which to me is a bit like having those famous academic centers come to me, and for a surgery nerd like me, it's a dream!
Quite a few of my attending surgeons have trained in some of the top surgical training programs in the country and as a perpetual surgery aficionado, I absolutely love absorbing all they have to teach.
I love hearing stories about them working with some of history's most famous and decorated surgeons. Sometimes I can even distinguish where the surgeon has trained, just by recognizing their surgical techniques!