Physician Assistant/Health Educator: Name Change for PAs and NPs ?






Peace be to you all (AsSalama’laikum)! I have been a medically licensed Physician Assistant for almost 17 years. As a young man, I remember being very concerned about the word “assistant ” in the “PA” title. It actually dissuaded me from pursuing it as a major during my initial college sojourn some 30 years ago. I NOW take great pride in the term “assistant”. While I do feel I have more of a collegueal relationship with the MD/DO s with whom I work (could be my middle-aged status 😉), I see nothing wrong with being referred to as the “Assistant”. I take TREMENDOUS pride in my work as well as in my profession. I am quite happy to assist, or if you like, “associate with”, the hard-working M.D.s /D.O.s . I enjoy a GREAT deal of autonomy, it is intellectually challenging AND,the pay is AMAZING! I make more in one hour than what I USED to make as a Certified Nursing Assistant working an entire day! At this time, I don’t know that a name change would necessarily be the best thing for our 50 year old profession (“Physician Associate” maybe?)🤔. Then again, it MAY more accurately describe our working relationship with our Supervising Doctors. I have asked NP s the same question about a name change for their profession and received mixed responses. However, I also understand that the dynamics of their relationship with patients, Medical Doctors and PA s MAY be deferent (especially depending on the setting). Every so often, the “PA name change” issue is presented during Physician Assistant conferences. I wonder if this distracts from more pertinent issues concerning the PA profession (e.g. lack of Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and First Nation people in the profession, skyrocketing cost of PA school tuition, reimbursement issues, expanding roles for PAs, meeting the needs of a burgeoning elderly population, PA programs closing, etc.). I want to know what you guys think? Should PAs and NPs seriously pursue changing the names of their respective professions?
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