When meeting with a physician assistant at work or in other professional settings, it’s important to use the right terminology and address the individual appropriately. This is true for anyone working in a business setting, whether an employee or a visitor. In many cases, job titles can be rather confusing and hard to understand. If you are not sure what to call someone as a professional or how to address them as a colleague, read on for some useful tips. Keep reading also if you want to know how to address a physician assistant at work. Using the correct terminology shows professionalism, respect, and demonstrates your understanding of their role in the company. A strong vocabulary can also help you advance your career without worrying about social faux pas when dealing with co-workers and supervisors alike.
What is a Physician Assistant?
A physician assistant (PA) is an allied health professional who practices medicine under the supervision of a physician. PAs practice in all areas of medicine, including primary care and specialties, and are independent practitioners who can diagnose patients, write prescriptions, order diagnostic tests, and write treatment plans. They work in both hospital and non-hospital settings, suchas physician group practices, health departments, urgent care centers, private medical group practices, nursing homes, and other health facilities. Physician assistants can also be primary care providers in rural areas where there are shortages of physicians. They can provide a wide range of services under the supervision of a physician, including diagnosis, administering vaccines, and writing prescriptions.
How Do You Address A Physician Assistant?
When addressing a physician assistant at work, the individual’s title is important.
- If the person has a D.P.A. (doctor of physician assistant) or P.A. (physician assistant) after their name, you should use “Dr.” or “Mr.” or “Ms.” (not “Miss” or “Mrs.” which are traditionally only applied to women).
- If the physician assistant has a D.M.D. (doctor of dental medicine) or D.O. (doctor of osteopathic medicine) after their name at work, use “Doctor.” If the individual has an M.S. (master of science) or Ph.D. (doctor of philosophy) after their name at work, use “Miss” or “Mr.” (not Doctor).
Respecting Formality and Professional Vocabulary
- The language you use when addressing a physician assistant and other physicians, including the physician assistant’s supervisor, should be formal and respectful.
- When greeting the physician assistant, use “Hello” or “Good day” as opposed to “Hey” or “Hello there.”
- When thanking the physician assistant for something, use “Thank you” or “Thank you for your assistance” as opposed to “Thanks for the help.”
- When taking part in an email exchange with a physician assistant, you may want to use “Dear” before the physician assistant’s name and your own name.
- When you are concluding the exchange, use “Sincerely” or “Regards” before your name. When speaking with someone on the phone who you do not know, it is also important to use formal language.
- When you introduce yourself, use “Hello, my name is ___________.” When responding to the physician assistant’s questions, avoid slang words, such as “Awesome” and “Crazy.” Instead, use “Great” and “Interesting.”
Tips For Meeting A Physician Assistant
Be a Good Listener
If you are a good listener, you’re well on your way to a great meeting with your new PA. After all, the person you’re meeting with has spent years honing their craft.
- They have seen and handled countless problems and ailments. You don’t know anything about those issues, so you should be respectful enough to hear them out.
- Listen to what they have to say, take it in, and ask any follow-up questions that arise.
- You’ll quickly get a grasp on what this person’s role is within the office and how best to work with them.
- You’ll also show your doctor that you’re a thoughtful and considerate person, which can’t hurt.
Bring a Support Person With You
Even if you’re not a person who typically brings a support person to medical appointments, it might be a good idea to do so at your first PA meeting.
- This is especially true if you’re seeing your PA for a sensitive issue or something that’s emotionally charged. You might want to bring a loved one or a friend who can act as a sounding board and help you through the appointment.
- After all, your physician assistant is a medical professional. They are bound by certain rules and obligations that might prevent them from giving you the kind of support you really need.
- A friend or loved one, on the other hand, can be a great source of comfort. In fact, it might help to think of your support person as a therapist and you as the patient. You control what you want to say and how much you want to share.
Ask for a quick run-through of your appointment before you arrive.
If you’re meeting with your physician assistant for the first time, ask for a short synopsis of the appointment before you go in.
- This isn’t a time for you to grill the PA about their education, experience, or credentials.
- It’s a time for you to get a quick rundown of what the appointment will entail. What time will you arrive? What exactly will happen when you get there? What should you expect after the appointment?
- These are things you should know before you go in. There’s nothing worse than feeling super nervous or anxious without knowing why.
- It’s also a good idea to ask what you should bring with you to the appointment.=
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
- Asking questions during your meeting with your PA is not only acceptable, it’s expected.
- You are the person being treated here, so you should be comfortable enough to ask the questions that arise in your mind.
- This is a great way to get to know your physician assistant better and get a better understanding of their approach to your treatment.
- Challenge yourself to ask questions that are outside the usual “where do you go to school?” and “what made you want to become a PA?” It might feel weird at first, but these personal questions often lead to the best insights and meeting takeaways.
Check-in with your PA after each meeting to give feedback
- After every meeting with your physician assistant, take a moment to check in with yourself. How did the appointment go? What do you feel was successful about the meeting? What do you think could be improved? These are questions you should ask yourself honestly and seriously.
- This is a great way for you to give your physician assistant real, actionable feedback. It’s also a way for you to keep yourself accountable and ensure that your appointments are providing you with the care you need.
- After all, they are your medical team. They are there to help you get and stay healthy. The more you let them know what you need and want, the better the experience will be for you.
A physician assistant is a very important part of any healthcare team. They are highly trained professionals who are crucial in providing care for patients. When addressing a physician assistant, it is important to use the correct terminology and to use formal language. It is also important to show respect for the physician assistant’s time and to avoid slang terms.