Celebrating Physician Assistant Week

Physician Assistant Week is Oct. 6-12, which recognizes the PA profession and its contributions to the nation’s health. To celebrate the work of PAs, we hear from Kevin Wyne, MPAS, MSc, PA-C, a faculty associate in the school’s Physician Assistant Program. Wyne is a PA who has worked in emergency medicine for the last 16 years and is currently employed with Madison Emergency Physicians, in addition to teaching in SMPH.

Photo of Kevin Wyne, a faculty associate in the SMPH PA programQ: What does being a PA mean to you?
Wyne: My work allows me to interact with patients and their families at times when they are feeling quite vulnerable. I work in emergency medicine and very seldom is anyone having a good day when they end up in the ED. Often our patients are in pain and are anxious about what is happening to them or their loved ones. I like the opportunity to help people in a very tangible way, whether that is fixing a laceration or splinting a broken bone. We’re also the ones solving diagnostic problems, communicating results, and then helping the patients and their families navigate their next steps since the ED is often the gateway to our healthcare system. We’re there 24/7, in the dead of night, on weekends or holidays, and at any other time when we might be needed. I like working with a team in a place where we will do our best to care for you regardless of your insurance status or ability to pay.

Q: Why are PAs so vital in healthcare and communities?
Wyne: The role of the PA on the healthcare team has grown a great deal in the last 50 years. As the needs of healthcare system have evolved, PAs have been increasingly used to extend the care traditionally only provided by physicians. This includes into areas where there is a shortage of providers, including in many rural areas of Wisconsin. PAs are intelligent, thoughtful, and empathetic providers who are trained to work effectively with other members of the healthcare team and clearly communicate with patients and their families. Our training is rigorous and studies show that PAs provide excellent care.

Q: Why is being a PA a rewarding profession?
Wyne: As a PA, I have the opportunity to care for patients and their families while working in close collaboration with dedicated physicians, nurses, and other members of the healthcare team. There are many opportunities on every ED shift to positively impact my patients. The work is hard and the challenges of the pandemic have definitely made it much harder, but this role provides a tremendous opportunity to be of service and there is no where I would rather be.