During National PA Week from Friday to Oct. 12, Paris Community Hospital/Family Medical Center will recognize services that its physician assistants provide to the community as the profession celebrates 50 years.

This year’s national theme is “Trusted for 50 Years, Ready for 50 More.”

PAs are nationally certified and state-licensed medical professionals. They, along with family nurse practitioners, are the primary providers at the EZ Care walk-in clinic. They include: Jacqueline Coffman, PA-C; Jolena Martin, PA-C; Matt Woodruff, PA-C; and Steve Martin, PA-C, EZ manager.

PAs undergo rigorous medical training. They must take a test in general medicine to be licensed and certified. They must graduate from an accredited PA program and pass a certification exam. They complete more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations in family medicine; internal medicine; obstetrics and gynecology; pediatrics; general surgery; emergency medicine; and psychiatry.

Like physicians and nurse practitioners, PAs must complete extensive continuing medical education throughout their careers.

According to the American Academy of PAs, there are more than 115,500 PAs nationwide. The demand for PAs increased more than 300 percent from 201 to 2014, according to the healthcare search firm Merritt Hawkins. 

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