A great physician’s assistant can be a lifesaver in a busy practice. Having a staff member who can share the burden of primary care, evaluation, patient education, and follow up will free you to deal with complex cases and allow your team to provide an exceptional experience for all of your patients. Here are ten indispensable skills and qualities to look for in your next hire.
Strong clinical skills should be a given, but bedside manner should run deep. Physician’s assistants should have a deep commitment to patient well-being and an ability to put themselves into other people’s shoes.
2. Effective communication skills
When dealing with patients, reporting to senior staff, or directing subordinates, strong communication is fundamental. The ability to gather and share information respectfully, accurately, and clearly is an absolute must.
3. Grace under pressure
A physician’s assistant is often exposed to challenging situations. Look for a talent for dealing with emergencies, the confidence to make decisions when things get tough, and strong coping skills for dealing with stress on the job.
4. Critical thinking skills
Diagnosis and problem solving are two of the biggest parts of a physician’s assistant’s job. The ability to think clearly, logically, and constructively, no matter what the circumstances, is essential.
5. Detail-oriented nature
Your physician’s assistant deals with an enormous volume of information, and is often responsible for documenting and relaying important specifics of each patient’s case to the doctor. Small mistakes can be lethal, so absolute attention to detail is required.
Confidence is vital, but knowing your limits is just as important. With the power and responsibility of working independently much of the time, physician’s assistants must have the ability to ask for help whenever they are unsure of a situation.
7. A love of learning
A thirst for knowledge is a valuable trait in a physician’s assistant. A candidate who takes responsibility for their continuing education shows deep commitment to their profession and their patients, and will become a valuable asset to your practice.
8. Respect for confidentiality
While working as a physician’s assistant, candidates will be party to a great deal of privileged information about patients, and must abide by the same standards of confidentiality as a doctor.
9. Strong teamwork
Your physician’s assistant holds a unique place in the center of your team, and will interact with colleagues at every level. An assistant’s ability to integrate seamlessly in a team, act with respect for everyone, and deal with conflict constructively will have a big impact on how your staff operates.
10. A sense of humor
If your assistant can see the joy in mundane situations, find pleasure in the absurdities of practice life, and deal with inconveniences with a smile, you’ve found a treasure. The morale of both staff and patients can be hugely influenced by a positive attitude.
The role of physician’s assistant requires a huge amount of responsibility, but it also takes a special kind of person. When you’re interviewing new graduates from physician’s assistant programs, choosing the best candidate is more complex than simply looking at grades. If you can take the time to find the perfect fit for your practice, everyone will benefit.