A Day in the Life of a Primary Care/Urgent Care PA: Eve Massarsky, PA-C

This is the first of a new blog series! Our “A Day in the Life of a PA” series will include PAs from all different backgrounds and specialties. One of the best things about being a PA is that we can change specialties easily. This series will highlight the everyday life of a PA in their field, and hopefully, will answer some questions for those looking to learn about different specialties.

Eve and I go way (wayyyyy) back to PA school! We attended the UF PA program together and have kept in contact since. She currently works in a primary and urgent care setting and was so awesome to share her experience and give PAs a little insight into what it’s like to work in a family practice. She is one of the most energetic and caring people, I’m excited to share her story with you.

Tell us a little about yourself, which PA program you graduated from and when you graduated.

I graduated from the University of Florida PA Program, 2011.  GO GATORS!!!

What is your current specialty and why did you choose it?

Family Medicine/Primary Care- but we have urgent care and internal medicine built in. I chose this specialty for many reasons. A major one is because I love seeing a variety of issues throughout the day, less monotony.  It also helps keep me up to date on the latest Evidence Based Medicine recommendations as well as encourages me to stay up to date on multiple aspects of medicine. I also really enjoy the long-term follow up with and the connection we make with patients.

What type of environment do you work in (hospital, clinic, administration, or a mix)?

I work in an outpatient clinic with 2 doctors. We are a part of a large Hospital system.

What is your schedule like? Do you work Monday through Friday, weekends, holidays, night shifts?

Currently, I work Monday-Friday. I have holidays off and weekends now too.  However, my first and second year, I had to work Saturday clinic in an urgent care setting.

Do you take call?

Not currently, but I used to as well for about 2 years.

Describe a typical day like for you? Do you start in a clinic or hospital setting, do you stay there for the entire day? What time do you start and finish?

I work all day in the outpatient clinic setting. My “patient hours” are 8 to 5 but I am always in earlier and staying later to finish work.

Are you an hourly or salaried employee? Do you think your wage is comparable to your specialty in your location?

I am a salaried employee. Yes, I do, and the good thing is I work for a large company so they always go off of “fair market value”. I also use the AAPA annual salary report for comparison.

How autonomous are you, what types of things do you involve your supervising physician for and what do you do on your own? Is this typical for your specialty or more specific to your situation?

I would say I am as autonomous as I want to be. Both of my physicians trust in me enough that I only send them notes that I feel they “should” or “would want” to review. As far as running patients with them, its usually only ones that are very complicated or ones that could use “an extra look” or a second opinion or a second set of eyes- and that’s usually for the benefit of the patient.  Both physicians I work with are there if I have a question, but both have never questioned me on something I have done, so in that way, I feel autonomous in my clinical decision making and patient care. With meds, the only ones I have them sign still are any schedule II drugs as I feel they’d want to know those are being dispensed especially with the new opioid law, and that is actually a personal preference of mine and not something that has to be universal.
This all may be typical for my specialty but I actually think it has more to do with years of experience affecting how autonomous you are able to be/feel.

Do you currently participate in any administrative tasks or have a leadership position, formal or informal? Do you think this augments or hinders your other responsibilities?

Currently, I accompany one of my doctors to her leadership meetings and participate by adding views from a midlevel aspect. I am in the process of applying for my own position on one of the administrative committee boards as they have recently added seats for advanced practice providers. I don’t feel this will hinder my normal responsibilities at all as the meetings are after work and the committee boards I am looking to join have a lot to do with my day to day functions.

What advice would you give to a PA who is considering working in your specialty?

I would advise shadowing as much as possible so you really get a feel for what we do. I feel like for some reason there are a lot of misconceptions regarding Primary Care / Family Practice in regards to what we do. A lot of us including myself have internal medicine and Urgent Care mixed in so we get a nice variety. Also, be ready to know a lot about a lot and see something different in each room. Be ready to be responsible for EVERYTHING. We are the first line, people come to us first, and for it all. You will be amazed what you see and learn in just one day.

What is the one thing you wish PAs in other specialties knew before calling or referring to your practice?

Well, since we are the primary we do the referring. I would say the biggest thing is by the time I have referred somebody out, I have done a lot of the work up and baseline testing. Please just take a second and take a look at what we’ve done because a lot of times I find that patients are getting repeat or duplicate testing that we have already completed and that ends up costing them more money or not being covered altogether. Also, don’t be afraid to call us about a patient as most of the time we know them well, and I can’t think of anybody that I work with that wouldn’t be happy to get on the phone for a quick consult for the benefit of the patient.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I am fortunate enough to work for a very large company that respects their advanced practice providers and holds us to a high standard just like the physicians. I am also fortunate to work in an office with 2 doctors who treat me like an equal.  I am proud to be a PA and find that most of the patients not only know what we are and what we do but expect and like to see PA’s working alongside/with their PCPs.

A BIG thank you to Eve for sharing her experience, and being brave enough to be the first post in this series! I’m so thankful to have gone through such a great PA program with her, and glad we’ve kept in contact. I hope what she shared as a family medicine PA gives some insight into her specialty.

-Courtney

 

Courtney
Physician Assistant, Owner and Blogger at EmpoweredPAs.com. Currently practicing in a Pediatric Emergency Department, overseeing and developing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines with teams of amazing people, supporting and mentoring Pre-PA and PA Students, with a hope to advance our profession and give PAs the tools and resouces they need to advance their careers.