Canada Celebrates PA Day!

Today, November 27th, our neighbors to the north celebrate PA day throughout their country! Anne Dang, a PA, and amazing advocate for our profession (and a fantastic blogger) is our our guest post today, and has been kind enough to shed some light about The PA profession in Canada!

November 27 is National PA Day in Canada! #CanadaNeedsPAs

I’m Anne, an Orthopaedic Surgery PA working privately for a physician a small community hospital in Ontario Canada.

I graduated from the McMaster PA program in Hamilton, Ontario Canada in 2011, as part of the second class of students to have come out of the program. Ontario had just introduced the PA profession in civilian setting in 2006 with a pilot project. In 2008, McMaster launched the first PA program in Ontario. 

At the time I had signed up for the program, Ontario had not yet produced its own PA graduates. The pilot project had recruited American PAs and International Medical Graduates to fulfill the role at the time.  

We’ve now grown into over 700+ PAs across Canada, with over 400 PAs living in Ontario.

PAs also practice in Manitoba, Alberta and New Brunswick as well. More recently Nova Scotia announced a pilot project to hire 3 PAs to help reduce wait times and improve access for hip and knee replacement surgeries. 

Military PAs practice across all provinces and territories, and are deployed overseas.

Occupational Health PAs can be found working in B.C., Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon. 

There are four PA Education Programs in Canada: • McMaster University’s PA Education Program  located in Hamilton, Ontario• University of Toronto’s PA Program (also known as PA Consortium) located in Toronto Ontario• University of Manitoba’s Masters in PA Studies located in Winnipeg, Manitoba• Canadian Armed Forces Military PA Program

Although the model has been well integrated into the United States, our Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) is working on widespread integration of PAs across all provinces and territories in Canada. 

That’s why PA advocacy has been very important for the profession here in Canada. This was especially important in the first few years of practice, when Ontario first started graduating its own PAs. The first PAs working were often the first PA a hospital, department, service or clinic had ever encountered. We educate employers, health care colleagues, and patients around PA role clarity and our scope of practice. With our numbers slowly increasing – we’re now seeing several PAs working in Emergency Departments, Surgical Services or in a busy Family Practice, Family Health Team or Community Health Centre. 

I have volunteered with the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants, with advocacy initiatives, including meeting our local politicians at PA Lobby Day at Queen’s Park, writing to local news media to create awareness about the profession or spreading awareness on our own through social media.

I started writing on my PA blog back in 2011 on a free-hosted WordPress site, and decided to make the jump and launch it as Guide to the PA profession in 2017 as canadianpa.ca. And I’ve learned to use social media as a tool for advocacy for our patients and the PA profession. I used the platform as an opportunity to interview and meet PAs across Canada and working in different specialties, and learn about their practice. I am inspired by the PAs that I meet, and want to see PAs in Canada able to continue to make a difference in the health care and lives of the patients they work with. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT PAS in CANADA: • Canadian Association of Physician Assistants http://capa-acam.ca• Journal of Canada’s PAs http://jcapa.ca• PA Certification Council of Canada (PACCC) http://capa-acam.ca/paccc• Social Media Resources for PA Day http://canadianpa.ca/paday/• Follow hashtags #CanadaNeedsPAs on twitter and #CanadaNeedsPAs #CanadianPA on Instagram to members of the PA community post about the PA profession

LINKS:• Anne’s Blog – CANADIAN PA http://canadianpa.ca• Follow Anne on Instagram http://instagram.com/canadian.pa• See Anne’s Youtube Channel: http://youtube.com/CanadianPA• PA practice in the U.S. Vs. Canada: An interview with an American PA working in Canada – Deniece O’Leary, PA-C : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZsjNErZjYE

Thanks again to Anne! I hope PAs in Canada haVe an amazing day, and we are so happy to celebrate with them!

-C

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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.