I try to attend CAPA conferences each year as they rotate between hosting it in different parts of Canada (last year was in Halifax, this year Toronto, next year in Winnipeg). This year’s conference was the largest attended (240+ delegates, that is 1/3rd of CAPA’s entire membership!) which I believe is because Toronto tends to be a bit more central, and is close to two of the four PA programs in Canada. I left the conference exhausted, but oddly also energized and inspired (as great conferences tend to do!) for several reasons:
PA conferences feel like one big reunion: Because the PA profession is a small community (but growing) PAs often work in their own individual settings with some contact with other PAs. You meet a lot of PAs in different practice settings and learning about their successes and struggles in the PA profession. Its often a relief to hear that you aren’t the only one struggling with certain barriers to practice. You also get great ideas for what you can do to improve and work on professional development.
There was an incredible amount of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) lectures/talks. We are required to have 25 MainPro Credits to maintain our CCPA designation/certification. CAPA has been able to offer 25 at this one conference, so for me attending the conference as an easy sell. The calibre of lecturers/talks seems to improve with each year.
You get a great snapshot of what work needs to be done to move the profession forward. There are excellent discussions around advocating the profession, networking, data-driven research proving cost-effectiveness and clinical efficacy of utilization of PAs, and mentoring. You learn about the efforts of our national organization to meet with Ministers of Health, build relationships with stakeholders and organize initiatives (like PA Lobby Day) so that decision makers can hear our personal stories.
It encourages excellence in Delivery of Clinical Care and Research. Participating in the Poster Session was a first for me, and it was motivating to see other PAs working to publish research as well.
You get to engage and network with PA students There was a pretty good representation of students at this conference, many of whom wrote their PA Entry to Practice Certification Exam one day prior to the conference starting. I learned a lot about how they felt there was a need for increased communication between students and alumni for mentoring and guidance, more communication between the PA student groups. I think its important for PA students to attend conferences because:
You get to speak with and get advice from well-seasoned PAs in various areas of practice – giving you a better idea of the transition from school to work
PAs are more than willing to allow PA students to shadow or complete elective rotations with
You can network and meet other PA students, and discuss ideas for promoting the PA profession and creating resources for current and future generations of PA students
Each year there is a student session related to PA success.
It helps give you context about the issues facing the profession, with some resources on how to tackle those issues moving forward.
Overview of Day 3 of the CAPA Conference
We had an excellent Plenary Presentation about Integrating the PA Profession with Perspectives from around the Globe, with representation from US, Australia and the Netherlands:
We learned that each country has had its successes and struggles with implementing the PA profession – and many limitations come from different stand points: architecture of health care, reimbursement, political support, advocacy, and support of major medical organizations.
I had the privilege of presenting during the CAPA Poster Session along with other conference delegates.
I enjoy these sessions primarily because it encourages research in the PA profession. There were great questions around how PAs were utilized within various clinical settings. The conclusion: PAs should continue to research and publish.
The last session of the conference I attended was: PA Research, The Netherlands Perspective with Wijnand Van Unen
We learned about the structure of the Dutch Health Care System as well as the development of the PA Profession in the Netherlands. They have described how extensive research (funded by government, executed by universities/academic centers) was done to determine if PAs were safe, cost effective, improved access and provided quality care.
Hi! I’m Anne, a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant working in Orthopaedic Surgery.
I’ve been writing about my PA experience since starting my PA journey and I’m excited to share CanadianPA.ca as a resource to help you learn about the role and impact of Physician Assistants in Canada.
This blog is my way of helping you, the way others have helped me, discover the PA profession and pursue a career that I love.