Work life in the military will vary depending on your practice setting and where you have been deployed. For example, a PA posted to Halifax may work on a ship and be deployed by the navy where they will run a small clinic in the middle of the ocean. This would be very different from a PA who works at CFB Petawawa where they may work with new recruits, which is different from a PA that works with the infantry and troops in armored vehicles. On each Garrison (base) we do a lot of primary care, however this changes with our specific elements, where we work and where we get deployed.
If I am posted to a clinic where new recruits are put through basic training, day-to-day life would consist of working in an essential primary care clinic. Where we see a lot of upper respiratory issues, A LOT of musculoskeletal injuries that may be sustained during training, as well as psychiatric issues. With new military recruits you are taking people from a civilian life and placing them into the world of the military, this transition may not be a for everyone.
Working in the Navy – After completing the military PA Program through Borden, and successfully passing the Canadian PA Certification Exam through PACCC, I was deployed with the Navy. Before being posted to the Navy I did not have a lot of experience on a ship but had taken the necessary training for Navy Medicine. One of my deployments with the Navy was four months long where we conducted counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean.
“The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is a highly adaptable and flexible force. While being Canada’s outer line of defence, it conducts sovereignty patrols and search and rescue operations. It also assists other government departments in disaster relief, law enforcement, fishery and drug patrols. The Navy supports Canadian foreign policy by providing humanitarian assistance, and participating in peace support operations and maritime security operations.” https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/caf-jobs/career-options/navy-army-air.html
Working in the Canadian Army – There are some similarities to military medicine and rural medicine – in that the resources available to you to investigate and treat patients are not endless like a university medical centre. This is one of the things I enjoy most about being a military PA – you have to make use of the resources available to you based on the element you are working in, in order to stay on top your game.
“The Canadian Army provides trained, combat-ready, agile and quickly responsive troops to meet Canada’s defence objectives. These troops respond to conflicts across the globe to fight for freedom, stability and human rights. The Army also sends soldiers and equipment to assist countries that have suffered natural disasters.”
Royal Canadian Air Forces –
“The Royal Canadian Air Force protects Canadians, Canadian sovereignty and Canadian interests at home and abroad. The Air Force defends Canadian airspace and, working with the Navy, Army and other government departments, conducts maritime and northern patrols, search and rescue missions, and intercepts of vessels carrying illegal drugs. The RCAF also airlifts military personnel and supplies, and moves disaster relief supplies to regions in need. Abroad, combat-ready forces take an active role in multinational missions, representing Canada’s interests and helping maintain global stability.”