Day in the Life of an Orthopaedic Trauma PA
1. Inpatient Medicine
I begin my day by touching base with team leaders and charge nurse on each unit I work on. I’ll speak with patients and determine if there are any overnight concerns, or if there’s anything I can do to help facilitate care and eventual discharge plans.
I will ask nursing staff, “Is there anything I can help out with today?” but often more than not nursing staff will come to me and request, “This patient has X medicaiton ordered. I was wondering if you could clarify this, or if you can update this family”.
I speak with nursing staff, patients and their families, and the members of the allied health team to help facilitate care.
From a staff perspective, having a PA onboard makes a huge difference in terms of improving patient care, patient flow, help facilitate discharge in a timely manner.
From the patient perspective, I have received positive feedback as sometimes the residents or physicians are not able to spend as much time as they have other duties and responsibilities not just for that patient, but other patients as well. As a PA I’m able to step in and take a little bit more time to go over patient questions for surgery, and the patients receive more satisfaction in knowing what has been done, and gives them confidence that “this person is looking out for me, I’m in a good place, and I’m happy this individual can carry on with my care.”
2. On-Call Responsibilities
I also take consults on behalf of the Orthopaedic Surgery Service from the Emergency Department both through the outpatient Emergency setting as well as traumas that come into our hospital.
Trauma Team: Both settings have different approaches and patients that come in. Trauma has higher acuity injuries, with patients coming in through EMS or ORNGE (air ambulance and medical transport). These can include large, often multiple injuries. As part of the trauma team I help facilitate the ATLS protocol and ensure as part of the Orthopaedic Surgery group assist with assessing the patient, identifying Orthopaedic issues ASAP and temporizing them while treating patients immediately.
Outpatient Emergency: When doing consults for outpatient Emergency, I liason with Emergency Physicians. Conversations often go, “Is this issue something that needs to be addressed as inpatient in hospital? Does the patient need to be admitted? Or is this something that can be referred out.”. We collaborate with other services to figure out the best disposition plan for the patient. Anesthesiologists also help facilitate care in the ER, when it comes to reduction of shoulder, and wrist dislocations. Reduction of elbow dislocations may require more expertise.