Archive for February, 2014

My Journey

February 26th, 2014


At a very young age, earlier than my memory can recall, my interest steered me toward a medical career. It motivated me to volunteer as a candy-striper at the hospital and later as a physical therapy aid at an outpatient clinic. At twelve years of age, I was fascinated when allowed in an operating room to observe a total knee replacement. In college I gave up athletics (soccer and swimming) to devote myself to study necessary for success at Emory University. During my tenure at Emory, Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, Georgia and my lucky parents were able to use my Olympic venue tickets while I remained home in St. Louis studying for my MCATs required for medical school applications. My soccer served me well the following winter, when an injury incurring while playing, enabled me to observe roles played by mid-level care providers. I came to realize that a physician assistant (PA) profession was the perfect fit for my life’s work. It would enable me to interact with and help people to improve their physical well-being.

The PA profession was created to improve and expand healthcare in the 1960s. The PA concept gained acceptance and was eventually used as a creative solution to physician shortages. A PA can perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret lab tests, write prescriptions, perform procedures, assist in surgery, and provide patient education/counseling. PAs take a national certification standardized examination every ten years, are licensed in the state which they practice, and complete 100 hours of continuing medical education requirements every two years. Physicians and PAs work together as a team, and all PAs practice medicine with physician supervision. This team model is an efficient way to provide high-quality medical care.

My career as a PA has allowed me the opportunity to provide direct patient care while balancing life as a wife and mother of three. During my decade practicing internal medicine, I learned that I enjoy providing patient education. I volunteered my time to provide care and education to Migrant Farmworkers in south Georgia. I have also precepted students to have an opportunity to teach them in addition to teaching at Emory University following my graduation. Throughout my PA career, I have also learned that I enjoy working with the female population and treating illness and disease that commonly affect our gender. Richmond Vein Center is a perfect fit as I have the opportunity to educate a lot of patients, the majority of whom are female. I am privileged to have the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Gould and Chris Cox, PA caring for patients.

-Kathryn Niederer, PA-C