MEET MY GUEST
My guest for Episode 50 of Fulfilled – The Podcast is Rachel Allain Jurgenson is a physician assistant, author and a podcaster herself. She has been a PA for more than 24 years and on Episode 50 of Fulfilled we are covering everything from passion and purpose to negotiating, patient education, pivoting in life as a PA and more!
Physician Assistant title change to Physician Associate has recently been approved by the AAPA (American Academy of Physician Assistants). The AAPA voted to change the long-time title for PAs from Physician Assistant to Physician Associate. For more information on this title change, head to https://www.aapa.org/title-change/.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE PURPOSE DRIVEN?
Purpose Driven is stretching yourself after graduation to create goals and to have a great influence in the community. Rachel highlights how you can excel at patient communication, mastering your specialty, sharing your knowledge and helping new providers and giving back to the community around you. To Rachel, being purpose driven means seeking out how you can serve, give back and invest in yourself and those around you.
Self-care is another aspect of being purpose driven. Rachel learned late in her career the importance of self-care and prioritizing that piece of the puzzle in becoming a purpose driven PA.
LET’S TALK NEGOTIATIONS
Negotiating starting salary, asking for a raise, or making sure that you are compensated well. Starting with a salary report (the AAPA salary survey is a great place to start for PAs to use as a benchmark for your compensation) and bringing data to the table. If you are a PA, check out the AAPA Salary Report from 2021. If you are a PA and you aren’t yet an AAPA Member, head on over to https://www.aapa.org/ to become one!
Anchoring high is starting negotiations with a number that is above what you are really willing to accept in the discussions. Be open to increases in time off, bonus, productivity based compensation instead of straight salary if that’s a no at first.
Bring to the table to those salary discussions the value and assets that you bring to the practice, the patients, and why you are a lynchpin to your employer, a great team member, and then follow with the request for increased compensation.
WHAT ABOUT PATIENT EDUCATION?
As providers, patient education is such a key part of taking care of people. Being passionate about patient education, communicating things well and making sure that patients understand things like their diagnosis, the basics of the pathophysiology, the treatment options, the planned treatment, how it works, how to integrate it into their day, and when and why we want to see them in follow up can change things like patient satisfaction and compliance. The first step to doing this is being well informed yourself. Finding your specific analogies to explain things at a level where your patients understand will have a major impact on our ability to serve those patients.
Tips for patient education:
- Speak slowly and clearly
- Use a 3rd grade reading level
- Draw, write and share materials with them
- Ask patients to teach back to you what you’ve shared with them
WHEN IT COMES TO PIVOTING…
One of my very favorite things about being a PA is the ability to pivot from one specialty to another, inpatient to outpatient, to change schedules and even to pivot from bedside patient care to working in the medical or pharmaceutical industry. Rachel generously shares the twists and turns of her career from switching specialties and how she knew she was ready to make those transitions. For her it was a lot about the demands and ages of her children and family life. Stretching her background as a clinical provider into the industry of diagnostics and devices to show up for patients on a bigger scale has been very rewarding!
ON WORKING MOTHERHOOD
Motherhood improves your ability to connect with people, to savor moments, and to realize that time is finite and limited. Rachel feels that her children have forced her to slow down, to realize that the time with them being home is gone so fast, and that embracing these transitions with the driving factor of what her family needed was a key.
Embracing a growth and abundance mindset instead of a scarcity mindset can help Moms to find fulfillment, to create balance and to have better boundaries. Your career isn’t going anywhere. YES, you should lean in. NO, you shouldn’t lean in at the cost of your health, sanity, peace or relationships.
Rachel shares how not all money is good money. Money that is earned in a role that is causing you to be perpetually exhausted and unhealthy just isn’t worth it. It is absolutely OK to quit and to find something that works with you and your family, your schedule, your values and your life. Try to see this transition, resignation, job change or switch as “I choose me” instead of “I’m quitting”. This back and forth discussion between Rachel and Tracy is light and dark, deep and laughter-filled.