Emergency Room Encounter Leads to a Career as a Certified PA

A trip to the emergency room with appendicitis led Archana Patel, PA-C to the PA profession. She was seen and evaluated by a PA; an encounter Patel says stuck with her the most during a scary time for her and her family.  

“He reassured my family that I would be completely fine after the surgery.” She was unaware of the PA profession prior to her ER visit, but left the ER with a career goal to become a PA. “I am forever thankful for the time he took to educate me on the PA profession.” said Patel.  

Patel’s first job as a Certified PA was at an Army base in Hawaii where she treated active-duty service members. She transitioned to sleep medicine for a year and a half and is now a full-time Certified PA specializing in Urgent Care. She is still able to practice sleep medicine due to the versatility of the PA profession which affords the opportunity to change specialties.  

“I really enjoy sleep medicine and am able to continue seeing my patients via telemedicine a few days a month,” said Patel. “This allows me to maintain my knowledge of the specialty while working full-time in urgent care.” 

Starting in urgent care right at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was no easy feat. During COVID-19 surge periods, Patel would see more than 50 patients on some days.  

“A typical day for me is unpredictable,” said Patel. “Being in a specialty that involves a wide range of types of patients and ailments, no two days are the same.”  

She treats patients with ailments ranging from injury to urinary tract infections. 

A career as a Certified PA is not without its challenges. Patel gets occasional resistance from patients who are unaware of what a PA is. She sees this as an opportunity to educate patients on her training and role on the health care team.  

“Certified PAs are patient advocates and patient educators, whether this means helping a patient understand what our role is or teaching a patient how to use a nebulizer for a breathing treatment. We provide compassion-driven, patient-centered medical care to make a positive impact in the lives of our patients.” 

As the only PA in her group of health care providers, Patel rotates between five urgent care clinic locations and may be the only provider on some days.  

“I evaluate and treat patients on my own with my supervising physician being a phone call away should I need a second opinion,” said Patel.  

She also works closely with medical assistants and physicians, collaborating as a team to ensure that all patients are treated.  

“We help each other out, and I couldn’t ask for a better work environment.”