God daughter Tatum is about to graduate from the Physician Assistant program at Chapman University (also Jamie’s alma mater).
Tatum called Jamie very excitedly the other day to announce that she had just delivered her first baby. The first of many, I’m sure, because that’s what she wants to specialize in.
How is that possible? It seems like she was a baby herself not that long ago. But look at her now — beautiful and smart as hell and ready to take on the world.
But what, pray tell, is a physician’s assistant? I had to look it up.
PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. With thousands of hours of medical training, PAs are versatile and collaborative. PAs practice in every state and in every medical setting and specialty, improving healthcare access and quality.
PAs are educated at the master’s degree level. There are more than 250 PA programs in the country and admission is highly competitive, requiring a bachelor’s degree and completion of courses in basic and behavioral sciences as prerequisites.
Incoming PA students bring with them an average of more than 3,000 hours of direct patient contact experience, having worked as paramedics, athletic trainers, or medical assistants, for example. PA programs are approximately 27 months (three academic years), and include classroom instruction and more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations. A PA’s medical education and training are rigorous.
The PA school curriculum is modeled on the medical school curriculum that involves both didactic and clinical education training. In the didactic phase, students take courses in basic medical sciences, behavioral sciences, and behavioral ethics.
In the clinical phase, students complete more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations in medical and surgical disciplines, including family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, general surgery, emergency medicine, and psychiatry.
Congrats to Tatum. It was a tough program with lots of sleepless nights and endless days and there must have been plenty of times that she thought it wasn’t worth it. But she’s this close (imagine my thumb and forefinger about an eighth of an inch apart) to finishing it all up.
It is, perhaps, another mere coincidence that all five of our god children — Tatum, Jack, Avery, Stella, and Kendal — are so smart, so accomplished, so good-looking, and so hard-working.
We have clearly been huge influences on all their lives.