Jan Augenstein, Physician Assistant
Ohio State University, Bachelor's degree in Health/Physical Education
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, Masters Degree in Education
Kettering College of Medical Arts – Associate Degree in Physician Assistant Program
I am a Physician Assistant or PA. I assist Dr. Joel Politi in his work as an Orthopedic Surgeon. Specifically, I educate patients that come to the office, do ‘rounds’ or check patients in the hospital after surgery, assist during surgery and also evaluate patients. I also help Dr. Politi with his research on ceramic hip implants and help complete all the Food and Drug Administration consent forms for the patients. I enter hip and knee score evaluations and surgery information on patients in the computer once the doctor fills out the information sheets. A typical surgery week for me involves about 10-16 cases. I spend one half day in the office doing patient education and do rounds at the hospital every other weekend. I only do orthopedic cases, mostly knees, although I also work on hips and shoulders.
The best thing about my job is that every case is different so there is no chance of getting bored. I also still enjoy many aspects of patient education. I would have to say that the worst part of the job is standing during the extremely long cases while just holding the retractors for the doctor. Both your hands and back can start hurting in those situations.
The most exciting thing for me is seeing patients come back to the office that we have helped. You can tell you really made a difference in their lives by relieving the pain and by allowing them to take up most of the activities they used to do before they started having problems. As a PA, I have to take the national board (test) every 6 years to stay certified. I recently recertified this year and scored an 85% on the board exams, which was very exciting!
In the past ten years, the education required for a PA student has gone from 2 years to 4 years. And, you now need a master’s degree in order to write prescriptions for patients. In the next ten years, I hope that PAs will be utilized more and that insurance will pay for the services. I also hope that Ohio will give prescriptive rights to PAs. Ohio is one of the last two states to give this right to PAs.