Meet our Team

Team Showcase: Spotlight on Kathleen, Physician Assistant

Kathleen, what is your role with Winterberry?

As many of our patients will be aware, my role at Winterberry has changed over time. I joined the team in 2017 after working in Emergency Medicine for 8 years. From 2017 on, I had the pleasure of seeing many patients directly. Recently I have transitioned into a different role and am now focused on clinical education, special projects and supporting the providers in their daily patient care.

What is a Physician Assistant?

A Physician Assistant (PA) is an allied health practitioner that works under direction of a supervising physician. PAs work within the scope of practice of their supervising physician to provide medical care. PAs and NPs alike improve access to care for patients everywhere. These vital assistants examine, diagnose and treat patients under the guidance and direction of a physician. They have the authority and certifications necessary to prescribe medication, interpret test results, examine patients and give patients treatment plans. 

What is the training for this role?

In Canada there are currently three universities offering a PA program. PAs train in a medical model and then enter a year of clinical clerkship prior to finishing the program. 

Not all clinics have Physician Assistants on their team. How does having this role at Winterberry improve the quality of care we can give our patients?

Because physician assistants have the education and training necessary to treat patients, they have the skills required to provide more patients with the care they need. Medicine is moving away from one provider providing all treatment and having many allied health providers. Physician Assistants are extensions of the physicians. Physicians often do not have the time in their schedule to see as many patients as they would like. It is in those circumstances that a PA can take on some patients and treat them under the direction of a doctor. As we know there is a shortage of doctors and a surplus of patients needing care, so having a mix of providers with different experience and expertise is best for any health care team.

What is the best part of being a Physician Assistant?

The best part of being a health care provider is the immense privilege of participating in patients’ lives.  My colleagues and I strive every day to bring our best to the incredible patients and families we work with.

When you’re not at work, what are your hobbies and special interests?

Work and family life do not allow a lot of time for special interests, however where time allows I love to read, cook and spend time outdoors. I started a Winterberry book club this year and thus far we have read “The Myth of Normal” and “Empire of Pain”.