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Physician Assistants get long-overdue recognition for their work

Known as "PAs," they are health professionals that can conduct physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses

Physician assistants (PAs) are health professionals that can conduct physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret test results, among other duties. For six days in October, PA’s are recognized nationally.

Here in the Brazos Valley, Texas A&M University Alumna Brittney Pohler said it took her nine years to become a PA after realizing it was what she wanted to become midway through college and it’s been her dream come true.

“I found out about what a PA was about my junior year and it just seemed like everything I was looking for,” Pohler said,” I wanted I've always wanted to be in healthcare, I've always wanted to help people and make a difference.”

When Pohler started shadowing around some providers, she knew it was her calling.

“I work in a clinic, and I work in OB-GYN so I see women throughout their lifespan, from early menarche starting their periods, all the way up postmenopausal 90-year-olds and I just love it,” Poler said, “I feel like I make an impact every day on somebody's life.”

Dr. Nancy Bertsch has been working at Baylor Scott & White-College Station for 24 years and said she’s worked with Brittney for three years.

“Brittany has always been skilled and has always had the talent and the drive to take care of women,” Dr. Bertsch said, “what I've seen grow in the past three years is her confidence and her willingness to take on new things and learn new skills, but it's been great to see her progress over that time but she's always been a really good clinician.”

Not only do Dr. Bertsch and Pohler work together as a team, Bertsch can also trust Pohler to handle patients on her own because the two work so well as a team.

“I think the great thing is we work as a team so if I don't know the answer I have a great resource,” Pholer said, “someone that I know has my back and supports me to say ‘hey can you take another look at this case, something's just not clicking,’ and vice versa.”

“I know that I can count on her to provide great care for my patients if I'm not able to be there,” Dr. Bertsch said, “also when she's seeing patients if there's something that she's unsure about, or just needs a second opinion about she can come to me and I'm happy to give my advice or take a look at what she's what she has questions about.”

Dr. Bertsch said PA’s are important because sometimes it can be hard to see a physician and easier to see a PA, like Brittney.

“I know that if I'm not available, someone can't get a C position, but they're going to get high-quality care from Brittney,” Dr. Bertsch said, “and that patient may not need the skill set that a physician has they may not need surgery, they may not need their baby delivered, but they can get the great care that they need from Brittney.”