Greetings! I would like to thank ASCO for the opportunity to share the perspective of the Oncology Physician Assistant through ASCOConnection.org’s blogging page!
I have recently returned from Amelia Island, Florida, where the 13th Annual Association of Physician Assistants in Oncology (APAO) conference was held in October. In addition to the general conference sessions and workshops, we were pleased to offer this year a preconference Best of ASCO program, which was well-attended by Physician Assistants and other health care practitioners across the country and was most enthusiastically received.
Attendees have consistently provided feedback about the value of this preconference program due to its focus, diversity, and clinical applicability. As we move onward in the planning process for our 2011 conference, we look forward to working with ASCO to be able to continue providing this excellent educational opportunity.
I find myself again invigorated after attending an oncology-focused conference: There is just nothing like having the opportunity to discuss with your colleagues around the country what they are doing in their practices, whether they are community-based or academic medical center-based. In addition to the learning that occurs through the didactic and workshop sessions at a conference, so much learning occurs through the opportunity to network with a spectrum of providers, sharing ideas and experiences. The key is to then channel this energy and information into ways to both improve the care we provide to our patients as well as improve systems in our everyday practice. Even as I write, I am most certainly contemplating on how to do so as well as how to keep the post-conference momentum going indefinitely!
The timing of the APAO conference happened to coincide with National PA Week, a time set aside for recognition, outreach, and to increase public knowledge and awareness of the PA profession. One very important component of our vocation in general is to embrace the concept of life-long learning. As I reflected upon this tenet of our profession during the course of the conference, I found it fitting that so many PAs in Oncology were able to attend the conference and spend National PA Week increasing their fund of knowledge in our chosen specialty.
Another essential component of the PA vocation is that we work in cooperation with our supervising Physician(s), the very essence of teamwork. There can be much variability in how the Physician-PA model looks in Oncology but ultimately the goal is the same: To work together to provide the highest quality care to our patients that is possible. In our conference programming, we have incorporated talks on how the Physician-PA team works together in different settings to care for patients, a format and subject which has been of interest to many. But I’ll explore Physician-PA practice models a bit more in a future blog….
I welcome your thoughts and comments and look forward to hearing from you!