Building strong patient relationships a perk in pediatrics

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Patrick Killeen, MS, PA-C, is a physician assistant specializing in pediatrics and the current President of the American Academy of Physicians Assistants (AAPA). He works in multiple practice settings, including his main role as a pediatric hospitalist.

Clinical Advisor recently spoke with Killian to learn more about the educational requirements, what a PA specializing in pediatrics can expect to earn and what a typical day is like.

Pediatric PAs should expect to complete a typical 27-month terminal master's degree program, according to Killeen, including 500 clinical practice hours in pediatrics  — 250 of which are part of the normal PA certification program. Starting salaries are in the $85,000 to $90,000 range and depend on subspecialty.

In the hospital Killeen's role is similar to that of any other type of independent clinician. “I have a panel of patients that I follow,” he said. “I'm part of a team that makes group decisions for patients' care. When I see a patient in the ER for a peds consult, I evaluate and diagnose the clinical scenario, consult the attending physician and make decisions on whether the patient should be admitted.”

When Killeen's work is done, he hands off patient care to the appropriate night-shift hospital physicians.

Although hospital work keeps him busy, Killeen also works in physicians' offices. “My work ranges from helping fill in for pediatricians who are on vacation, to being part of an integrated team practice who assists with patient work flow and backlogs. I also have worked in group practice settings.”

Perhaps the most rewarding part of working in pediatrics across multiple practice settings is Killeen's ability to follow growing families. “I get to see my patients and their families out in the community and watch them grow up,” he said.

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