Brittany Hammond is a Physician Assistant originally from Bossier City, Louisiana. She attended PA school at LSU Health Shreveport, where she has recently graduated, and is now a practicing Physician Assistant. After completing her preceptorship here in Ruston, she decided to join full time at Family First Medicine. She has been employed there for six months. As a Practicing PA, Ms. Hammond sees and cares for patients on a daily basis. She is responsible for listening to their concerns, ordering appropriate diagnostic testing, and giving them the treatment they need in order to get better. Brittany works closely with a Physician she confers with on a daily basis to ensure the best plan of action is being taken for each patient.
The Journey to Become a PA
When asked how she would describe her educational experience, Ms. Hammond replies, “It was honestly life changing. College helped me grow as a person, whereas PA school changed my outlook on life.” She says that she learned that hard work and dedication do pay off, and that trying to balance school work and having a life was one of her greatest challenges. Looking back on the more difficult years of her life, she says she would not change a thing. Every piece of this journey molded her into the woman she is today. .
The Importance of Effective Communication
Brittany states that communication is one of the key aspects of working in the medical field. If the healthcare providers are not communicating effectively, there is a potential danger to the patient. When asked how a lapse in communication could affect the quality of care given, she states, “The quality of care could be affected greatly. If we as healthcare professionals are not communicating well with one another, the patient’s needs could be overlooked, and that is something we never want to see.” Brittany says one thing they do in her office to try and keep everyone on the same page is hold regular staff meetings. “This is our way of making sure our policies and procedures are being adhered to, and that each staff member knows what is expected of them in order to keep our office running smoothly.”
Different Levels of Communication
Ms. Hammond says that there are many different levels of communication in her workplace. She cannot use the same language with a patient that she would use with a colleague. Brittany says it is extremely important to be able to connect with her patients and explain things to them on a level where they can understand. She said she often uses visual aids to accomplish this goal. Another challenge she has faced besides educational barriers are language barriers. She has encountered multiple patients who speak a different language, and therefore must have a translator.
The Importance of Writing in Healthcare
Brittany stressed to me the importance of writing in her work place. She says it is important to write as much as you can about each situation to cover yourself. “Proper documentation leads to better patient care,” she said. Since they use paper charts at her office, writing is that much more important. Ms. Hammond says that everything they do in the office involves writing. From charting notes for office visits, to writing prescriptions and preparing medical records, writing is one of the most time-consuming parts of her job.
Why Listening is a Big Deal
Ms. Hammond also states that being a good listener is an important part of being a healthcare professional. If you are not paying attention to your patient, you could miss something important, and if you are not listening to your staff, office operations will not run smoothly. Brittany says there is always room for improvement in communication, and she will continue to do her part to ensure effective communication in her work place. .
Mallorie McDowell, Guest Blogger