Physician assistant (P.A.) students who weathered 27 months of intense education and training joined future P.A.s and family nurse practitioners (FNP) only one month into their studies Thursday at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis.
"Health care in this country is going through tremendous change," said Stephen Cavanagh, School of Nursing dean. "We look to the next generation of practitioners, yourselves, to begin to make an impact on the quality of lives of so many people.
For those hoping to begin practice soon, the only thing between them and patients is passing the Physician Assistance National Certifying Exam (PANCE). But before they sit for that licensing exam, they gathered to recite the P.A. Oath, pledging to hold as their primary responsibility the health, safety, welfare and dignity of all human beings, as well as promote the value of diversity, and to work with all members of the health care team to provide compassionate care of patients.
“I encourage you to take this oath to heart and refer to it. Apply it as you learn in your profession and practice your craft,” said Jeff Pearl, P.A. program director. “Your hard work to get to this point makes you excellent mentors and a source of inspiration to the newly coated students among us. Share what you know, that’s collaboration.”
First-year FNP and P.A. students received their white coats during the ceremony. White coats are an outward sign that these students are ready to begin serving patients. They also represent the responsibilities health providers accept in caring for individuals, including competent evidence-based and person-centered care along with excellent interpersonal communication.
“Let this be your call to action to suit up and to focus on your passion for patient care,” added George Rodway, interim director of the FNP program. “All of you stand here, shoulder to shoulder, just as you will in practice and with the capacity to collaborate and improve health for generations to come.”
The P.A. and FNP programs at the School of Nursing are the only ones in the country where students in these different disciplines learn alongside each other. Together, they discover how to interpret different perspectives, collaborate and lead as members of health care teams.