More physician assistants to work in small towns under new Gundersen Health System Program

In small towns across the country, lies a big problem.

“As you know health care shortages are the rule, not the exception,” said Physician Assistant Program Director for Gundersen Health System Tom Davey.

Towns like Whitehall face a constant need for medical professionals. Gundersen Health System is supplying small towns with physician assistants through its new program.

“We saw a need to prepare PA’s as they graduate from programs to practice in an environment that has limited physician supervision,” said Davey.

Under their new program new PA’s like Chelsey Farrell and Kimberly Mirozek are in a situation they’re not used to.

“The point of putting us out here is to make us uncomfortable because it forces you to learn and it forces you to learn fast,” said Mirozek.

Unlike the facility they’re more used to in La Crosse, the Whitehall location has fewer resources available.

“It’s scary. Really, especially knowing that you’re potentially the only one,” Farrell said.

And they’ve been learning more because of it.

“You don’t have the resources that are in La Crosse so you have to stay one step ahead at all times which has been challenging, but with time a little easier,” Mirozek said.

In addition to how to better do their job these two PA’s are also learning how much they mean to their community.

“People seem very willing to accept the care here, they’re very appreciative which isn’t always the case in the bigger city,” said Mirozek.

“This whole community is then your family. You can’t get out of it. If you take bad care of a patient, everyone’s going to know it,” said Farrell.

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