How to Be A Good PA Colleague

Contribute to Collegiality and Culture

By Andrea Lowe, MHA, PA-C

October 24, 2019

Every PA shows up to work ready to take the best care of their patients, and work towards the best patient outcomes. But patient care is not all PAs contribute: each of us contributes to our work environment. How we contribute is up to each of us and defines us as a colleague.

Collegial contributions
You’ll definitely make your coworkers happy and contribute positively to your workplace when you contribute best clinical practices for optimal patient care outcomes. It starts with brass tacks: show up to work on time. Offer to help if you see a coworker with a rough case or a high patient load. Offering to help might mean taking a patient, but it also might mean grabbing a coffee for a fellow PA who can’t get away.

When I worked in the emergency department on 12-hour shifts, it always meant so much to me when a PA from a different service came down to see a patient and asked: “Can I get you something from the cafeteria and bring it back for you?” A lot of times, I couldn’t get away at all and this would be my only sustenance during my shift. Being collegial means being aware of what your colleagues are going through during the day and figuring out how you can all work collaboratively in your clinical environment.

[Visit AAPA’s Career Central for additional career resources and professional tools]

Cultural contributions
Most of us perform best in positive workplace environments, and all of us, no matter what position we’re in, can make a difference. Be as positive as you can in all interactions. Focus on what motivates you to work each day, such as the desire to help others and your dedication to patient outcomes. In conversations with colleagues, point out the good things about where you work, talk about what you like about your job, and share your favorite place to grab a few quiet minutes. Contribute to making your workplace better, in big ways and small.

Have meaningful conversations with your colleagues. Everyone wants to be understood, and the best way to do that is to ask questions and then listen to the answers. Respect the fact that each of your colleagues has a different background, and different experiences. Get to know your colleagues’ areas of interest and expertise, plus their personalities, to advance the organization’s culture and build an effective work environment. Each of us brings different strengths to our workplaces, and the best workplaces respect those differences and figure out how best each person can contribute.

[More Career Advice: One Interview Tip I Would Give All PAs]

Positive workplace contributions you can start making today
Show up to work on time.
Offer to help when you can.
Get to know your colleagues and respect their backgrounds and areas of expertise.
Focus on workplace positives.
Offers solutions to problems.
Be open to new and better ideas.

More Career Tools
AAPA’s Career Central: Exclusive career resources and professional tools
PA JobSource: Search thousands of PA jobs
PA Portfolio: Organize your career records

Andrea Lowe, MHA, PA-C, is director of employer strategies for CHLM and AAPA. Contact her at [email protected].

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