For one week each year, medical offices and hospitals take the time to celebrate and show appreciation for you, their physician assistant, and the impact your work has on the world. The week-long event kicks off on October 6 with “National PA Day” and continues through October 12.
National PA Day was first celebrated on October 6, 1987, in honor of the 20th anniversary of the first graduating class of PAs from the Duke University PA program. October 6 is also the birthday of the profession's founder, Dr. Eugene A. Stead, Jr. But, clearly, one day wasn't enough!
17 Unique Ideas for Celebrating Physician Assistant Week
As a PA, it's essential that you take some time to recognize the work you do for others and feel a sense of purpose and pride in your career. You’ll also want to applaud your fellow PAs within your organization and those you've met networking. While gifts can be nice, consider what you would want your peers to do for you and take the initiative to do something fun to celebrate yourselves. For example, you might organize a breakfast or drinks after work, or post appreciative or inspiring messages on their desks. There are so many clever and thoughtful ideas to make your team feel recognized.
To help you get the gears turning, we crowdsourced 18 fun ideas for (mostly) free ways to celebrate PA Week this year!
Idea #1: Raise awareness.
Not everyone knows what a PA is or what role you play in the medical community. So, consider taking this opportunity to host a public health event to educate your community or students. Don’t want to leave your house? Easy! Post some content celebrating PA Week on social media. If you’re at a loss, the AAPA has you covered with images PAs can share. If Instagram is more your speed, you can create Instastories and add PA hashtags to spread the word (e.g., #physicianassistant or #physicianassistantlife).
Idea #2: Fundraise together.
A great way to support each other as a team is to fundraise together. You might start a GoFundMe page or host an event, such as a bowling night, in which the proceeds go toward your favorite cause(s). The goal is to be an effective team rallying around a cause that’s important to all of you. (October also happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, SIDS Awareness Month, as well as other important causes. You could see if there any local events your crew can participate in!)
Idea #3: Shoot a video.
The AAPA has done a great job of creating educational videos for their YouTube channel, but there’s always room for more creativity. Consider creating a video about you and your fellow PAs that gives a more personal, real-life look at the work you do. Share it with the AAPA, and they might even add it to their YouTube playlist.
Idea #4: Send cards.
Grab a box of blank cards and jot down some nice messages for former patients. Everyone loves getting mail, so you'll brighten someone's day while also reminding them of the vital role you and your peers serve in the community.
Idea #5: Organize a car wash.
Find a mobile car detailer who will come to your parking lot and clean your cars. Too expensive? Post on a community site like NextDoor that you have 20+ cars of dedicated PAs you’d like to have cleaned during the week of October 6 and see if you can get any recommendations. Driving home in a nice, clean car can make you feel like royalty.
Idea #6: Hire an ice cream truck.
You could go out for ice cream, or you could get the ice cream to come to you. Just hearing the classic (non-stop) jingle enter your parking lot will make you feel like a super special kid again.
Idea #7: Plan a team meal.
Whether it’s a pizza party, potluck, or competitive chili cookoff, getting your team to stop, rest, eat, and laugh together is cause for a celebration.
Idea #8: Share the knowledge.
Find a blank wall and set up a small table with sticky notes and sharpies on it. Next, you and your PA peers can jot down "things I wish I knew before I became a PA," and then stick them to the wall. Keep it anonymous so no one feels embarrassed and leave it up all week, so you and your fellow PAs have time to read through all the notes.
Idea #9: Focus on trust.
Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, says it’s small acts that help us learn to trust each other. So, plan a small event -- or a monthly series -- to invest in the relationships you have with your colleagues. Organize a guest speaker on teamwork, take on an escape room, try one of these activities, or send each other thank you notes, letting them know about a time when you felt you could trust them.
Idea #10: Set up a breakfast bar.
Help your colleagues start the day off right with a breakfast bar. It doesn’t need to be anything too fancy -- it can be as simple as setting up a station with granola, yogurt, fruit, and honey, and let each person fill a mason jar (or a cup) so they can have their meal on the go as they head into their day.
Idea #11: Go on a hunt.
Create a scavenger hunt for your fellow PAs. Print out a quiz about your office mates and create a list of challenges. You can also snag a few cheap items or candies and hide them around the office. Whichever team finds the most hidden objects, completes the most challenges, and has the most correct answers can proudly wear the title of PA Week champions for the rest of the week.
Idea #12: Host a grant-writing workshop.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced a $10 million increase in funding for Primary Care Training -- with some of that money going specifically to PAs. Want some of that training? Host a grant-writing workshop so you and your team can go after some of the public money that’s available.
Idea #13: Do something extreme.
Idea #14: Roll up your sleeves and grab your tools.
Give back to your community with a team-building event through a non-profit like Habitat for Humanity.
Idea #15: Attend a comedy show.
Consider organizing a night out for you and your colleagues to see a local comedy show. After all, laughter is sometimes the best medicine.
Idea #16: Bring in puppies.
Yup, we said puppies. The Dog Alliance says having dogs at work could be the key to reducing employee stress, decreasing turnover, improving employees’ job satisfaction, and enhancing internal communication on your team. The best part is that they bring therapy pets to offices and work events all over the country!
Idea #17: Connect with aspiring PAs.
Do you remember when you first heard about PAs and thought that could be the career for you? Share that memory and all you've learned since then with aspiring young PAs in your area. You can contact a local college or university in your area and offer to speak to their PA students. Or, you could set up a table on campus so students can stop and chat on their way to classes. If you have the time and are willing to be a mentor to a future PA, you could even reach out to the school’s Career Center and offer your services that way.
9 Fun Facts About Physician Assistants Worth Celebrating
While you’re out celebrating PA Week with your colleagues, here are some cool fun facts you can share about your profession. These stats are guaranteed to make you feel proud of yourself and all the hard work you put into caring for others, day in and day out.
According to the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA):
- There are more than 131,000 certified PAs working in the U.S.
- PAs care for more than 9 million patients every week.
And, according to the American Academy of PAs, here’s what patients think of PAs:
- Ninety-three percent of patients consider PAs trusted healthcare providers.
- Ninety-two percent of patients believe PAs make it easier to access healthcare.
- Ninety-one percent of patients say PAs improve the quality of healthcare.
Finally, according to U.S. News & World Report's 100 Best Jobs of 2020 rankings, PAs ranked:
- #3 in the 100 Best Jobs category
- #2 in the Best Healthcare Jobs category
- #3 in the Best STEM Jobs category