National Physician Assistant Week October 6-12

By Betty Nelson, Director of Marketing and Development

October, 2011

Some may say that Sheri Floyd and Chezna Warner are misunderstood as health care professionals. Floyd and Warner are PAs-- physician assistants-- recognized as "physician extenders" but most certainly NOT physicians' assistants.

Each day, certified physician assistants provide care to those in need of care. PAs are the only health care providers educated and credentialed with a primary care focus regardless of the specialty in which they chose to work. Even though their practice can vary, among other things PAs examine, test and treat patients, prescribe medication and provide preventive care information with the supervision of a medical doctor.

Physician assistants are essential members of today's integrated health care team, playing a valuable role in cutting health care costs by providing an emphasis on prevention. Educated in the same way as physicians, PAs can alleviate the workload for over-burdened physicians, allowing them to spend more time for patients with advanced or complex conditions.

PAs undergo rigorous education involving both clinical and classroom components. The average length of a PA program is 27 months, and on average, the PA student completes more than 2,000 hours of supervised clinical practice prior to graduation.

Certified PAs practice across all medical settings and specialties, bringing a generalist perspective to the care they provide. At the Lindsborg Rural Health Clinic, Sheri and Chezna see clinic patients by appointment, providing well-woman and well-child examinations and routine office visits. On the hospital side, they share coverage of the emergency room during regular clinic-office hours, and rotate evening and night call with Lindsborg Rural Health Clinic physicians.

Lindsborg Community Hospital has a long and successful history with the integration of physician assistants into the medical provider team. Daytha Lindburg, PA-C, joined the healthcare team with Drs. Deryl Fuller and Duane Fredrickson, employed from 1976 to 1993. Amy Fitzgerald, PA-C was a member of the professional staff from 1994-2006.

Sheri Floyd, PA-C has been with LCH/LRHC since January 2005. She enjoys patients of all ages and the variety of problems that come to her attention every day. Her personal goal is to provide the very best care with integrity.

A member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Kansas Academy of Physician Assistants, Sheri serves on the Board of Directors. In 2007, she was appointed by the governor to the PA Council, an advisory board to the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts. Sheri is a graduate of Garden City Community College and Wichita State University.

Sheri grew up on a farm in southwestern Kansas, the oldest of 6 children and worked in the medical field for almost 20 years before returning to school to become a PA. Her PA education complete and certification earned, Sheri and her husband moved from southwestern Kansas to northeastern Kansas where they share a home on Lake Perry. "However," Sheri said, "the Lord has blessed me with a career in central Kansas at LCH/LRHC where I can practice medicine with the most supportive physicians I have ever known, and a rural population that makes me feel at home."

Sheri has a long list of interests and hobbies, a list usually outweighing her available free time. Landscape gardening, travel and building miniature dollhouses top a list that also includes sewing, scrapbooking, photography, reading and music

A native of St. Louis, Chezna Warner, PA-C is a graduate of the University of Missouri with degrees in social work and philosophy. She earned a master's degree in social work from St. Louis University, and a Masters of Health Sciences from Duke University School of Medicine. Having spent several years as a social worker in the field of psychiatry, Chezna returned to school, completing studies to become a PA. She is active in the Kansas Academy of Physician Assistants. Bringing significant experience in women's health care to LRHC, her primary goal is to help patients understand their personal health risks and what they can do to improve their health. Chezna speaks fluent Spanish.

As a wife and mother to two young sons and an energetic Labrador, life is already busy and doesn't leave a lot of time for Chezna's list of interests. She has a love for outdoor activities that includes biking, hiking, camping and geo-caching. Russian literature, trivia games and bluegrass music are past-times she and her husband share. A free afternoon at home may find Chezna working as a DIY enthusiast.

Sheri and Chezna are two of the more than 81,000 certified physician assistants practicing in all medical and surgical specialties across the US, District of Columbia, US territories and within the uniformed services. To recognize these valuable professionals, October 6-12 is designated National PA Week, reserved to celebrate the significant impact PAs make in health care and to expand awareness of the profession. Respected for their commitment to providing quality medical care and information on illness and disease prevention, the Lindsborg Community Hospital and Rural Health Clinic Physician Assistants Floyd and Warner are an essential part of the health care team.