Choi Chung, RPh, BScPharm
One of our values at Orbis is that we believe in helping patients make informed decisions through greater education. One of our aims with this interview series is to raise awareness on the different healthcare professionals involved in the healthcare system and how they are involved in making the public healthier!
We’re so grateful to have the opportunity to interview, Mary Kreshon, a physician assistant from Tennessee. Check out the interview below as she talks more about her profession and how she’s actively involved in health advocacy!
#1 First off, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed Mary. To start, tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m Mary Kreshon. A certified Physician Assistant in California and NC. I studied in North Carolina, and made my way out west a few years ago! I specialize in inpatient General Surgery and Neurosurgery. I am extremely passionate about patient care, healthfulness, and wellness. I am only briefly able to discuss nutrition and the impact it has on health (with my patients) during my workday, which is why I started MaryEatsPlants. I discuss some health topics along with plant based recipes and fitness motivation.
#2 Mary, can you tell us about your profession?
The PA profession started in 1965 at Duke University due to the perceived shortage of physicians. The goal of our profession, at that time, was to allow accessible medicine in rural areas where no MD was available. Today, Physician Assistants (NOT Physician’s Assistants) practice under a supervising physician. We are taught evidence-based medicine, just like doctors. We are able to perform an extensive range of medical services in nearly every healthcare setting and medical and surgical specialty. We perform many of the services traditionally provided by physicians, such as taking histories and performing physical exams, diagnosing illnesses and providing treatment plans, ordering diagnostic tests, prescribing medications, counseling patients, doing bedside surgical procedures independently and 1st assisting in surgery.
A quick rundown: Certified PAs are able to do anything the MD can do except man a surgery independently (we only assist in surgeries).
#3 Can you share with us what a day-to-day looks like for you as a physician assistant?
As a PA in an inpatient surgical specialty my day starts around 6:30am. I update my list of patients, and review pertinent history/labs/diagnostics/meds/vitals/etc. I then spend the majority of my morning rounding on those patients in between assisting in the operating room. Cases can range from colectomies to whipples to craniotomies. In the afternoon I am on tap for the nurses and patients if any questions may arise. I also review EKGs for pre surgical patients to make sure they are stable to undergo surgery. I do not have an outpatient clinic at this current job, but it was a big part of my previous practice.
#4 What was it that drew you into becoming a physician assistant?
The medical field has always interested me. I started shadowing MDs when I was very young. I spoke with several MDs throughout my years as a student, and the majority of them mentioned the “PA” profession to me. I started doing research, and found an amazing PA to mentor me (she is still my mentor today!) I found that the PA profession was perfect for me. I have the autonomy to take care of patients, and assist in surgery. I also have less liability and financial burden than the MD.
I am still very passionate about patient care and medicine. The body is an amazing thing!
#5 What is one of the top pieces of health advice you’d like to share with the public?
We have an obesity epidemic in our country. I want everyone to be more mindful about what they put in their mouths. It starts with food people! Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes (type 2) continue to rise, and in many, are completely preventable! A helpful example: Blood pressure rises with body weight, so losing weight is one of the best ways to improve your numbers. For every 5-10 pounds you lose, you can drop your systolic blood pressure by 5-10 points.
#6 Where can our audience reach you if they have any further questions?
You can follow me @maryeatsplants on instagram and DM me on there. Follow my blog MaryEatsPlants.com or email me directly at MaryEatsPlants@gmail.com
I’d be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Thanks so much!