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New PA Fellow Appreciates Hands-On Learning Opportunities

When Michael Ignasiak, PA, graduated from Des Moines University last May, he realized almost immediately that he would need additional clinical experience to be a truly competitive candidate in the job market.

“I was really happy when I found out there was a fellowship opportunity in critical care at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics,” Ignasiak says. “I’ve already gotten a lot of experience, and I’ve only been here a month.”

Ignasiak is the first APP-Critical Care fellow for the Department of Anesthesia, in partnership with the Department of Internal Medicine's Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Occupational Medicine. When he finishes his training next summer, he’ll have a certificate and 12 months of hands-on experience – four months in the Medical ICU, four months in the Surgical and Neurosciences ICU, two months in the Cardiovascular ICU, and two months in infectious diseases, nephrology, or surgery.

It’s exactly what he was looking for, he says.

“I really wanted more hands-on training in more of a critical care setting,” he says. “And the advantage of being at an academic medical center is that you also get the perspectives of the attending physicians, who tend to look at things more from a science or research angle. I really appreciate that; I think it gives me a more well-rounded view of what happens in the clinical setting.”

Michael Ignasiak, PA Michael Ignasiak, PA

The clinical setting is what drew Ignasiak to a PA career. Aside from the briefer length and lower cost of school and training, he wanted a career that involves more direct interaction with patients.

“That’s the main thing – the time I can spend directly with patients,” he says. “It’s the most rewarding part of my work days.”

Staci Vaske, PA-C, who supervises the Department’s PAs, ARNPs, and NNPs in the Surgical and Neurosciences and Cardiovascular ICUs, says she’s glad the Department is offering this fellowship opportunity.

“Several other institutions have similar programs, and there are a few other departments (at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics) who offer PA fellowships. It’s really a great training opportunity, and our goal is not just to provide that training, but to hire full-time PAs out of it,” she says.

Thursday, October 24, 2019