Pioneers PA-C receives specialty certificate in emergency medicine

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MEEKER I Heather Wood, PA-C, who works at Pioneers Medical Center in Meeker, has been nationally recognized for earning a specialty credential called a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

Wood was recognized for earning a CAQ in emergency medicine, a distinction earned by meeting licensure, education and experience requirements and then passing a national exam in the specialty. She has specialized in emergency medicine for four years and works additional shifts in a rural hospital and family practice clinic.

“Working in emergency medicine is a very humbling experience,” said Wood. “The person who comes through the emergency room door is likely having one of the worst days of their lives.  They depend on their provider team to recognize and treat their illness while providing excellent individualized care. I decided to pursue my CAQ to challenge myself to be a better, more informed provider. As a medical provider, I feel we should always be seeking knowledge and staying up to date as much as possible.”

“Certified PAs who earn the CAQ demonstrate a strong commitment to lifelong learning and attention to evolving medical advancements in their area of practice,” says Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D, PA-C, president and CEO of NCCPA. “Not only have they maintained certification through continuing medical education programs and assessments throughout their careers, they have pursued and been awarded this additional credential that attests to their knowledge and skills in their specialty.”

CAQs are offered to certified PAs in seven specialties: cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, hospital medicine, orthopaedic surgery, nephrology, pediatrics and psychiatry.

About the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the only certifying organization for physician assistants (PAs) in the United States. The PA-C credential is awarded by NCCPA to PAs who fulfill certification, certification maintenance and recertification requirements. There are more than 123,000 certified PAs in the U.S. today. For more information, visit