Physician assistants arriving in Niagara Falls will learn to teach bystanders how to “stop the bleed”

Workshop participants will undergo training so they can help turn civilian bystanders into first responders

NIAGARA FALLS, October 22, 2019—Physician assistants from across Canada will arrive in Niagara Falls next week to learn techniques to stop life-threatening bleeding during a traumatic event like shootings or explosions.

Two “Stop the Bleed” workshops are being delivered as part of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants annual conference, happening in the city between October 24 and 27. After participating in the course, the PAs will be trained to effectively deliver the workshop to members of the public when they return to their home communities across Canada.

“Stop the Bleed” is an awareness and training campaign that originated with the American College of Surgeons and is now delivered in Canada by Sunnybrook Hospital. In the workshop participants will learn about bleeding control and get hands-on opportunities to practice direct pressure techniques, packing wounds, and using a tourniquet.

“A person can bleed to death in as little as five to eight minutes,” said Andrew Lim, a certified physician assistant from Sunnybrook who is delivering the workshop along with three co-facilitators. “When a bystander in a tragic event has the skills to control bleeding right away, it can mean the difference between life and death.”

“Stop the Bleed” is known as trauma first aid and has been called “the CPR of the 21st century”, offering participants everything they need to know to stop life-threatening bleeding and save a life.


“Stop the Bleed” instructor workshop
Interview, photo, and filming opportunities will be available onsite

Physician assistants attending the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants Annual Conference

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Workshop One: 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Workshop Two: 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Marriott on the Falls, 6755 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls

About the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA)

CAPA is the national voice of physician assistants in Canada. We support quality standards and competencies and help establish the profession within the national health care framework. Learn more:

Media Contact: Andrea Tiwari, Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, or 613 614 6863.

Direct Entry For Civilian Physician Assistants

We’d like to share some big news regarding the PA profession in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

For some time, the CAF has been actively working to create a direct entry plan that would allow civilian applicants who have completed their PA education to enroll in the CAF.

This week, the application process officially opened and civilian PAs may now, for the first time, pursue this exciting career opportunity with Canada’s military.

PAs may serve anywhere that CAF members are based—they will work in fully equipped medical clinics, whether at a base or garrison, or in a temporary clinic while supporting operations. PAs are also employed in underserviced and isolated locations including onboard ships and submarines.

To learn more about the necessary qualifications, application process, basic training, and available professional and advanced training, visit the CAF Careers website.

Learn More at CAPA 2019

If you’re attending the 2019 CAPA Annual Conference, be sure to drop by the CAF exhibit table, where recruiters will be happy to answer your questions.

You should also plan to attend a Sunday afternoon education session led by Major Stuart Russelle, PA – National Practice Leader / MOSID Advisor and CAPA Board Member, who will talk about practicing medicine at home and abroad through the CAF (see the conference program for more details).

Military PA graduates were the first formally trained PAs in the country and they have a long and distinguished history in Canada. It is incredibly exciting to see the culmination of the CAF’s efforts to grow the profession and create new opportunities for Canadian PAs.

‘We can bring a lot to the team,’ says physician assistant eyeing job in N.S.

A physician assistant who wants to be one of the first to do the job in Nova Scotia says it won’t take long for new hires to make a difference.

Laurel MacInnis, who worked as a physician assistant in Ontario before returning to her hometown of Halifax, has her eye on one of three jobs the Nova Scotia Health Authority is rolling out as part of a three-year pilot program...more.

NDP want to open the doors to physician assistants

Members of Nova Scotia’s New Democratic Party say three years is far too long a time to evaluate whether physician assistants are a good fit in this province’s health-care system.

Physician assistants are supervised by doctors and help free up their time by taking on work delegated by their supervisor, such as writing prescriptions, ordering and interpreting tests, conducting physical examinations and assisting in surgery…more.

OPINION: Making most of physician assistants will improve care and cut costs

This Opinion article was originally published in the Edmonton Journal on Friday, September 27, 2019.

The Alberta government should be applauded for providing $3 million in new funding for nurse practitioners (NPs). Patients in underserved parts of Alberta deserve timely access to care, which is a benchmark of any provincial health system, and this will certainly help.

And as the MacKinnon Report rightly notes, there is more that Alberta Health can do to save money without compromising patient care. This includes using the full scope of practice of health care professionals like NPs and physician assistants (PAs) to deliver some services at a lower cost.

What was missing from Health Minister Tyler Shandro’s important announcement were actions to improve the use of PAs in Alberta. By expanding the number of positions available to PAs, regulating PAs under the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, and introducing a PA educational program to train PAs, the province would be catching up with other parts of Canada and countries around the world.

PAs are advanced-practice professionals who are educated in the medical model, which means our training is aligned with how doctors are educated. Our intensive 24-month education program begins with instruction in basic medical sciences and is followed by clinical rotations in specialties like general surgery, emergency medicine, and family medicine, to name just a few.

We work autonomously under the supervision of licensed physicians to extend the services they provide. With a scope of practice that mirrors that of our supervising doctors, we bring exceptional versatility and flexibility to health care. And just like our NP colleagues, we are widely considered essential to making health care more accessible.

How? To start, PAs help doctors accept more patients into their practice, shorten the time for a first appointment, and give them more time to spend with their complex patients.

In the surgical setting, adding PAs to joint-replacement teams has allowed one surgeon to run two operating rooms in a single day, increasing the volume from three to seven primary joints per day. With Alberta’s wait times for hip and knee surgeries spiking, the expansion of PAs in orthopaedic surgery alone makes sense.

study from the Conference Board of Canada shows that the Canadian health-care system could save over $600 million if the use of PAs increases across the country.

Across Canada, the shift to team-based care is well underway. Patients expect that a diverse group of health-care professionals will work together to give them the best possible care. And technologies like electronic medical records and virtual-care platforms should only make this collaboration easier.

An important step that Premier Jason Kenney’s government can take to advance team-based care is to regulate PAs under the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. Regulation will protect patients, let us work at the “top of our scope” and make it easier for us to do everything from providing prescriptions to discharging patients from the hospital.

Expanding the use of PAs in areas of unmet need is another common-sense approach. Specialties like mental health, addiction medicine, seniors care, and rural medicine are crying out for skilled health care professionals to help cope with long wait times.

As the MacKinnon Report shows, Alberta spends far more money on health care than other provinces. And amid the uncertainty of how we will meet, and pay for, the rising demand for services, it’s clear that qualified and cost-effective health-care professionals like PAs must be an essential part of the plan.

When Alberta PAs can work at our full scope, we’ll help strengthen team-based care, shorten wait times, save money, and boost the productivity of physicians. It’s time for Alberta to make the most of what PAs can offer.

Kirsten Luomala is a neurosurgery physician assistant at the University of Alberta Hospital and the Alberta provincial director at the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants.

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