Physician assistants round out medical care teams

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Trevor Rhynes
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Three officers make up part of the team who provide care to more than 11,000 patients unparalleled medical treatment.

McConnell Air Force Base Physician Assistants care for patients ranging from infants to geriatrics and these mighty medics have state of the art training and are extremely good at their job.

"We're trained as generalists," said 1st Lt. Holly Parker, 22nd Medical Operations Squadron Physician's Assistant. "We can see the same type of patients as the physician can."

These professionals earn a bachelor's degree in biology or a science related field with, then an application has to be accepted to get into the masters in the physician's assistance program.

The physician assistants received their training at a variety of institutions, including Duke University, North Carolina, Arcadia University, Pennsylvania and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Nebraska.

"Our training can be intense, but I think it's worth it," said 1st Lt. Lauren Weinberg, 22nd MDOS Physician's Assistant. "I love the interaction with patients, and making a difference in people's lives."

Like many career fields, there is an avenue for enlisted members to become officers, and physician assistants are no different.

One member of the physician's assistant team switched from being an administration technician before being accepted to physician assistant school.

"The transition was rough, but I really enjoy being a physician assistant," said 1st Lt. Marina Puentes, 22nd MDOS Physician's Assistant. "I feel as though I can connect with patients more and with my new field I get to see the direct impact I have on patients and knowing I play a part in improving their health circumstances."

Here's some additional information about the people who make up the physician assistant team.

First Lt. Lauren Weinberg, is a Physician's Assistant, and a graduate of Duke University, with a master's degree as a Physician's Assistant. She loves the interaction with patients, and making a difference in people's lives. First Lt. Weinberg also loves the teamwork atmosphere in the clinic here. She said she enjoys spending time with her husband and four big dogs, and likes to bike and garden.

1st Lt. Holly Parker, is a Physician's Assistant and a graduate from Arcadia University in Pennsylvania, with masters in physician's assistant studies and in Public Health. She really likes the people she serves in the clinic, and knows that it is hard to be sick and vulnerable. She likes to be there to help folks when they are sick, and see them get better. To Parker, the McConnell AFB clinic is the perfect size for a new provider to start out in. She enjoys spending time with her family--especially her two nephews and niece.

1st Lt. Marina Puentes, is a Physician's Assistant, graduating in 2014 with a master's degree in Physician's Assistant studies from University of Nebraska Medical Center. She is prior enlisted, having worked as an administration technician before being selected to go to physician's assistant school. Her favorite part of the job is seeing success in patients' lives, and knowing she played a part in improving their health circumstances. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and hiking.