The Student Health Clinic on Southern Miss campus is excited to announce a new addition to their healthcare professional team.
Stephen English, the new physician’s assistant, will take on many responsibilities at the clinic.
English said it is not only his job to provide another level of care for students who seek physical advice from the clinic, but also to involve himself in the ongoing outreach for health opportunities. The clinic staff is excited about the diversity he brings both in gender and qualifications. The addition of a PA fulfills the need for a mid-level provider who can share the burden of treatment and publicity.
A physician assistant’s qualifications are almost the same as a nurse practitioner. The difference is in course career and on-the-job opportunities. A PA studies pre-medical during his or her undergraduate career and proceeds to get his or her master’s degree before taking an exam for physician assistant certification.
A physician assistant can diagnose and write prescriptions much like a nurse practitioner, but can also do surgery and see patients as long as a doctor within the same clinic supervises them. The physician assistant hire keeps costs low for the clinic and therefore the student body. A great mid-level provider position, numerous PA’s can be under the supervision of one doctor.
This allows the clinic to maintain its excellent services but also be economical.
Whether it is in residence halls or on-campus events, English looks forward to helping students stay out of the clinic through preventative measures and healthy habits. He is excited about his new position and wants to immerse himself in the USM culture through football games and other activities that will have him brushing elbows with students.
English said his passion for the outreach practiced by the clinic stems from his own academic experiences. “When I was an undergrad, I didn’t know until after I graduated that a health clinic was available on campus,” English said. After that experience, he wants to ensure that no student at USM graduates without knowledge of the clinic and its services.
“After our last male provider left, we saw a decrease in male patients,” said Jodi Ryder, wellness ambassador coordinator.
“It is harder to identify with a person of a different gender if you are talking about something personal,” said John McGuire, a business major. “I know some people on campus would feel more comfortable seeing a provider of their own gender.”
English not only brings a new facet to the health clinic on gender specific health, but also his different level of certification brings new care opportunities for the entire student population.
As Southern Miss grows in the coming years, the clinic will also be faced with new opportunities and new challenges. English’s hire anticipates the opportunity to offer health care options to an ever-growing diversified student body. The addition of a male member to the mid-level staff also provides new opportunities for the clinic to increase its health programs.