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Need for Physician Assistants continues in rural South Dakota

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 5:30 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The University of South Dakota offers the only Physician Assistant program in the state. That program strives to try and meet the needs of those in rural communities.

Nearly half of the graduates of USD’s PA program go on to practice in South Dakota.

“They’ll go back to the community in which they were raised and they’ll be taking care of people who they’ve known since they were infants,” Katie Kassin said, an assistant professor for the program.

Brady Hicks is currently enrolled in the 24-month program and is working on his clinicals in Martin, South Dakota.

“I saw physician assistant as the best option to be able to come back and serve my community, to be able to help out the people that made me who I am,” Hicks said.

Work as a PA in the area where you were raised may have some difficulties.

“Maybe they wouldn’t be as comfortable telling me something that they would tell someone they don’t know at all,” Hicks said.

However, more times than not, the close relationships are beneficial for both the patient and the physician assistant.

“There’s this innate trust that we have in people. I think you really can build amazing repour with patients and get to know them very well,” Kassin said.

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