June 8, 2007 at 4:03 pm (1-800-IDEA-MAN)

I’m always full of ideas. People ask me all the time for various solutions to their problems. I should get the telephone number 1-800-IDEA-MAN so that people could call me anytime day or night with their questions. A typical conversation might go something like this:

CALLER: Hello, Idea Man? I spilled red wine on the carpet and can’t seem to get the stain out. To make matters worse, my son dropped his candy bar on the rug and walked right though it all. What am I supposed to do?

ME: Calm down, Ma’am. All you need to do is get some club soda and a roll of paper towels and that stain will come right out. Just make sure that the roll is lint-free so that you won’t have soggy red bits of paper towel rolling around on the carpet.

Just like that, another problem is solved.

My idea this week is to allow 4th year medical students to receive licenses as physician assistants. The way I envision it is that people who have taken Step 1 and Step 2 should automatically become PA’s. Medical students who have gotten that far will already have more education and experience than a fresh-out-of-school PA. I say these hard working individuals should be paid for their time.

Think about it: students could moonlight during their easier rotations to make some extra cash. While the sub-internships will be difficult, students will certainly have free time during their history of medicine course. Given the pay scale of an average PA, a medical student should be able to make $1,000 in a weekend. The hospital gets weekend coverage and prn service while the student gets paid. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Some critics might say that a medical student is only partway through the educational process. While true, I am not suggesting that students practice unobserved. If a PA can be trained in two years to work under the supervision of an attending, certainly someone with 3+ years of training can do the same.


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