Editor’s note: This profile is part of the Society of Hospital Medicine’s celebration of National Hospitalist Day on March 4. National Hospitalist Day occurs the first Thursday in March annually and celebrates the fastest growing specialty in modern medicine and hospitalists’ enduring contributions to the evolving health care landscape.
Bridget McGrath, PA-C, FHM, is a physician assistant and director of the nurse practitioner/physician’s assistant service line for the section of hospital medicine at the University of Chicago. She is a cochair of SHM’s NP/PA Special Interest Group.
Where did you receive your PA education/training? Was your intention always to be a PA?
I graduated from the PA program at Butler University, Indianapolis, in 2014. In college, whenever I shadowed a PA, I was always impressed that each one loved their job and said they would never change it. That universal passion for the PA profession really made an impression on me.
At what point in your PA education/training did you decide to practice hospital medicine? What about it appealed to you?
That occurred during my clinical rotation year at Butler. I had always thought I wanted to practice neonatology, but during my clinical rotation I really fell in love with adult medicine. I recall that during my clinical rotation, the preceptor said to me that the goal was not to have me understand every aspect of medicine, but to learn how to exist in a hospital setting. I was exposed to the breadth of hospital medicine practice and I fell in love with the complexity, the variety, and the environment itself.
I initially accepted a job as a med-peds hospitalist PA – which brought both of my passions together at that time – at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, Ind. During that time, Schneck was a 100-bed rural community hospital which had recently been the recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. It was there that I was able to practice with a phenomenal group of physicians, nurses, and social workers who really took me under their wing and taught me how to be a hospitalist PA. I practiced at Schneck for 3 years, and then moved to the University of Chicago in 2017.
I am now the director of NP/PA services for the section of hospital medicine, overseeing a group of seven on our NP/PA team, within a larger group of about 60 physicians.
What are your favorite areas of clinical practice?
Like many hospitalists, I enjoy the variety of medicine that hospitalists practice. One area that I find especially rewarding is my time in our transplant comanagement services. To be able to walk with patients on their transplant journey is very rewarding, and I am very appreciative of the mentoring I have received from some of my colleagues with a deeper understanding of transplant medicine.
In my administrative role, I have the privilege of helping to expand the professional education and training of my colleagues. I have a passion for medical education, and we have been working to develop interprofessional educational opportunities within our section. I have had time to think about the imprint of NPs and PAs in academic medicine, and how we can continue to meet the professional educational needs of our section while improving the care of our patients.