Before becoming a PA, Tiffany Worthington worked as an EMT, a 911 dispatcher, and for a brief time as a firefighter. “Once I decided to go to PA school, I thought I would go into emergency medicine, which seemed like a natural fit, but then I discovered cardiac surgery, and fell in love,” she says. PA Worthington works in cardiovascular surgery in California – in the clinic, in the OR, and inpatient care. “I have always known I enjoyed medicine, and as a firefighter and EMT, I loved being able to help people. And I love helping people now by practicing as a cardiothoracic surgery PA.”
PA Worthington has also found a passion in PA advocacy.
She has become involved in the Association of Physician Assistants in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery and is currently working with the organization to grow the Legislative Advocacy Committee. One project she is involved with and passionate about currently is putting together a task force to change Title 22 – a regulation in California that restricts PA practice in cardiac surgery. “California PAs in cardiac surgery face this very large barrier to providing care. Two surgeons must be in the room whenever a patient is undergoing cardiac surgery involving cardiopulmonary bypass. In every other state in the country, only one surgeon is required with PAs acting as first and second assist. She is also focused on learning about the local barriers to PA practice that still exist across the country within her specialty. “PAs in cardiac surgery face barriers in their day to day practice, and it is a passion of mine to work towards change here in California and nationally.”
PA Worthington said she was drawn to the DMSc because she wanted to develop her leadership skills and acquire knowledge about the business aspects of medical practice. She also found a great collaborative environment. “With my DMSc colleagues, I found the discussion boards were very interesting and helped to facilitate our discussions back and forth across disciplines.”
She says a huge benefit of the DMSc program is the way coursework is designed to allow PAs the opportunity to improve their own practices while earning the doctorate. “Every course assignment can be directly applied to what I do in my practice as a surgical PA. When the assignments were related to budgeting, I would apply them to budgeting for cardiac surgery; if we were talking about organizational behavior, I would apply that to my own work environment. This program is workable for PAs because we can apply all of the coursework directly to our respective careers.”
When she isn’t working or advocating for her profession, PA Worthington enjoys spending time with her children and enjoying activities outdoors whether it’s going on hikes or spending a lazy day at the beach.