A Day in the Life: Diane Collin, physician assistant

April 29, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

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Across the organization, thousands of employees spend their days carrying out exceptional patient care, education and research.

But each individual’s role is unique — and with that in mind, the A Day in the Life Headlines series introduces an employee and gives readers a snapshot of their daily life at Michigan Medicine.

Today, meet Diane Collin, P.A., a physician assistant in the urology ambulatory care clinic at the Livonia Center for Specialty Care. Diane meets with — and creates treatment plans for — patients with urinary tract infections (UTIs), erectile dysfunction, stones, prostate cancer and other urological disorders.

In general, P.A.’s work in collaboration with licensed physicians to provide medical care to patients. Their work includes diagnosing and treating illnesses, and performing exams and procedures. A P.A.’s work may take place without a doctor physically present in a patient’s room.

7:50 a.m.: Diane arrives at the clinic and reviews MiChart reports and emails before meeting with a mix of new and returning patients.

8 a.m.: Diane’s first patient of the day complains of urinary frequency and erectile dysfunction. She talks with the patient and provides treatment guidance and resources.

8:30 a.m.: Diane meets with a patient who is there to undergo posterior tibial nerve stimulation, or PTNS. It is a relatively common — and the least invasive — form of neuromodulation used to treat overactive bladder and the associated symptoms of urinary urgency, urinary frequency and urge incontinence. A fine needle electrode is inserted into the lower, inner aspect of the leg with the goal of sending stimulation through the tibial nerve.

8:45 a.m.-10:30 a.m.: More new patients, and some returning ones, continue coming to the clinic. Diane meets with each of them.

“We see a wide variety of patients and get to know them well,” Diane said. “For instance, I met one of my patients for the first time four years ago for a urodynamic evaluation. Recently, he came back for a biopsy after there were concerns that he may have prostate cancer. He was intimidated and nervous about the procedure and its potential outcome, so I spent 45 minutes helping to calm him down.”

For Diane, her main concern was keeping the patient positive and comfortable.

“As with all of my patients, my job is to assure him that he is in a safe environment, with caring providers concerned with providing exceptional care while respecting his preferences and needs.”

10:30 a.m.: A patient arrives who is on active surveillance following a prostate cancer diagnosis. Diane evaluates his last biopsy and MRI, and determines the next steps in his treatment.

11 a.m. – noon: Diane visits with two more patients, one who has recurring UTIs, another who is there for a vasectomy consultation.

“For some patients, I’ll ensure that treatment — such as which antibiotics they are taking — are appropriate, while for others I’ll talk over what procedures will entail and who they are right for,” Diane said. “In the end, keeping patients as informed and educated as possible is a top priority.”

Noon: It’s lunch time! Diane grabs some food, then spends time calling an insurance company to get proper approvals for an MRI. Next, she works on her morning notes, makes phone calls to patients and signs prescription and procedure orders.

1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.: Diane visits with more patients, one from Africa who is visiting Michigan Medicine for the first time. Another is in for their three-month follow-up to see if treatment for overactive bladder is a success.

“The test results showed that the treatment was working,” Diane said. “There is no better feeling than knowing that our work is helping others.”

Finally, Diane places another needle for PTNS and fills in notes in MiChart.

2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.: The afternoon is filled with patients seeking care for recurrent UTIs, pelvic pain, frequent urination and prostate cancer. She places another needle for PTNS.

“No matter the condition, our clinicians work to create proper treatment plans,” Diane said. “One of my jobs is to communicate that plan with our patients so they know what to expect moving forward.”

4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.: To finish up the day, Diane completes her notes, returns patient phone calls and signs more orders and treatment plans.

“I’ll also send messages to the nursing staff and other team members so they are aware of all the next steps for our patients,” Diane said.

7:30 p.m.: Once home, Diane logs on one more time to complete notes and plan for tomorrow’s patients.

“I’ll do this while riding my exercise machine — I get a workout in and prepare for the next day. What could be better than that?” Diane asked with a laugh. “In all seriousness, I come to work every day and have the opportunity to help people — that’s incredibly satisfying.”

Do you want to share your typical day in Headlines? Email headlines@med.umich.edu with a description of your role at Michigan Medicine!