Blog Posts


​EmCare Physician Assistant Earns National Recognition

Posted on Thu, May 28, 2015
​EmCare Physician Assistant Earns National Recognition

BY: MARY RITTLE, PR Manager National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants

Nima M. Pourrajabi, PA-C, an EmCare-affiliated physician assistant at College Station Medical Center in Texas, has earned a specialty credential from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Pourrajabi is one of only 240 certified physician assistants (PA-Cs) in the country to receive the Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) from the NCCPA.

Pourrajabi was awarded a CAQ in Emergency Medicine, a distinction earned by meeting licensure, education and experience requirements and then passing an exam in the specialty. He is one of 425 certified PAs in the country to earn a CAQ in Emergency Medicine since the program’s inception in 2011.

“I believe the CAQ is the natural next step for a PA-C dedicated to emergency medicine,” said Pourrajabi of the achievement. “It helps reaffirm our passion for our specialty and stay at the cutting edge of our practice. It is an honor to have this distinction and I invite more of my colleagues to join me.”

“Certified PAs are in high demand because they are valued as medical providers who deliver quality care to the patients they serve,” said Dawn MortonRias, Ed.D., PA-C, president and CEO of NCCPA. “Now in addition to their primary certification, PAs in seven specialties can also earn a CAQ as an objective assessment of their specialty knowledge and skills. This combined with their general medical education are just two of the many reasons that demand for PAs is increasing in every clinical setting and specialty area.”

CAQs are offered to certified PAs in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, orthopaedic surgery, nephrology and psychiatry, and for the first time in 2014, hospital medicine and pediatrics.

Certified PAs are licensed and certified health care professionals who practice medicine. Certified PAs can take histories, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventative health care, assist in surgery, perform a variety of procedures and write prescriptions. 



Rx: Laughter?

Posted on Tue, Jan 27, 2015
Rx: Laughter?

A few weeks ago, I was in a meeting, when during the lunch break, I was so tickled that I ended up laughing for the rest of the day. There was nothing earth-shatteringly funny happening; I was simply enjoying the fact that I was sitting in a room with a group of people that I enjoy. And, well into the next day, I found myself smiling about the incident and I realized that the apples of my cheeks were still somewhat sore from smiling.

This experience led me to research laughter and how it affects our health. 

There's actually a wealth of information that suggests there is great value in incorporating some aspect of humor and laughter in the care plans of our patients, even in emergency medicine. French surgeon, Henri de Mondeville, famously wrote, "Let the surgeon take care to regulate the whole regimen of the patient's life for joy and happiness, allowing his relatives and special friends to cheer him, and by having someone tell him jokes."

FEATURED JOB: FT Emergency Physician in Houston, TX!

Here are some of the benefits of laughter:

  1. Laughter dissolves tension, stress, anxiety, irritation, anger, grief, and depression. Like crying, laughter lowers inhibitions, allowing the release of pent-up emotions. There is no doubt that after an episode of intense laughter, you will experience a sense of well-being. We have all heard the phrase “he who laughs, lasts.” So true!
  2. Medical researchers have found that laughter boosts the immune system.
  3. Laughter reduces pain by releasing endorphins that are more potent than equivalent amounts of morphine.
  4. Humor helps integrate both hemispheres of our brain, for the left hemisphere is used to decipher the verbal content of a joke while the right hemisphere interprets whether it is funny or not.
  5. Laughter  can help you be more productive, engaging and help you be more of a team player
  6. Everyone loves someone who can make them laugh. People want to surround themselves with those who have a good sense of humor and can tell a joke or two.
  7. Humor brings the balance we need to get through the turbulence of life comfortably.
  8. According to Dr James Walsh, laughter is even equivalent to a small amount of exercise. You can feel the muscles of the diaphragm, abdominals, face (remember when I mentioned having sore cheeks?), leg and back get a good workout.
  9. A sense of humor can help you accept the inevitable, rise to any challenge, handle the unexpected with ease, and come out of any difficulty smiling.
  10. Lower blood pressure.
  11. Increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood.
  12. Reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
  13. Defend against respiratory infections–even reducing the frequency of colds–by immunoglobulin in saliva.
  14. Increase memory and learning; in a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor during instruction led to increased test scores
  15. Improve alertness, creativity, and memory

FEATURED: Have you tried EmCare's new cost-of-living calculator?

One of the other things about laughter is that it is incredibly contagious.  Like a yawn that's passed on from one to another, you can’t help but smile or join in when someone around you is laughing. I am convinced that if we can share some laughter, even in stressful situations, we can have a positive impact on overall health -- not only our own but those around us.

Ginger joined EmCare in 2013 as a Divisional Director of Clinical Services for the South Division with the strong belief that she could continue to make positive changes within healthcare by helping others focus on quality, excellence and the overall patient experience. Ginger Wirth regards her role as Director of Clinical Services as the ideal opportunity to partner with nursing, physician and facility leaders to make positive changes to the entire patient care experience. Her 20+ year nursing career has been dedicated to quality and excellence, promoting overall positive outcomes and safety for patients.



Get to Know our December Clinician of the Month, Cynthia Bratcher!

Posted on Tue, Dec 09, 2014
Get to Know our December Clinician of the Month, Cynthia Bratcher!

Cynthia M. Bratcher, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, CEN has been working as an emergency medicine professional for 25 years. Her commitment to care extends beyond the healthcare facility — it’s her passion. She teaches ACLS, PALS, and TNCC and her special interest in trauma led her to author two chapters of the Trauma Nurse Core Curriculum provider manual, 7th edition.

Not only does she share her experience and expertise in print and in the workplace, but she also contributes to EmCare’s blog, where she shares her unique insight on the most pressing issues she sees in the emergency department.

Read below to find out what spending 25 years in healthcare has taught Cynthia and what one new process she believes will be the future of healthcare.

The one piece of healthcare advice I wish everyone would follow is: to take steps to decrease modifiable risk factors that will improve the quality of life. Many of our most lethal diseases have modifiable risk factors. Modifiable risk factors for hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease are obesity and smoking, but obesity rates are rising and Americans continue to smoke at alarming rates. The hypertension that results in a stroke, the diabetes that results in kidney failure and the heart disease that causes a fatal myocardial infarction could be eliminated in so many patients’ lives by maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking. Patient engagement is the key factor in health promotion and disease prevention, and only by having patients partner in their health and decreasing modifiable risk factors can patient outcomes and quality of life improve. 

Sometimes it’s the patients that teach the care giver. One lesson a patient has taught me was: that they expect me to have clinical skill but at the most critical moments of their lives they will remember the small acts of comfort and kindness. I had just placed a cool cloth on the head of a patient who was having a myocardial infarction when he went into a life threatening rhythm and arrested. His son thanked me later because his Dad told him how much I did for him, and I informed his son that there was a team of nurses that were responsible for the successful resuscitation. He told me that the one thing that stood out in his father’s memory was the cool cloth, and he did not remember the other actions of the team. Cool cloths, warm blankets, and an extra pillow all seem like small things to those of us who are not suffering, but to the patient these actions are the care in healthcare.  We are health care professionals and are expected to be clinically astute, but actions that alleviate discomfort are very meaningful. 

RELATED ARTICLE: What’s in a Name? Three Reasons to Stop Calling Us Mid-Level Providers and What to Call Us Instead

What are the most promising tools, technologies, processes that you think will drive the future of healthcare? Electronic medical records are changing how we deliver care to our patients. The ability to have  a patient’s information from all medical providers through electronic medical records, utilizing the information to decrease the need for repetitive tests, and having previous health information can be essential in formulating a plan of care that more rapidly results in healing for the patient.  As these programs are enhanced and integrated, the efficiency of the healthcare team will improve and allow us to provide care to more patients.   

I hope my patients remember me as knowledgeable and compassionate. Many patients seeking care in the emergency setting have nowhere else to seek care, and treating non-urgent illnesses in the emergency department creates a challenge when the demand for care is increasing but our space is not. My role as an advanced practice provider is to diagnose and treat their condition, but treating them with respect and kindness is crucial with how the patients view me personally, the healthcare team, and the facility.


Dallas, TX | FT Nurse Practitioner
Hillsborough, FL | ED Medical Director
Lititz, PA | Nurse Practitioner
Olla, LA | Emergency Medicine Physician
Loxahatchee, FL | Pediatrician


Get to Know Our November Clinician of the Month: Dr. Rebecca Parker

Posted on Thu, Nov 13, 2014
Get to Know Our November Clinician of the Month: Dr. Rebecca Parker

EmCare has more than 10,000 clinicians serving communities across the country and we want to share their stories with you. Get to know these hard-working, difference-makers right here with our monthly “Clinician of the Month” blog post. Do you know a clinician who should be featured? Email!

Dr. Parker is vice president for EmCare’s North Division and senior physician leader for the Midwest.

She is attending emergency physician at Presence Covenant Medical Center in Urbana, Illinois and Centegra Health System in McHenry and Woodstock, Illinois.  She is also clinical assistant professor at Texas Tech University in El Paso and president, Team Parker LLC.  Dr. Parker began her leadership track with ACEP in 1997 as a member of the EMRA Board of Directors and Alternate ACEP Councilor. She then went on to be a member of both Texas and Illinois Board of Directors, and chaired both chapters’ Education Committees.  She served on the executive committee in Illinois as a member-at-large, secretary-treasurer and then president-elect until she was elected to the ACEP Board of Directors in 2009. 

"Dr. Becky Parker is an outstanding physician and leader. She skilled and well versed not only in emergency medicine but also hospital medicine, physician practice management, and specialty group leadership. She is a true asset to EmCare's leadership team," said Dr. Adam Corley, vice president for EmCare's West Division.

Most recently Dr. Parker was appointed ACEP 2014 Chairman of the Board during ACEP 14-Scientific Assembly in Chicago, the largest annual gathering of emergency physicians in the country.

Dr. Parker is a graduate of Northwestern University Medical School and the emergency medicine residency program at Texas Tech University-El Paso.

Watch the video below as Dr. Parker shares how patients have impacted her and what she's grateful for.