For Martina Frost, PA-C, specializing in cardiology was something of a happy accident. "I was scared to death," she said of taking her position at Desert Cardiology of Tucson in 2001. Her program director had steered her toward the position and provided a strong recommendation to the practice. "I took it on as a challenge and decided to give it a year. It's been 11 years now. It was my first job as a PA, and I can't imagine doing anything else."
Frost, a native of Germany, worked as a physical therapist assistant before enrolling in the PA program at Midwestern University in Glendale, Ariz. She completed the program in 2001 and graduated first in her class. Frost said that as a new PA, she felt uneasy about her skills at first. But her mentors assured her that they wouldn't have recommended her for the position at Desert Cardiology, a practice with seven physicians and two PAs, if they didn't think she could do it. "They knew I was a new grad, and they said they'd teach me what I needed to know. Every physician in the practice made a commitment to teach me," she said.
NPs and PAs are embraced by the American College of Cardiology as a critical part of the care team. "The cardiology community welcomes us and offers us a chance to excel," Frost said.
Frost's commitment to education and excellence is evidenced by her professional memberships.
In addition to her PA certification from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, Frost is a Cardiac Care Associate of the American College of Cardiology, a fellow of the Association of Physician Assistants in Cardiology, and a member of the Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants. She is also adjunct faculty at Midwestern University and serves on the Allied Health Performance Inpatient Council committee at Northwest Medical Center.
The best thing about working in cardiology, Frost says, is the opportunity to educate patients about what they can do to improve their health and their lives. For her patients, an unexpected hospitalization for chest pain is often a wake-up call to make changes, and Frost enjoys the chance to advise them. Empowering patients is fulfilling for Frost, who loves teaching not only patients, but colleagues and students, as well.
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Frost spends much of her time at Northwest Medical Center and Oro Valley Hospital, the hospitals her practice is affiliated with. At these facilities, she lectures on EKG interpretation and other cardiology subjects and also serves as a preceptor for PA students. The students she works with specifically choose the cardiology rotation, so they're there because they want to be - not just because it's a required rotation. Some of those students want to experience cardiology because it gives them solid training that can be used in a number of other fields, but she is always quick to encourage new PAs to consider cardiology as a specialty focus.
Frost lives in Tucson with her husband and daughter, who is following in Mom's footsteps by excelling in a physical therapist assistant program.
Kelly Graham Bocich is on staff at ADVANCE. Contact her at email@example.com.