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NCCPA Spotlights AHPAC member PA Finklea

Posted 9 months ago by Camille Dyer

PA Shares OBGYN Experience and Offers Advice
by Karen Finklea, DMSc, PA-C
Karen Finklea, DMSc, PA-C

My path to becoming a Board Certified PA in OBGYN is marked with a journey of twists and turns, with a lot of learning along the way.


I have been a PA for five years and have been in the OBGYN specialty for three years. I was recently awarded the Association of Physician Associates in Obstetrics and Gynecology Preceptor of the Year Award, which was such an honor for me as I look back to how my interest in this specialty started.


During my clinical rotations in PA school, OBGYN stood out as one of my favorite rotations. I was always interested in OBGYN, and I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to transfer to this specialty at my current job.


Having ventured into this specialty from internal medicine, I've encountered my fair share of challenges and rewards, all while nurturing an unwavering passion for women's health.


I love the relationships I've formed with my patients and that I can transition between obstetrical vs. gynecological care each day. There is never a dull moment and no challenge too difficult to handle. I love the collaborative nature of my group and how we are able to come together to provide the best care for our patients.


I'm honored to play a role in enhancing the lives of women everywhere.




Although many advancements have been made to provide compassionate care in the specialty of OBGYN, I believe there are many challenges that need addressing to prioritize care and place health equity at the forefront. 


In order to practice compassionate care, one must be willing to provide personalized care to each patient's unique situation. 


I would be remiss not to mention the drastic maternal health outcomes within the U.S., especially among black birthing individuals, who are 2-3 times more likely to have adverse maternal outcomes. There is an urgent need to change and address disparities in OBGYN. Advocating for policy change and health care accessibility is the start to a positive transition within OB-GYN care.




PAs in OBGYN make up a small percentage (1.2%) of the PA profession. According to the 2022 Statistical Profile of Board Certified PAs by Specialty, an annual report published by NCCPA, there are 1,413 PAs practicing in OBGYN who work in this field as their main position. Despite being a small portion of the profession, PAs in OBGYN are essential to the specialty and they report the highest level of satisfaction with their career, 91.5%. 


For others interested in changing to this specialty, I would recommend setting expectations on where you see yourself working (outpatient vs. inpatient). Networking is going to be one of your most significant tools. Research positions in your area and reach out with your relevant PA experience. You also want to make sure you stay informed of OBGYN topics and comfortable with learning and performing procedures.


This article was authored by Karen Finklea, DMSc, PA-C, a physician assistant at Obstetrics and Gynecology in Rochester, NY. She is also a member of the NYSSPA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and the Jordan's Cultural Competency Committee. Her thoughts are her own and are not affiliated with NCCPA.