Increasing in number, advanced practice providers fill critical role in rural health care

Along the way, she began to consider another route that would require fewer years of training and provide personal and professional advantages.

Brooks decided to pursue a career as a physician assistant and enrolled in the two-year University of North Dakota physician assistant studies program.

As part of her degree requirements in the program, which emphasizes family medicine and rural health care, Brooks completed a two-month rotation at Nelson County Health System in McVille, N.D. She earned a master’s degree in 2018 and joined that health system in July that year.

“I really like the flexibility associated with being a PA,” she said. “PAs have this great capability of having the flexibility of going into any specialty they desire. … That was something that was very important to me.”

And there are benefits in terms of her family life, said Brooks. She and her husband welcomed their first children, twin girls, in February.

“I like the flexibility too in the sense that I’m able to have a family and be present at home, but also have a full-time career at the same time.”

She is

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