Physician Assistant Michael Duffy brings extensive primary-care experience and a specialty for treating wounds to Penn Valley clinic
Physician Assistant Michael Duffy has helped develop a new and much-in-demand career in health care, mastered a hard-to-find specialty – and found his way back to Nevada County.
“Nobody even knew if this PA thing was going to get off the ground,” says PA Duffy, a former Army Medic who enrolled in a new program at Penn State University a few decades ago and embraced the then-new profession of Physician Assistant.
His career – and the Physician Assistant profession – has thrived since. The acceptance by patients and the demand from health care providers have soared. Job growth for physician assistants is projected at 30% between 2020 and 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And PA Duffy has been there almost every step of the way. He has treated thousands of patients at Orthopedic, Emergency Room, Urgent care, Wound Care and Family Practice Clinics from California to New York. He spent a year as a Civilian Contractor in the Orthopedic /Sports Medicine Clinic at the US Military Academy West Point. Prior to coming to Western Sierra in Penn Valley, he was doing Urgent Care, Orthopedics and Wound Care in Southern California.
A decade ago, PA Duffy worked at a clinic in Nevada County. So, when he came across a job opening online for a Physician Assistant at Western Sierra Medical Clinic, it piqued his curiosity and allowed him to return to the community.
“I love the area,” says PA Duffy, a New Jersey native who joined Western Sierra in November 2021. “I heard Western Sierra did good work and was well respected. And I wanted a little different experience.”
PA Duffy is a Primary Care provider at the Penn Valley clinic. He handles everything from annual checkups to helping patients with the challenges of chronic conditions.
“I want patients to feel they’re being listened to in a non-judgmental way,” he says. “And I like to share the options (when it comes to their medical care) and be part of the decision-making process.”
He is also one of the few Physician Assistants nationwide who is a Board-Certified Wound Specialist by the American Board of Wound Management.
“There’s not always a comfort level” by some providers to determine why a wound is failing to heal properly, PA Duffy says.
But he embraces the challenge to determine why a wound is not healing.
He recalls an older patient who had a stomach wound that wasn’t healing for a couple years, despite numerous Providers looking at the problem. Duffy diagnosed the issue and the woman’s wound healed in a few weeks.
“To me, it’s one of the most rewarding aspects of Medicine,” he says.
Away from the clinic, Duffy enjoys reading about history and making the most of living in Nevada County. He is an avid fisherman and hiker – and always enjoys when he can combine the two. He is also getting to know the community again after being away for a while.
“I’m happy to be here,” he says. “I like the eclectic feel. You have salt of the earth people up here.”