Skip to Content

Bay Pines VA Physician Assistant Driven to Make a Difference

A young woman in a lab coat stands in a medical exam room and speaks to an older gentleman.
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System Physician Assistant Elizabeth Robinson provides medical advice to a Veteran at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center, Oct. 5. In her role, Robinson assists with thoracic surgeries, diagnoses, and treats common illnesses, and serves as a supplemental provider to Veterans who entrust Bay Pines VA with their care. (Photo by Medina Ayala-Lo, Bay Pines VA Public Affairs Specialist)

Physician assistants (PA) serve in one of the broadest roles in health care. To get a better understanding of the PA role in supporting Veterans and their health care journey, we're proud to introduce you to one of Bay Pines VA Healthcare System's PA staff, Elizabeth Robinson.

“I think my entire life I went through a process of considering different science-based careers, before I came to the conclusion that I wanted to go into medicine,” Robinson shared. “In college, I was looped into a pre-PA club, and that was when I fell in love with the idea of being able to work within the field.”

A PA is a licensed medical professional who holds an advanced degree and can provide direct patient care. They work in multiple areas of specialty and primary care, diagnosing and treating common illnesses and working with minor procedures.

Robinson’s day-to-day is never the same; however, she gladly welcomes the diversity of cases and challenges the fluctuating schedule adds to her life.

“In my role, I’m able to serve as a supplemental provider for the patients,” Robinson stated. “I deliver care from the perspective of wanting the Veterans to be treated as if they were my family.”

She continued, “I ask myself ‘If this were my mom, how would I want her care to be?’. Every time I go into a patient’s room, my goal is to do what’s best for them and provide the highest quality of treatment.”

In 2021, Robinson earned her master’s degree from the University of Florida and, for nearly two years, has contributed her expertise to the surgery department at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center.

The Tampa, Fla. native specializes in thoracic surgery and shared that her interest in oncology is the driving force behind her passion.

“When I was in college, my father passed away from pancreatic cancer,” Robinson said. “Since then, I think I envisioned myself on the other side of that experience. Being able to deliver some sort of peace to a patient and their family is paramount.”

Serving Veterans comes naturally to Robinson but, as fate would have it, her introduction to working with them came long before she set her sights on becoming a PA. While still an undergrad, she frequently volunteered in the operating room at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Fla.

“Each time I went to volunteer, I loved the atmosphere, and I knew I wanted a job at the VA,” Robinson shared. “Veterans just have a unique outlook on life that you can’t find in other places; they make caring for them easy, and I feel really lucky to be able to serve them.”

See all stories