Guide to National PA Week 2021: Date, Gift Ideas, Activities


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Physician assistants (PAs) do more than what their title might bring to mind. PAs are highly trained and educated medical professionals who often serve as a patient’s primary care provider. Too often, we might take our physician assistants for granted. 

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Luckily, National PA Week each year gives us the opportunity to show our appreciation for the work PAs put forth. If you regularly see a PA for medical care, or you have a loved one who receives care from a physician assistant, you might want to do something special this National PA Week. 

When is National Physician Assistant Week and National Physician Assistant Day? 

Text about National Physician Assistant Week with images of medical professionals

National Physician Assistant Week happens every year from October 6 to October 12. Because it falls on the same dates every year, it’s easy to mark your calendar ahead of time and prepare to show your appreciation. 

National Physician Assistant Week was originally National PA Day, and it took place on October 6 every year. Now, though, we celebrate physician assistants for an entire week every year, giving you even more time to show your gratitude. 

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What is National PA Week?

Text about physician assistants with images of medical professionals

National PA Week is our opportunity to give thanks to the hardworking individuals who work as physician assistants. It’s also a time for raising awareness about the profession. 

During National PA Week, you might see more information about the career of PA around and about. It’s a great opportunity to learn even more about the profession and the work that PAs do every day. 

How it all started

National Physician Assistant Week began as National Physician Assistant Day, celebrated on October 6th each year. October 6th is an important date for the PA profession as the birthday of Eugene A. Stead, Jr., its founder. 

The first National Physician Assistant Week was on October 6, 1987. This date commemorated the 20th anniversary of the first graduating class from Duke University’s PA program. 

How to celebrate

Physician Assistants work in every medical setting and specialty, so no matter where you go, you’re bound to find at least one. When you visit the doctor or hospital, you might be interacting with PAs without even realizing it! 

Because PAs are often overlooked or assumed to have less education and training than they truly have, National PA Week is an important celebration. 

One of the best ways to celebrate National Physician Assistant Week is by showing appreciation to the PAs in your life. But it’s also a perfect time to learn more about the PA profession and to help others learn more too.

Activity Ideas for National PA Week

List of activity ideas for National Physician Assistant Week with images of medical professionals

What can you do to celebrate National PA Week? If you want to show how thankful you are for the PAs in your life and nationwide, or you want to learn more about the profession, here are some ideas. 

Join the conversation

During National Physician Assistant Week, use #PAweek on social media to join the discussion! You’ll find tagged posts, photos, and Tweets talking about physician assistants and how much they do for patients. You can even share your own story or experience and tag it with #PAweek to let others know all about it. 

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Follow AAPA

If you want to get even more involved with National PA Week online, follow the American Academy of PAs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

You’ll get to see unique posts all throughout National PA Week, and you could even participate in AAPA’s National PA Week Photo Challenge on Instagram

Spread awareness

The PA profession is widely misunderstood and underrepresented. To help change that, you can join in raising awareness during National Physician Assistant Week. 

The American Academy of PAs offers multiple ways you can help raise awareness of the PA profession, including: 


You can show your support to PAs across the nation by making a donation to the PA Foundation. The PA Foundation is the charity arm of the AAPA, and it has been a reliable nonprofit since 1977.   

The Foundation supports programs that help physician assistants improve patient care in their communities. Even a donation of $10 can help physician assistants in your community and nationwide provide better care to the patients who need it most. 

Gifts for Physician Assistants for PA Week

List of gifts for physician assistants with images of a medical professional and greeting cards

Maybe you want to go one step further during National PA Week and give a gift directly to the PA or PAs in your life. 

When you’re preparing to give a gift to a physician assistant, it’s a good idea to consider any gift restrictions. For example, it might be off-limits for patients to give the staff gifts over a certain dollar amount. 

If you’re not sure what kind of gift would be appropriate, the ideas below might help. And if you’re still stumped, consider these gift ideas for doctors and staff

Hand-written card

The most meaningful gifts are sometimes those that cost the least. Visit a greeting card aisle and pick out a “thank you” or appreciation card that you think your PA would like. Then, compose an appreciative message to give your PA. 

They’re sure to appreciate your straight-from-the-heart gratitude. You can go one step further and have other patients or members of the clinic sign the card, too. 

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Physician assistants and other medical professionals usually can’t wear scented perfumes or even fragranced lotion and hair products to work.

All day, they’re faced with the sterile scents of a clinic or hospital, like bleach and sanitizers. When a PA goes home, they might want to unwind with some more comforting scents. 

You can provide that relaxation experience by gifting your PA an essential oil diffuser with scents like lavender and frankincense. 


Caring for people day in and day out can be taxing, both emotionally and physically. At the end of a long week, a physician assistant might want to sit back and be cared for themselves. 

That’s why a gift certificate for a relaxing massage might be the perfect gift for a physician assistant during National PA Week. 

Travel mug

PAs work long hours, and they require fuel. At the same time, they’re always on their feet and on the go. 

Every physician assistant can use a reliable, spill-proof travel mug that they can use each day at work. 

Books for physician assistants

PAs are constantly continuing their education to try and improve patient care. You can help them gain even more insight by gifting them a book for caregivers or a book about healthcare

Tip: We love Physician Wellness: The Rockstar Doctor’s Guide, Change Your Thinking, Improve Your Life by Rebeka Bernard, MD and Steven Cohen, PsyD.

PA merch

Physician assistants have a strong and proud presence online. If you want the perfect gift for a PA, you might find a t-shirt, coffee mug, or other swag detailed with specific physician assistant quotes or images. 

Some of these creations are even created by physician assistants in their limited spare time, so you can support another PA while you purchase a gift for your own. You can look at our picks for PA gifts for more personalized ideas, too.

Celebrating National PA Week

National Physician Assistant Week is our yearly opportunity to stop and give thanks to PAs everywhere. But just as importantly, it’s the public’s chance to learn more about physician assistants and their profession. 

By learning about PAs and the work they do, we can be more appreciative of physician assistants on a daily basis throughout the year. 

This year, during the week of October 6 through October 12, don’t forget to thank your physician assistant and spread awareness about PAs. 

Looking for more on days that honor healthcare workers? Read our guides on National Assisted Living Week and Nephrology Nurses Week.


  1. American Academy of Physician Assistants.
  2. “#PAweek.” AAPA.
  3. PA Foundation.

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