Brigette Kerber (pictured above), MS, PA-C, recently joined the Department of Neurosurgery and is focusing on inpatient care. Working on the Neuroscience Unit (6A) at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center, Brigette helps manage a mix of nonsurgical, preoperative, and post-operative patients. 

These patients can have a variety of neurosurgical issues, including head injuries or fractures, herniated discs, and brain tumors. “We work in conjunction with the attending physicians, managing patient care, ordering imaging, and helping with pain management and other medical issues,” said Brigette. “We carry out the care plan for the patient’s diagnosis.” 

Team-based model
She enjoys working alongside the neurosurgical residents and attending physicians to take care of her patients. “It’s a team-based model,” Brigette said. “I like how collaborative it is and how we bounce ideas off each other. It’s great to have this pool of people to draw from to help us determine what’s best for our patients.”

The joy of working with these patients for Brigette is that they’re all unique. “I really enjoy inpatient care because you see a lot of diversity,” she said. “It’s also an important, stressful time in our patients’ lives and I like being part of helping them get through it.”  

COVID challenges
Determining what’s best for each patient can be difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic made it even more so. “It’s been challenging to coordinate with our patients’ families because they can’t be here,” said Brigette. “We have to make sure that someone calls family members with updates.” 

Brigette earned her MS in Physician Assistant Practice from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago, IL. She completed her BA in biology and Spanish at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter, MN. Brigette was most recently a Neurosurgery Physician Assistant at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, MN. Prior to that, she served in the same role at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, MN. 

Trust your gut
When Brigette was just getting started in her PA career, one of the surgeons she worked with told her to trust her gut. It’s some of the best advice she ever received. “If I feel that a patient needs a certain lab or an image, he told me to trust that and no one would fault me for it,” she said. “I try to keep that in the back of my mind when determining what is best for a patient, especially when I feel something else might be going on.” 

Brigette lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Erik, and two children, Ada and Elsie, and dog Luke. They enjoy spending time together outside and going to her family’s cabin.