Q&A: Why Did You Become a Physician Assistant?

National PA Week
In honor of National Physician Assistant (PA) Week, we sat down with some of our PA students and faculty members for a Q&A about their chosen profession.
Tio Livingston, ’18PA

Q: Why did you choose to become a PA?
A: I spent 10 years in active military service and interacted with PAs in the military. I’ve always been interested in medical science so my dream was to become a physician assistant.
Jeanne-Marie Pennington, MSPAS, PA-C, assistant professor and clinical coordinator

Q: Why did you choose to become a PA?
A: Becoming a Physician Assistant was a second career for me. I worked in a hospital lab for 10 years prior to entering PA school. I really chose to do it because I wanted to have a more meaningful relationship with people. I wanted to have more than  minimal exposure to help people with their healthcare needs. At the time I was living and working on the Navajo Reservation, and I saw a lot of opportunities where help was needed.

Q: What do you like most about being a PA?
A: I feel as though the PA profession was made for me. From the moment I started my first job, I have always loved being a PA. 
Sarah Martin, ’18PA

Q: Why did you choose to become a PA?
A: I really like the puzzle of solving a diagnosis. I love PA’s abilities to go into different specialties and change at ease.
David Smith, PA-C, assistant professor

Physician Assistants Celebrate Alumni and Student AchievementsQ: Why did you choose to become a PA?
A: I always found medicine fascinating and interesting. When choosing a career in healthcare, I wanted a job that would allow me to truly practice medicine in terms of diagnosing and treating and being directly responsible for the management of patients. PA school follows the medical model, which is important when it comes to knowing what to do and how to do it. Although, I initially had aspirations of going to medical school, I decided to become a PA because I wanted to have flexibility in career options.
Q: What do you like most about being a PA?
A: The best part of being a PA is the amount of opportunities and flexibility. I teach full-time and still practice in emergency and critical care medicine. I never really get bored of work because every week I see something new. Also, I work with great people in my current places of work and that is critical when it comes to quality of life and still being passionate about teaching and practicing medicine.
Bridget Gallaher, ’18PA

Q: Why did you choose to become a PA?
A: I’ve always been interested in the medical field, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to make a difference somehow so I figured by becoming a PA, I could instill trust in my patients by listening to them and making them feel comfortable so I can help them with whatever they need at the time.
Karyn MacQueen, MMS, PA-C, assistant professor

Q: Why did you choose to become a PA?
A:  I've worked in the medical profession since I was 16 years old. I have known from early on that I wanted to be in the medical field. I chose the PA profession because it allows me to work at the level of care I am comfortable providing, as well as being able to enter the work force after obtaining a master’s degree. I also wanted to be in a profession that allows flexibility and change throughout one's career. 

Becky Youse PA WeekQ: What do you like most about being a PA?
A:  I like that physician assistants can work in any specialty and have the ability to change specialties throughout their career. I love growing and trying different things and being a physician assistant allows me to do that. And of course, I enjoy working with patients. I love medicine, how the body works, disease processes, and using my education and experience to solve challenging cases. 
Rebekah Youse, ’18PA

Q: Why did you choose to become a PA?
I’ve had experiences with physicians and nurses that were not very personable so I wanted to change that. I want to be the PA that sits down and gets to know people on a personal level.

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