James Kelly, MMS, PA-C, has always been good at explaining concepts to people. He’s often thought if he wasn’t a Physician Assistant (PA) he would have become a teacher because he likes rephrasing things in ways that other people can understand.
“I’m good at communicating with patients and explaining things to them, that’s the part of the job that I’ve always liked,” he said.
Now he gets the chance to do exactly that. Kelly, who has been working as an adjunct for the past six months in the PA program at Salus University, recently joined the staff as an assistant professor.
James Kelly“I’ve been wanting to get into education since I graduated,” said the Aston, Pennsylvania native, who received a bachelor of science in Health Sciences from Drexel University and a Master in Medical Science (MMS) in PA Studies from Arcadia University. “I really felt like after graduation I almost missed the school component in my life,” he said.
He initially started his career in education guest lecturing in the PA program at Arcadia and liked it so much he reached out to former Salus PA program director Donna Agnew, MSPAS, PA-C, DFFPA. Kelly jumped at the opportunity to teach a Physical Diagnosis Lab at Salus when it arose.
“It’s really cool to see since I’ve graduated from school five years ago how much farther things have advanced and what great facilities that this program has, including the new Sim Lab,” said Kelly, who in addition to his teaching duties at Salus also works full-time in internal medicine and primary care for a private practice specializing in geriatrics. “The resources have been great and the staff is very dedicated. They’ve all been welcoming and very helpful as I try to learn the nuances of the program.”
Kicking off his teaching career during a pandemic, Kelly said it became an opportunity more than a challenge and gave him a chance to get his foot in the door of academia.
“When I started teaching, it was all new to me anyway,” he said. “So, the pandemic didn’t really shift the way I saw things because I don’t know any different. The pandemic really opened up an opportunity for me.”
Kelly and his wife, Mallory Patino, recently bought a single-family home where they live with their dog Archie, a mixed-breed rescue dog. During his leisure time, the three go on walks together to make sure Archie gets in his exercise.
Right now, Kelly is where he wants to be as his professional future continues to evolve. “I think if this goes well, I’m going to make education more of the full-time position and clinical work more part-time,” he said. “That’s the goal moving forward. But this is for me to get exposed to everything in education and build up my resume. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that I really didn’t know anything about and I’m learning something new every week, which is exciting.”