Please tell us which program you chose for your Physician Assistant studies? Why did this program make the top of your list?
After completing my undergrad education in Biology at East Carolina University, I chose Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL for my Physician Assistant studies. Nova’s impeccable reputation as a program, proven board certification pass rates, state of the art resources, and focus on humanitarian presence both in and outside the community made this an easy decision. Not to mention the beautiful sunny weather Florida offered. I have been thankful throughout my career for the opportunity it offered as it more than prepared me for working autonomously as a Physician Assistant in the United States Navy.
Tell us more about how you came to choose the field of medicine?
As the daughter of a retired Emergency Medicine physician, who started his career in the Army, I was heavily influenced by the world of medicine. My father has been an advocate for the PA profession for longer than I had initially realized. To be honest, I did not know what a PA was until my father introduced me through his PA friends and coworkers. At the time, I was in college on track to go to veterinary school, working part time as a veterinary assistant, and was struggling with selecting a profession and specialty that I wouldn’t feel “stuck in” later. I wanted career stability in something that was fulfilling but needed freedom and flexibility. One summer we went on a medical mission to Ecuador together and through this experience I realized I wanted to make a career in medicine and being a PA was how I was going to do it.
How did you choose Emergency Medicine as your specialty?
As I shared from an earlier answer, my father is a retired Emergency Medicine physician, and the apple did not fall far from the tree in this regard. During my Emergency Medicine rotation as a PA student, I thrived in the acute, fast paced environment. Due to my preparation, attention to detail, facility performing procedures, and patient rapport, I was granted a significant amount of autonomy making Emergency Medicine my favorite. Like my father, I thoroughly enjoy the diversity of cases and commitment to lifelong learning. Years later as a practicing PA, I was accepted into a highly competitive, rigorous 18-month Emergency Medicine Fellowship further developing my abilities to provide exceptional care in this specialty.
What do you enjoy most about your day-to-day practice?
I enjoy the team cohesion, patient acuity, diversity of cases, procedures, and being a “jack of all trades.” In the ER, I am always learning and there is never a dull moment.
What led you to practice with MEMA?
The Navy is a small world we often say. During my most recent tour I was fortunate to work with two ER Physicians who completed their residencies at CMC and intended on moving back to Charlotte upon completion of their military commitments. Through our discussions, I was guided to explore a position with MEMA, and so I did. I was very pleased with the warmth I received from their leadership and their focus on team, family, and employee satisfaction which was exactly what I was looking for.
Has there been one patient, staff member, or caregiver story that has stuck with you?
There have been too many to count, all of which I am grateful for. Regardless of the patient care details, I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to make a positive impact in their lives. Each of these interactions provided a learning experience that I take with me in my practice and remain a constant reminder of why I serve my patients and their families.
What are some of the biggest challenges of your practice, for a clinician practicing in the emergency department?
Healthcare delivery and access to care has been challenging for quite some time, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. With increased patient volumes, monetary budgets, and staffing shortages, this has led to increased healthcare provider burnout and compassion fatigue particularly in Emergency Medicine, which I would be remiss if I said I did not feel the impact of this at certain times in my career. With that said, we have a duty to care for our patients, providing the highest quality of care possible, and I accept the challenge to do just that.
Are you a member of any associations, societies, or organizations? Any leadership roles?
I am a member of the Sea Services Leadership Association (SSLA), American College of Emergency Medicine Physicians (ACEP), Society of Emergency Medicine Physician Assistants (SEMPA), Wilderness Medicine Society (WMS), Naval Association of Physician Assistants (NAPA), and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).
Throughout my Navy career I have had the opportunity to hold leadership roles as Division Officer and Department Head, committee chair positions, and during my most recent tour I was the Assistant Director of Medical Services for the hospital.
Have you received any awards or been recognized from your peers? If so, tell us about it!
My Navy award and decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Medal (two awards), Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Navy Rifleman Sharpshooter Medal, and Navy Pistol Sharpshooter Medal. In addition, I was featured as Navy PA in the Spotlight 2021.
What about Charlotte excites you?
My brother and sister-in-law along with my amazing niece and nephew have resided in Charlotte for 10 years now. After being away from family this long I am looking forward to spending more time with them and making new memory tattoos. Charlotte is rapidly growing with a big city small town vibe and southern charm, has a large young professional scene, a phenomenal medical presence, offers much to do with its endless restaurants and breweries, and is a short drive to the amazing mountains.
Do you have any Hobbies, interests, or secret powers that are unique to you?
My most loved hobby is traveling, experiencing food, culture, and the people I meet along the way. Other hobbies include hiking, camping, horseback riding, surfing, rowing, all things outdoors really, and cooking.