It was never a question of what I wanted to do. I've always wanted to be in the medical field. Being a PA combines everything I'm interested in! There's a lot of face time with patients, and you work as a team in different specialties at hospitals and clinics. This is a growing career field with a lot of opportunity. It fits with everything I want in my life.
I chose to attend Clarkson because I like the small class size and the focus on learning and providing medical care to the local community. Without a doubt, I've gained essential experience and insights here that will help me to be understanding and compassionate and to grow into the kind of provider I want to be.
Clarkson’s PA program is 28 months, and we don't take summer off. Our first three semesters are in the classroom, and the last four are clinical rotations — in the real world and local community. Clarkson emphasizes hands-on experience, and you can understand how necessary that is in the medical field. We have clinical rotations in surgery, emergency medicine and geriatrics, as well as in the hospital.
As a second-year physician-assistant student, I'm out on rotations at local hospitals and medical offices right now. It feels great! I'm from an urban area, but, unexpectedly, I have fallen in love with this rural setting. I love working in this northern New York community with providers at the local hospitals. Everyone is so kind and nice, and they're invested in everyone.
I believe I was well-prepared for my PA studies due to the work I put in during my undergraduate years at Providence College and to the good clinical experience I had prior to starting my graduate program. As part of the application process for the PA program, students are required to have already worked for a certain number of hours in the medical field. I've worked as a phlebotomist and EMT, and I was on a medical-mission team. It's great to have those skills and then be able to expand on them.
Here's one example of the type of leadership opportunities I've had at Clarkson. I'm the president of our student-run medical-mission organization, Students Without Borders, so I’m starting to plan our next medical mission trip, set for 2018. This year I participated in planning our medical mission to the Dominican Republic, where we set up a free clinic for the local community. We accomplished a lot. It truly was an unforgettable experience.
I'll soon be looking for PA positions locally. While I've had wonderful experience as a student, I'm eager to begin my career!