CLINICAL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT STUDIES, SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
3 years working at Carolina
What’s a typical day like in your job?
My time is split between teaching work and clinical work. I’ll come into my office and have student meetings and then go and teach the first-year physician assistant students. Most of the classes I teach are hands-on, so we teach students how to do a physical exam or how to talk to a patient in an empathetic but effective manner. My clinical days are refreshing and remind me why I teach. If I’m working clinically in the emergency department, that work is unpredictable. Some days people come in with colds, while other days people are having heart attacks.
How does your work support Carolina’s mission?
I think the program I work for and my job recruiting, educating and supporting people even after they graduate is what helps me support Carolina’s mission. Part of the PA program’s mission is to accept, train and graduate students that are from North Carolina and want to work and practice medicine in this state.
What do you like most about your work?
My favorite part is the interactions I have with students. One of my favorite types of interactions is when I’m showing students a difficult idea or technique and they struggle at first but their persistence leads to that light bulb moment. Making that impact and working with students so they can learn something they’ll use for the rest of their careers is awesome.
What is your favorite course to teach and why?
My favorite course of the nine I teach is patient assessment. It’s a two-part course where we take things the students are learning in their other courses and put it all together. We build these standardized patient encounters where actors and actresses play patients. The students go and see these patients and have to apply everything they’ve learned in their other classes in order to solve what’s happening with the patient.
How did you get to be North Carolina PA of the Year?
When they were giving me the award at the N.C. Academy of PAs conference, they said I was nominated because I was a leader at the national level, along with my informal leadership and activism. I’m pretty active on social media, which was a big part of my nomination because it helps flatten out the hierarchy and make leaders more accessible. Last summer I also gave a talk at a conference called Fem IN EM, which is for women who work in emergency medicine.