When I was training to be a physician assistant (PA), I had a rotation in an inpatient setting that provided care for people with cancer. It was the first time during any of my clinical rotations where I felt like everyone — the patients, medical providers, nurses and supportive care staff — worked together as a team. I hadn’t witnessed that level of collaboration in any other specialty. What I also love about this area of medicine is that you get to know your patients a bit more. Prior to becoming a PA, I worked in emergency services, where you take care of someone for a few hours and then move on to the next patient, never knowing whether you were able to help that person or not. In oncology, I get to witness a person’s story progressing over time and connect with them on a deeper level.
Every day, my team does our normal rounds, where we check in medically with each patient, but often, time permitting, we also do what we call social rounds. These are opportunities to sit down and learn more about patients and see what you can do to make their hospital stay a little better. Sometimes that’s explaining some aspect of their health situation in more detail or with more clarity than they’ve gotten in the past. Sometimes it’s simply taking a moment to talk about something other than their disease. Another really satisfying aspect of my job is being a problem-solver, figuring out why someone has a recurrent fever or abdominal pain. When my team members and I can find answers, patients often feel a sense of closure and relief.
A board-certified physician assistant, I provide care for adults with a variety of diseases who have been admitted to UW Medical Center - Montlake for inpatient care. Some of the patients I work with arrive for scheduled chemotherapy, while others are experiencing side effects or symptoms that can’t be managed in an outpatient setting. Prior to becoming a PA, I worked as an emergency medical technician and served as the emergency department technician lead at Swedish Medical Center.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Brain and Spinal Cord Cancers
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
Head and Neck Cancers
Liver Tumors and Cancer
Salivary Gland Cancer
Sickle Cell Disease
University of Washington School of Medicine
Physician Assistant, 2015, National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
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