Why did you choose to become a Physician Assistant? Originally, I thought I wanted to be a Physical Therapist and I started taking all the prerequisites to go to PT school. My school advisor asked me “Have you shadowed a Physical Therapist? If not, maybe you should do so and make sure that PT is what you want to do.” So, I shadowed a PT and found that it was not a good fit for me and my personality. After that, I went back to my advisor and asked her where I could use all of the credits I had earned. She began talking to me about the Physician Assistant profession. I started looking into it and it just seemed very cool to me. I became truly convinced when I shadowed some PAs in Roanoke and loved every minute of following them. One of those PAs was in Orthopaedics, which really spoke to me. In my senior year, I applied to the EVMS PA Program and got accepted.
Why did you choose to work with Dr. Haynes? I met Dr. Haynes while “shadowing” his former PA for an entire summer. I immediately liked him, he was down to earth and a lot of fun to work with. When his other PA moved on, he sent me an e-mail and asked if I would be interested in working with him. I accepted a job with him before I even graduated PA school.
What is your favorite part of the day in the office? I like seeing the patients and figuring out what is wrong with them. I like seeing that I make a difference in their lives. I love it when I give a patient an injection and they come back a few weeks later and tell me they feel fantastic!
Least favorite? When we are running behind seeing patients or the phone is ringing off the hook. I need to do everything at once, because it is all very important. Sometimes, that is hard to accomplish.
What is your favorite part of surgery? I love the atmosphere of the OR and everything about it. It is hard to think of an aspect of my surgical day that I don’t like. Dr. Haynes and I work with friendly and very-competent people in the Mary Immaculate Hospital OR and at the Peninsula Surgery Center. They make our day easy for us.
Least favorite? Dealing with complications of surgery are my least favorite and I am sure the patients would say the same. We sometimes must operate on people who have a lot of health issues – keeping them safe and well while they go through an orthopaedic surgery can be a challenge.
Does your job as a surgical PA make family life challenging? Juggling a full-time job as a PA and a full-time job as both wife and mother is difficult. But, I am learning to carve out time to take care of me. I am training for a marathon in October. I want to set a good example for my children about living a healthy lifestyle and setting goals. I am excited that I can do that.
What has changed most about your job since you started with Dr. Haynes? Everything has changed! At first, Dr. Haynes watched over everything I did. Now, even though he supervises my work closely, I have become an independent healthcare provider in my own right. He challenges me every day to grow my knowledge base and to figure out complex treatment issues, which is wonderful. With regard to surgery – there has been phenomenal change…we now do so many Partial knee replacements, we utilize computer-navigation and robotic-assistance during joint replacements; so many surgeries are now done on an outpatient basis; we use ultrasound guidance when we give injections, the list goes on and on. We have also changed from paper patient charts to EMR. The Electronic Medical Records System has its headaches and challenges, but overall it is a huge benefit for us and our patients.