From Student to Clinician
The wind whipped around the rooftop
of the Philadelphia high-rise apartment building and tousled the hair of
perhaps the only person who knows exactly what I have experienced over the last
eight months. We sat overlooking the urban expanse and swapped stories of silly
daily events, gut-wrenching stress and, of course, death.
Like me, my
friend had left physician assistant school and accepted a job in one of the
most intense fields in medicine. And, just like me, she had left everyone she
knew to lay roots in a brand new city. Our mutual therapy session continued as
the sun disappeared and darkness settled over her new home. The conversation
inevitably drifted toward our days in school together and the friends we had
left to pursue our new careers.
scattered -- our old classmates, colleagues and friends -- to different corners
of the country, and even the globe. Their lives have already seen so many
triumphs: successful careers, engagements, weddings and even new babies. They,
no doubt, have also faced down many of the challenges that I encountered this
year. It's tempting to feel a bit disappointed, even sad, that such amazing
people are continuing their stories without sharing the daily encounters that
made our time together in school so special.
paths have diverged, but we may have gained something even better. Plants
survive by scattering their seeds far from the parent that produced them. In
order to grow and flourish, they need to escape the shade of the branches from
which they sprouted and find their own fertile ground. And even if the sun,
those environmental stressors we all encounter, can scorch us, it is exactly
what we need to grow.
So yes, we
came from that safe PA school tree and scattered like seeds in the wind. And some
of us ended up in places that seem more harsh and barren. But we are prepared
for it. Heck, we are made for it. We need it to grow to our greatest potential.
A few years
from now, you will see something truly impressive. We won't be scared little
seeds anymore, or even little saplings. When you look across the area that we
covered-from New York to Pennsylvania to Ohio to California and even Japan-you
will see a forest of strong PAs. And in an ever-changing healthcare
environment, our patients need that shade.