As Maya Angelou once said “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter many defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” Graduating in 2001 as a medical student, I thought I had finally received the badge to practice medicine. Little did I know at that time about the long and arduous journey that lay before me. Through this journey, I have learned to appreciate the art of practicing medicine. Moreover, I understood the irreplaceable role of a mother and learnt how to balance family life and career.
I came to US in 2004 alone and to support myself, I found a job as a medical assistant in a doctor’s office. The political upheaval surrounding September 2001 resulted in the delay of my husband joining me. Living by myself in a new country although challenging, gave me resilience to withstand the odds. The work kept me going and these initial patient interactions as a medical assistant helped me develop my interpersonal relationship with the patients.
After my husband joined me I hoped things would get easier; however, I has wrong. Little was I prepared for the next set of challenges that I had to break through. Because of my husband’s education and training, we moved to three different cities over a span of five years. Furthermore, family responsibilities started increasing, and I decided to take a back seat to take care of my growing family. I missed the patient interactions and thought I would have to give up practicing medicine. In 2013 when my family moved to Plattsburgh, I got to be part of a small close-knit community. I started shadowing in a small clinic, and became aware about midlevel providers and their role in health care setting.
I found physician assistant profession interesting as they can work in several different disciplines and can change their specialty to their preference. Likewise, I got to see the interactions between doctors and midlevel providers and I understood the importance of team work in the delivery of health care. In the same year, I was employed in a primary care office. I could see two to three generation of patients, having established care under Dr. Lutinski. As a family physician, he spends a considerable time with his patients going over their history and evaluation. Family medicine is centered on the continuity of care, and my time spent with Dr. Lutinski has confirmed that this is my calling.
Living and working in Plattsburgh, I noted the lack of healthcare and realized the need for providers in rural communities. This has given me the impetus for pursuing a career as a physician assistant. Also, my role as a mother has inspired me to change my career path. I do love to help people lead healthy lives, but I have realized there is more to life than just practicing medicine. My family is my priority, and I love to practice medicine.
Therefore, physician assistant is a profession that will help me achieve that right balance between life and medicine. During this period, inspirational stories of women who dared to rise above their challenges continued to motivate me. Initially, I found it hard to balance my family responsibilities and career goal, but I have learnt to overcome them. Besides, managing my family responsibilities has horned my team work and multitasking skills. Lastly, medicine cannot be practiced independently, and patients benefits from healthcare providers working together as a team. As a physician assistant, I know I can be an integral part of this team.