This is the video from our global medical mission trip October 2012. We were proud to serve over 600 people with combined medical and dental care. I have written several posts on the topic. It was an amazing experience and every time I need a reminder of why I love my job, I just look at these pictures.
I encourage each and every Physician Assistant I meet to take a trip like this. And then take 10 more. It will change your life in ways I cannot begin to describe. It will make you a better, more balanced person!
Since returning I have a renewed passion for my work, and I am proud of my kids as they continue to ask the questions about these children and their families. My 5-year-old daughter now says when she grows up she "Wants to be a person who helps poor people and the Haiti kids." Honestly, this is the best thing a dad can hear.
I hope that 2013 brings continued joy. My thanks to the amazing Brad Ingram, my dear friend and a wonderful PA who organized this whole adventure.
You can see all the photos here.
All photos by the amazing: Courtney Reese!
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Linda Gin says
Thank you so much for this post! I am curious about question 11 – “What makes you stand out from the person sitting next to you?” I found this to be somewhat offensive, as each person brings his/her own gifts to the table. Ultimately, we all want the same thing, which is to help patients receive the best care and to support the mission of our supervising physician(s); we just have different ways of approaching such goals. Can you please elaborate as to what the admissions committee is looking for?
Thanks so much,
It is like choosing the right type of Jam in the grocery store. When you walk down the isle there will be 20, 30 or maybe 40 different options. Different flavors, fruits, packaging, prices etc. etc. etc. And just like you said “each jam brings his/her own gifts to the table.”
But at the end of the day you have to buy some jam, so you have to make a decision. If I were to ask you why you, miss strawberry is any better than marmalade you are going to have to plead your case if you want to be placed in the basket. Does this mean you are better or superior to marmalade? No not at all, but I could tell you 100 reasons why I like strawberry better than marmalade…. I like its’ flavor and texture, I like how sweet it is and I love how it tastes on peanut butter.. much better than marmalade indeed!
I can see how you feel this question is somewhat offensive and I hate marketing, but what I have found, whether it is getting into PA school, pitching a product I am extremely proud of and have spent months creating, or convincing my patient to initiate a lifestyle change or consider a certain therapy; Good marketing along with a good and meaningful message are a powerful combination that can not only take you far, but help you share your gifts with the world.
Don’t be afraid to market yourself, make a list of your very best traits, the things you feel make you unique and special, genuine and kind… And you tell them what those are. If you do it well, you may even be able to convince your interviewer, who may be eating toast with marmalade jam, that today strawberry is really a much better choice!
Thanks so much, Stephen!
How refreshing to see these pictures and your post. I want to help the poverty stricken also. Did you find at any time where you were more prepared because of your profession as opposed to being a nurse? If so, what made being a P.A more effective in helping the Haitians.
Thanks for sharing!
We had a nurse on the trip. She was invaluable. She performed all our triage, documented the chief complaint, obtained all the vitals, and assisted with procedures. But as PA’s our job was to perform a full history and physical, as well as diagnose, treat and prescribe medicines/treatment plans for our patients. Just like in the hospital or clinics of the US, the roles were the same overseas.
My wife is a nurse and I hope she comes along next time, but despite her vast knowledge we are trained completely differently.
In Haiti (and often in the US) we work just like a family practice doctor. In Haiti I felt like we were trained better than many of the doctors we worked with. We had several clinic days where we worked alone, it didn’t matter, after 9 years in family practice I feel like I know my stuff. So, in this sense I think as a PA we are much more effective than a nurse in a place like Haiti. Although, both my colleague and I are both generalist PA’s. And I think this gave us quite an advantage. This would not necessary be the case if you were a derm. PA or an Orthopedic PA. But as a family practice PA it really is an ideal, and wonderfully rewarding experience. Or full time job, working internationally.
P.S After my trip I got inspired…Just launched our global health website with Physician Assistants for Global Health: http://www.pasforglobalhealth.com/. Took it officially live this weekend. I will be posting a lot about these topics over there. We have a lot of wonderful content about PA’s and what it is like working overseas. Let me know if you sign up with the free community and I will make you a paid member for the year. That way you can access the newsletter and conference videos. I think you will get inspired!
Thank you for your reply! Awesome site I signed up!