I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Sports Science/Athletic Training Emphasis at the University of Utah. While working for a Physical Therapy group that provided PT at a clinic and provided ATC services (including teaching) at a local High School, I realized 80+ hours/week was punishing for my family (in particular, at the wages). A fellow ATC had gone on to become a PA during my AT training and asked me to look at this option.I did. 1 year later, I found myself accepted and enrolled in the Masters PA program at the University of Utah. Originally, my intentions were to practice Orthopedic Medicine. During the summer before the didactic year and throughout the didactic year, I worked weekends at a local hospital as a cardiac rehab therapist and became known to the cardiac staff and cardiologists.
I decided to learn as much of internal medicine as I could, thinking I would still want to work in Orthopedics. We had Friday Clinic beginning our 3rd Semester of the Didactic year and I did those at the Salt Lake VAMC. I converted that to a 6 month Internal Medicine rotation during my clinical year (completing my other electives and required through the other 6 months).
My 2 last rotations were “working” interviews. A 2 week rotation with a Radiation Oncologist in Las Vegas and the a 2 week rotation in Cardiology with the group that had come to know me during my didactic year. They offered me a job and hired me just before I graduated from PA School, paid for the PANCE, state licensing, DEA, and set me up to go to an American College of Cardiology (ACC) Board Review course.
I worked with them for 18 months. There were 2 PAs and 12 MDs. 1 general cardiologist, 4 electrophysiologists, 1 hospitalist, and 6 interventional cardiologists (2 also did peripheral procedures: renal and carotid stents). 8 of them read nuclear stress tests and other cardiac imaging modalities. My PA colleague and I covered outpatient clinic, inpatient admit, rounding, discharge, device interrogation (assessed pacemakers), supervised stress echos, stress treadmills, stress nuclear scans, and performed tilt table tests and electrical/chemical cardioversions.
This too, ultimately became a near 80+ hour a week position and I was forced to re-examine my work and family values. I could not fault my spouse for asking me to make a decision.
I left the group on very amicable terms. Upon my recommendation, 4 advanced practice clinicians (APCs) were hired to replace my position (3 NPs, 1 PA). Ultimately, the group became nearly a 1:1 ratio of APC/MD.
My second PA career had me working in Occupational Medicine, specifically, the Compensation and Pension department at the Salt Lake VAMC. I was hired on by an Occupational Medicine physician who owned a consulting company. The team consisted of himself, a family physician, a neurologist, and then me. The prior PA working with him (a classmate of mine) left to work with his father, a dermatologist. My name was given as a possible employee. I worked with the company for almost 7 years and became the Assistant Medical Director of our company over our operations at the C&P department as well as our consulting work with the Utah State Labor Commission completing disability examinations and providing medical opinions on disability claims . Due to contractual issues with the federal government, we left the VA. This led to a layoff of the family physician, neurologist, as well as a second PA (another classmate of mine) I had hired 2 years prior.
I hired back with the cardiology group that I started with, only this time as a cardiology researcher. In the interim of my absence they had been absorbed by the local healthcare system, Intermountain Healthcare. Since 2012 I have been heavily involved in clinical trials, presenting abstracts each year at the scientific conferences sponsored by the ACC, American Heart Association (AHA), American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC), National Lipid Association (NLA), International Academy of Cardiology (IAC), etc.