Name: Amanda Pazian
Profession/Area of Study: Graduate student pursuing a masters and career as a Physician Assistant at Touro College
How did you get become interested in your field?: My interest in healthcare began at age fourteen when I got my first job at a local veterinary hospital. I regularly watched a team of hard-working and compassionate individuals transform animals from deathly ill or injured back to their perfectly healthy selves. This really moved me and pushed me to find a career where I could be a part of that process. After graduating high school, I attended the University at Buffalo where I studied nursing. The summer after my sophomore year, I volunteered at a local hospital and was given the opportunity to observe various surgeries. In the operating room is where I encountered the first physician assistant of my life. She informed me all about the PA profession. This conversation was a turning point in my career path and ultimately influenced me to pursue a career as a PA. I contacted my school and changed my major, eventually graduating magna cum laude from their honors college with a Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Sciences and a minor in physical anthropology. After college I worked with a chiropractor and became an EMT in an effort to get as much exposure to healthcare before I went to PA school. I began at Touro College’s physician assistant program in August of 2013 and will graduate September 2015. I am so grateful to have found a career that really interests me and that I enjoy tremendously—it feels incredible going to a job where my workday consists of having a direct positive impact on people’s lives.
Are there any STEM developments you are especially excited to see play a part innovating your field?: The face of medicine will change dramatically in the years to come. The advent and integration of the electronic medical record is the beginning of the new face of medicine. The government and developers are working to create a central electronic medical where individuals will have all of their health information stored together in one place. This will bridge a huge gap currently present in medicine, acting to facilitate the medical practitioner’s ability to understand the full picture of a patient’s health, not just the one aspect they are seeing the patient for. I am truly excited to see more technology incorporated into patient care because medicine will be more efficient than ever before—including less missed diagnoses, shorter wait times, and even a decrease in healthcare expenditures, something our economy could really benefit from.
Any advice for students considering studying/working in your field?: Learn another language! In my current rotation I am working in an emergency department that has a large Hispanic population so this thought crosses my mind constantly. Having the ability to communicate with your patients is integral to quality healthcare and knowing more than one language can help you do that in many circumstances. Another added bonus is that being bilingual will set you ahead of other candidates when applying for jobs. Another piece of advice would be to challenge yourself every day—face the things you fear and conquer them. In medicine there’s a mantra, “see one, do one, teach one.” This is referencing how medical professionals solidify their clinical skills. Sometimes it’s a daunting task to dive in and do your first procedure, but once you do it—it’s such a good feeling. Being in new situations and learning new and complex things can be intimidating and scary, but practice makes perfect and confidence really goes a long way.
Great advice, thanks for sharing, Amanda! What a great example on how STEM based careers can change the lives of the people (and pups!) around us.